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theprinciple

i think im cured

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BP normal mood can last for years. I had a 4 year stretch of a normal mood, but then that ended.

I'm glad your feeling good right now, that's awesome, but still continue to watch your mood because your not ”cured”. BP isn't like cancer where they can just cut it out (and that's even too simplistic).

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Okay, well my parents and two of my close friends know I'm off meds. I'm going to tell my pdoc this when I see her. I got treated because of a very stressful first year of med school that completely broke my life apart, triggered rapid cycling BP.

I also read an article written by a psychologist who said mild bipolar disorder can be cured through normal brain development if you're still in your late teens to early twenties.

http://m.psychologytoday.com/blog/bipolar-you/201206/can-bipolar-disorder-be-cured-0

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I've had extended med-free periods of remission from BP. Like 5-10 years at a time . I'm now 51. Sick since my early 20s, was only dx'ed BP at age 47, . Up until then I was only treated for MDD and would cycle but never go to the doc when I felt great, so only the depressions were picked up and they weren't continuous. Every 8 years or so I would have a BIG cycle, with smaller ones in between. But yes, I felt cured every time.

 

Then came 2008 and all hell broke loose. Severe depression and IP, then mania and IP, (and the BP dx), then severe depression again. 4 IPs in 2 years.  I was dysfunctional for about 3-4 years, while we tried to find meds that worked. In 2012 I felt well enough again to work, but only managed a year before the stress did me in. Now I'm unemployed, but in reasonable remission on maintenance meds.

 

So yes, remission can last many years. But it came back and bit me really hard.

 

Just be sure to catch it really early when it comes back.

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That's an interesting article.  You'll note that he's talking about "mild bipolar symptoms" becoming subsyndromal.  For the rest of us, he's talking about self-management plus meds, which I heartily endorse.

 

Please hear me. Residency is not stress-free.  Sleep deprivation is a nightmare.

 

"The worst that could happen is hospitalization" is a little breezy.  The worst that could happen is that your behavior could cost you your medical license, or God forbid, take someone's life.  If you are hospitalized, you move pretty quickly from a world in which you have overcome youthful instability into a world in which no doctor in the country will take away your mood stabilizers, for fear of malpractice.  If you hate medication and don't want a lifetime label, that's the world you want to avoid. 

 

Believe me, it's not fun to be in a world in which you'd have to lie about your medical history to get the independence want. I personally did not enjoy Seroquel and am not even on antipsychotics anymore, and I understand your concern about the effects of long-term use of drugs, and I hope your consideration of the research has been extensive and has included consultation with someone experienced.  (At a minimum, Goodwin and Jamison are smart, and I believe they address the difficulty of finding medication-naive brains to study.)

 

I'm glad that you have willpower. I have willpower too.  I graduated with multiple honors from a very good professional school and practiced in selective jobs for ten years.  I am really lucky that I didn't come apart until I was well into a second career, or something that was only a crushing failure could have been much worse.

 

I also had willpower when, with medical advice, I discontinued a drug cold turkey and ended up in a locked ward hiding under the furniture and drinking the soap.  Your mileage may vary, I hope.

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Willpower has noting to do with having or not having bipolar, just like willpower has no control over cancer. You can't "will" away cancer nor bipolar.

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Okay, well my parents and two of my close friends know I'm off meds. I'm going to tell my pdoc this when I see her. I got treated because of a very stressful first year of med school that completely broke my life apart, triggered rapid cycling BP.

I also read an article written by a psychologist who said mild bipolar disorder can be cured through normal brain development if you're still in your late teens to early twenties.

http://m.psychologytoday.com/blog/bipolar-you/201206/can-bipolar-disorder-be-cured-0

 

Did you also read about how bipolar is a progressive illness? With each episode, the next happens more easily. There are many imaging studies that show there is brain deterioration over a lifetime. There also are many cognitive tests that show diminished capacity, particularly in executive function. Meds promote neurogeneisis (new cell growth) and help to change that picture. Long-term decline is far more probable than being cured. Keep it in mind if you cycle into an up or down again.

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I am often concerned when I come into this room and see people casually giving medical and professional advice. I can speak for myself. For a long time and through many deployments and years of working in a professional field , I could work and function very well without medicine. With that being said , I often wonder how much better might my life have been and for my children if I had been diagnosed earlier

Compliance with medication can be very difficult especially for those in medical field. There is So much research out there that we can always find some article to support our opinion. For me, I have to listen to my treatment team and pay attention to what they see and observe not just my opinion.

Medical school and residency has been told to me to be the most stressful time of your life and the downside of that is you learn to operate on pure instinct and with lack of sleep and under extreme pressure. In a normal person, this level can reset to normal but those with MI often find that not to be true

I look to this site for information and support but the very best thing that I can do is to surround myself with a support system and a great treatment team. My family often sees what they want to see as I often see what I want in myself

Getting honest and reliable feedback is critical to me being on a path to wellness. I do not believe that every person diagnosed with BP is truly and I do not believe that every Condition requires lifetime medication. This has to be looked at and evaluated over time and with the correct people

I hope that you stay feeling well but also hope you have a great treatment team that is willing to tell you the truth even when it might piss you off

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...I also read an article written by a psychologist who said mild bipolar disorder can be cured through normal brain development if you're still in your late teens to early twenties.

http://m.psychologytoday.com/blog/bipolar-you/201206/can-bipolar-disorder-be-cured-0

I read the article, I which the author tries to clarify who the intended audience is with this statement: "But if you're one of the many individuals with bipolar disorder whose symptoms do allow you to maintain reasonably effective functioning, then with effort, you can absolutely look towards improvement."

A few things on that:

*Even if you are self-described as "completely bonkers", you can still look toward improvement. Everyone can. Learning to regulate and cope with stress and symptoms that result from this stress can be invaluable and go a long way toward improving general functioning, though it is all absolutely not a cure. [i actually addressed this notion, albeit in a different tact, in a blog post a while ago-here.]

*As people change and age their disorder or how they present changes? Absolutely. This is one of the reasons minors are often not solidly diagnosed with various MIs,and why DXs can seem to fluctuate in early twenties.

*The author states that the aim of the article is toward those with bipolar disorders who maintain "reasonably effective functioning". But an essential criterion for diagnosis is that it renders you, in some capacity, incapable of functioning. If a person is one of those people who falls under the category of bipolar being an inconvenience or "internal stressor", not an impediment to a normal life [sans treatment] it crosses my mind to at least wonder if someone didn't jump the gun leafing through the DSM-IV-TR, or if alternatively... there's a lot of denial and ignorance going on in said persons life- which can often be shared by close family and friends.

Not 100% of those with bipolar make use of medication, for whatever reason. But the vast majority do need it, in someway, to make their lives manageable and to not keep falling from one crisis to the next. And though bipolar most often first presents in late teen/ early adult years, it can in fact develop basically at any time and it is not uncommon to see even years between major devastating episodes (ya know the kind that tear your life apart and leave you wondering what just happened). There is a tendency to see more rapid cyclers at CB-defined as four mood episodes a year- giving the impression that might be the norm but it is not.

Given the above information (I can provide sources but its really all general knowledge) using your age to support a premise of stability in either direction just doesn't hold up all that well.

But I mean, theprinciple, if your friends and parents are also willing to draw that line and drag your ass to the hospital if or when necessary, and also put up with whatever possible shit may come their way leading up to that-well, good luck to you all.

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Dude... much like everyone else, I hate to be the bearer of bad news here-- but you are simply, or so it sounds like anyways; in-between a shift in moods. Now... your P-Doc says that you are BP-2... I am BP-1, but I am confident that there is no difference in the mood-swing department.

 

I also, on SEVERAL occasions have thought that I was "Cured." I stopped taking my meds....and then, sometimes as much as weeks later; a MASSIVE rebound-effect. I had to be hospitalized because I was so manic that I couldn't stop speed-talking/hugging every stranger that I met-- telling them that I was "The Anti-christ." Pretty awesome, right?

 

And then I have had the opposite experience where I was so depressed that I couldn't leave my bed; and AGAIN...had to be hospitalized on account of self-harm. I don't want this to happen to you.

 

Best case scenario(again, not sure if BP-2 is compeer to BP-1 in this way exactly) you get manic... as i'm sure you've experienced given your diagnoses; the down-side of this disorder is hell.

 

Good luck to you... and if, just like "SaveYourSanity" said... for some reason you turn out to be some sort of Biological freak of nature-- your Doctor is going to want charts and such.

 

The best of luck to you mate.

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Unlike what everyone else is saying, it is possible to have one psychotic and/or manic episode and not have bipolar. There even are such diagnoses in the psychiatry bible DSM. That would not mean you were "cured" of bipolar. It would mean you didn't have bipolar in the first place. There is no cure for the illness.

 

So, yeah, if you want, give it a go without meds. Maybe you were misdiagnosed. Just do it knowing that the consequence may be blowing up your life again. Have a psychiatrist on standby and if you have signs of an episode (that you recognize or others point out), go see him and accept that you probably do in fact have bipolar and need meds to help manage your illness.

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Unless I missed part of the story, you received a dx and used Seroquel for two weeks or so, and then quit cold turkey because you feel fine right now.  If you were well, why were you seeing a doctor to get meds, and if you're not well, how is two weeks +/- of treatment going to fix you?  We're not talking about an acute condition.

 

You have gotten lots of good advice from others here so I don't have much to add except this:  Imagine that you have completed med school and are in practice.  You dx a patient and prescribe meds.  That patient tries your prescription for a couple of weeks and then decides that they are fine, and without bothering to consult you, completely stops the treatment you prescribed.  Do you think this would piss you off?  Do you think you will assume that your patient is much more knowledgeable than you and it would be fine with you if they decide to stop treatment without input from you, or at least a second opinion from a qualified professional?

 

I hope you were misdiagnosed and nothing at all is wrong with you, and you never need to take meds.  But unless you think your doc is totally full of crap, you might want to take their advice.  If you think your doc is full of crap, you should seriously consider getting a second opinion.  Good luck to you.

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I was cured too.

 

It happens every time I have a hypomanic episode.

 

I end up catching it again after though, maybe I should wear a gas mask.

 

;)

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I was cured too.

 

It happens every time I have a hypomanic episode.

 

I end up catching it again after though, maybe I should wear a gas mask.

 

;)

 

:D

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When I was a youngster teen and I had my hypomanic/hyperactive/drug binge/omfg episode that defined my life and diagnosis forever, I was put on several medications (anticonvulsant & antipsychotic/sedative/major tranqualizer mix). At the time, I whole-heartedly without a doubt needed that kind of help. However, as I got older and was on these medications for many years, as well as learned a FUCK-TON of therapy techniques and coping skills, I learned that I actally do better without heavy medications.

 

W/O those meds, its easier for me to sleep (however you might not know it now, lol), it is easier for me to cope, i have more energy, im actually not as depressed, and when I do experience mood shifts they are easier to deal with because the swing isnt so dramatic.

 

So in my personal experience, I have come to find out that being med-free has worked for me.

 

HOWEVER, dude, thats exactly it...it has worked for ME. Every mental disorder (practically) comes in spectrums. Even Bipolar Disorder comes in different types, categories, severities and colors. Even though the symptoms are basic, every person's experience is completely different. And with that, every persons treatment is different. And what that means, is that you need an individual treatment plan for you, that is put together by a professional medical team. *To which I believe ducky was reffering to (if I am not mistaken)*

 

I am not one to say you need to do *this* or *that* will happen. Every person has preferences on what works for them. Whether it be med free, Gluten free, modern or classic therapy or a new therapy, or whatevah you kids are into these days....that is YOUR choice. But also, I think you should be careful on your choices.

 

There are certain medications and therapies that have years and years of research that has showed a helping hand for BP. If you choose to go on a different path that is your prerogative, however there are reactions and consequences to failed treatment (whatever that failed treatment is).

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1 week update: everything is fine, no hypomanic episodes nor depressive episodes. I took a 50 MG about 3 days ago, and I think the balance is even better now. As Ace said, I use a lot of coping skills to manage my symptoms; when I took the meds, I was able to feel peaceful for the first time in years, so now I know which feeling to shoot for without meds (I had forgotten what "normal" was). So whenever I deviate from this peaceful state, I know something's off, and therefore use tricks to get back into the "normal" zone such as recognizing psychotic thoughts, external triggers, and then actively dismissing them. The more often I do this, the better I become at it, and so the more "cured" I am ; practice makes perfect.

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I don't mean to be short but a three week course of Seroquel can not cure BP.

Actively dismissing thoughts does not work for a lot of truly out-of-control and delusional/paranoid thoughts.

However I think in this will be a valuable learning experience for you no matter what the outcome.

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John Nash, dramatised in the movie A Beautiful Mind rejected medication, and overcame his schizophrenia through willpower, and little tricks. The one aspect of me that I can count on to be better than 99.9% of people is my brain; this intelligence made me get past any obstacle that ever presented itself to my life (was last pick in elementary school, and then went on to become 40+ time gold medalist in track and field in high school; was last in my class in math in the first grade (8% on midterm exam) and then went on to win first place in a national mathematics competition, just to name a few examples) and BP isn't going to be the first obstacle I can't defeat. Taking medication completely dulled my mind, which then meant I was just a normal person with no advantages over the average person. I can't stand being average, not when I was on the top in all aspects of my life. Even though I couldn't feel depressed on medication, in my mind I knew I had lost my best asset - taking medication is depressive.

My life, it has to keep going up.

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John Nash did not overcome his schizophrenia. He lived with it. There is a big difference. At times, it crippled him, too. He isn't an example of being "cured." He also wasn't a medical doctor responsible for people's lives. If he was, he would have been barred from practice because he lost touch with reality and was unstable.

 

If you want to be a doctor, you have an obligation to manage your illness, and if your symptoms include delusions or losing it to where you are placed in patient, that means medicine. Like I said earlier, maybe it was a one time deal. Find out. If you have symptoms again, then it's not. In that case, grow up and assume responsibility for yourself or pick a different profession.

 

The thing about delusions is that you believe they are true. You can't think them away because you don't recognize them as false thoughts in the first place. Once you are into delusions, medication or time are the only ways for it to end. Willpower doesn't cut it. Sorry. And, unfortunately, in that space where you can recognize that something is not right, unless you speed up time or take meds, they will claim you if they get bad. Not everyone's bipolar has this feature, so maybe you don't really suffer them. IDK.

 

Most of us are smart. People with Phd's, Master's, and plain old smarts hang out here. There also is a very tenacious lot, not to mention medical professionals guised as regular Internet geeks. Please be careful claiming to be superior.

 

Your smarts may have gotten you much but it also is your brain that is the source of your illness. Lack of insight is a notorious symptom. Of course, you can't recognize when you are experiencing it. When others tell you something is wrong enough so that you need hospital or meds, then most likely you have that symptom. Listen to the input of others. Choose those others wisely. Include professionals. Sorry. This is a tough pill to swallow. If you have bipolar and become unstable, you may not be the best judge of what is in your best interest. Fact of life.

 

Seroquel is a very sedating medicine. Many meds are prescribed at high, sedating doses to treat symptoms. Maintenance doses are lower and you can work with docs on finding what does not cause significant cognitive impairment. My current cocktail does not have much if any cognitive impacts. I've been on others that did, particularly when I was episodic. I thought my smart advantage was gone and I was devastated. We adjusted meds when I stabilized and my smarts returned. Also, and unfortunately, sometimes manic and/or depressive symptoms can make you stupid as well as impair judgment. It is a brain disease, after all. So, it's not all the medicine when you are unstable. Another fact of life. Sorry.

 

For some, the hardest part of having bipolar is accepting that you do in fact have the illness. For a subset, every time they stabilize, they quit meds because they are "cured" or don't like meds or whatever reason with the cycle repeated throughout life - fine, blow up life, meds, fine, no meds, blow up life, meds, fine, no meds, blow up life. You can choose to be that way, but don't be a doctor if you do. Actually, I don't think you'd be allowed to be if you have a repeated history of instability and refusal to get treatment. Anyway, maybe you don't have it. See if symptoms happen again. If they do, then as said, grow up and assume responsibility of yourself.

 

And, assess your own prejudices. Bipolar does not mean less worthy of a person. If you manage it responsibly, most likely you have a normal life.

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