Thursday, September 18, 2008

More on Baby Bipolars

This past weekend, the New York Times Sunday Magazine featured an article on bipolar disorder in children. This remains a controversial issue but I'm very glad that it's getting increased publicity. Awareness leads to solutions, eventually.

Whether or not these children are in fact bipolar is moot. The fact remains that they have distinct behavioral problems, as I did as a child. I frequently had rages, temper tantrums, acted impulsively, and was then branded as a "naughty little girl." Of course, that was the '50s. When child psychiatry was virtually unknown and certainly not known to my parents.

In the meanwhile, as a rapidly aging bipolar, there has been more research on my age group, 50+. The disorder does not get better with age, that's for sure. However, staying on medication will actually improve your brain, apparently. Fine with me. Although I don't always like the fuzziness my meds cause, I've found that with a little extra effort, I can overcome it.

I'd like to hear from over-50 bipolars. Do you find that your disorder has worsened? Are your manic periods more out of control? I do see that I have to have my meds monitored far more closely than when I was younger. It would appear that their effectiveness wanes much faster than previously. That's simply my observation of my own situation. I have been going through yet another dysphoric period, so Dr. B will see me next week for a review. Fortunately, my dosages are on the low side, so we have plenty of room to play.

1 comment:

manic knitter said...

I'm not quite over 50 yet-47 actually. But I'm only on a small dose of Depakote for the past 3 years and before that, I went 4 years on no meds whatsover. For some unknown reason, after years of deteriorating more and more and the docs upping the meds and trying this, that, and the other things they could think of, I developed acute pancreatitis (probably due to Clozaril) and they had to take me off all medications while they tried to save my life. And when the pancreatitis cleared, the bipolar disorder had gone into remission. Which is the only thing they could think to call it because you don't just recover from it and they didn't know what else to say. I only re-started the Depakote 3 years ago when menopausal hot flashes were absolutely killing me, making it next to impossible to sleep and I developed horrible migraines and then began getting very edgy and snappy around February of each year. I think it's the combination of the menopausal symptoms, now thankfully under control (thank you, Premarin) and the darkness of winter where I live. I'm planning on discussing light therapy with my doctor when I see her next month. But I also have 2 other friends who are bipolar and they are over 50 and have actually recovered from severe symptoms like I experienced in my 30's and one is doing well in the community now and the other recently completed her Master's in Nursing and went back to work. I know you worked on the psych wards and I was a psych nurse, so we've both seen that it seems a lot more common for people to deteriorate more and more as they age and time passes and more meds have been tried but now I've begun to think that perhaps that doesn't necessarily have to be the case. I have more hope than I used to. Even though some of my friends have also just suddenly had mood swings when no one was around to rescue them and I've lost them. Hang in there, make sure the doc checks you out for any other possible physical problems, too. They just happened to discover a year after re-starting me on the Depakote that my thyroid hormones were practically non-existent. Uh, hello? Can we say that wasn't much helping the I can't get up off the couch syndrome?