Bipolar Quality of Life

My daughter(age 33) has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. What is the prognosis IF SHE WERE TO TAKE HER MEDS AS PRESCRIBED? She was taking Prozac and Lacmictal. Can she remain in relationships, can she be an effective parent can she hold down a job?

Ben's Answer::

I know many people with Bipolar Disorder - both with and without psychiatric medication, who maintain jobs, raise kids and have healthy families and other relationships. In fact I know people who function well above average, despite their Bipolar Disorder. Much depends on pre-existing issues, unresolved emotional issues from childhood, and co-existing psych issues such as anxiety problems. These other issues can trigger bipolar episodes and cause a lot of instability in mood, thoughts and behavior.

Taking medication consistently works for many people - but only if they are taking the best choice of medications. What helps one person may cause terrible side effects or be ineffective for another person. There is no one-size-fits all formula.

Most psychiatrists are very cautious about giving an antidepressant like Prozac as these drugs can trigger mania or cause more rapid cycling moods for some people. Lamictal - a mood stabilizer - is a common choice and I've seen very few complaints of side effects with that medication. Sometimes the combination of antidepressant and mood stabilizer is used when there have been a lot of depressive episodes. It's a rather complex issue.

I am always optimistic with the people that I treat, and with the right support and healthy lifestyle there is no need to expect to be debilitated by the disorder. However, even with the best care, some people still struggle and may have occasional mood episodes that can be quite painful and destructive. After a major manic episode it can take some people as much as a year of therapy and treatment to return to a stable mood and function the way they used to.

I find that a holistic/Mind-Body approach is the most beneficial (which may include psych meds).

Best wishes,

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Dec 17, 2010
pot a bipolar cure?
by: Anonymous

have been bipolar since 1995.hospitalized under mental heath act 5 weeks. mother is bipolar and has hade many episodes. grand mother died of shock treatments in mental ward.quit alcohol in 1995 on lithium and epival since then and have had no episodes since then but I smoke pot 5 times a day. is it possible pot helps? how is it that with strong history of bipolar in the family I have had no episodes since then?

Ben's Answer:

Interesting question. I know people who feel that pot has helped them to manage their symptoms, but I also have seen many people become less stable from using pot, and many who first developed Bipolar symptoms after they began using pot. For most people it's risky, but everyone's different. If you've had no episodes for 15 years - that's wonderful!

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