The Complexity of a Bipolar Disorder

The Complexity of Bipolar Disorder When Accompanied By Co-existent Illnesses

At twenty-four years old, Susan Harris suffers from bipolar disorder, drug abuse, migraine headaches and social phobia. Due to poor coping skills, she lives with her parents. Normally she responds well to medication.

Bipolar SymptomsBut on November 13th of 2012, Susan disappeared for four days and three nights. It wasn’t the first or the longest. On Friday the 16th, they found her in the alley on the backside of the DeWolfe Street hardware store. Cold, wet and shaking like a loose shelf in a 1850s freight car, she was huddle between the block walls and the dumpster. No one knows what happened or where she spent those missing days.

The burdens of caring for a young adult with bipolar disorder can break a parent’s heart. Each day carries a certain measure of fear and worry – even when the child’s current medication appears to provide measurable success. At any moment something can break and your bipolar child crosses into a season of darkness.

Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder Can Be Complicated By Co-existing Illnesses

Bipolar disorder is typically characterized by discrete and intense emotional changes ranging from extreme manic excitement to deep level bouts with depression. However, the disorder can also be limited to periods of long-lasting unstable mood patterns. When complicated by any of the following co-existing illnesses, bipolar disorder can be very difficult to detect and diagnose:

  • Anxiety disorders such as PTSD
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Substance abuse
  • Various physical complications, including diabetes, heart disease and migraines – all capable of inducing symptoms of depression or mania.

Current Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder cannot be cured. Modern treatment helps, but this illness remains a lifelong affliction. Effective control methods include:

  • Medications such as mood-stabilizing products, sleep aids and Lithium treatments designed to aid with thyroid problems
  • Psychotherapy involving cognitive behavioral therapy, family-focused coping strategies, social rhythm processes and psycho-education designed to teach bipolar individuals how to recognize danger signs
  • Electro-convulsive therapy, which may be used in the event that medication and/or psychotherapy fails to provide positive results.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, several new studies indicate medication supported by intensive psychotherapy and social rhythm therapy provides better results than those achieved via collaborative care and psycho-education sessions. Yet the big question remains:

How long will it be before the parents of Susan Harris must endure another vanishing daughter ordeal?

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