Bipolar Disorder is a category of mood disorders covering a very wide range of possible symptoms.
Bipolar disorder does not refer to a specific illness – though that has become the mainstream usage of the term from much overdiagnosing and much misunderstanding by the general public.
When someone says they are “bipolar” they most likely have one of the following conditions:
- Bipolar 1 Disorder – classic Manic Depression with episodes of mania and depression.
- Bipolar 2 Disorder – depression with some periods of elevated mood.
- Cyclothymic Disorder – less severe depression and hypomania for shorter periods.
- Rapid Cycling Bipolar – four or more episodes of mania or depression in one year.
- Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) – symptoms of hypomania or depression or mixed do not fit into other categories.
The symptoms of depression, mania and hypomania (severity, frequency, length in duration) and how they are classified to form a ‘bipolar diagnosis’ changes from one version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to the other.
The above is a very simplified overview. And additional vague terms used by health professionals left out such as “soft bipolar” and “subthreshold bipolar”.
For more detailed information read: Brief History of Bioplar Disorder Diagnoses – From Rare to Common.
Answer Some Questions and Get a Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis
There is no medical test for bipolar disorder of any type. A psychiatrist or other health professional may diagnose you with a form of bipolar by asking questions and taking a detailed medical history. You may be asked to fill out a questionnaire.
[bctt tweet=”Bipolar Disorder Testing Should Include Lab Tests to Identify Underlying Root Causes.”]
But you don’t want to let that be it, you want to ignore the bipolar label and seek out alternative care to treat potential underlying causes of your mood issues.
And keep reading this blog as that is what I write about and will continue to write about. So that more people can be helped and not subjected to a very damaging ‘lifetime of meds’ approach which leads to permanent disability.
Be in Treatment for Depression, Then Get Diagnosed Bipolar
Depression is the most common mental illness. Many who get a bipolar diagnosis first enter treatment for depression, are put on psychotropic medications and then their condition worsens from side effects from the meds.
Rather than be tapered off the offending toxic chemicals they advised you to pay a bunch of cash for and subject your body to that have caused more medical problems – they prescribe more meds and eventually many are given a ‘Bipolar 2 Disorder’ diagnosis.
Related post: Comparing Bipolar 2 Disorder to Breast Cancer.
But they are not in many cases actually bipolar – the condition is iatrogenic i.e. the medications prescribed created the hypomania, irratibility, insomnia and worsening of moods.
Classic Manic Depression – now called Bipolar 1 Disorder – is a medical condtion with a proven genetic pre-disposition. Depression has been proven to NOT be a genetic disorder.
“Bipolar disorder (also known as manic depressive illness) is a complex genetic disorder in which the core feature is pathological disturbance in mood (affect) ranging from extreme elation or mania to severe depression usually accompanied by disturbances in thinking and behaviour, which may include psychotic symptoms, such as delusions and hallucinations.”
Source: Genetics of Bipolar Disorder.
Note the error above – the researchers use the term bipolar disorder and manic depression synonomously.
Absolutely not accurate. Why there is so much confusion surrounding the illness of BP-1 and the other classifications of bipolar. The study is about actual Manic Depression i.e. BP-1. Not BP-1 & BP-2 & BP ONS, etc.
Bipolar disorder does NOT equate to the illness Manic Depression – it is a category, not a specific illness.
A Psychiatrist Referral Does Not Mean You Are Crazy – Or Necessarily Mentally Ill
Possibly you have been referred to a psychiatrist because your regular physician cannot find anything wrong with you, but you are still complaining about being depressed, overly-anxious, not sleeping well, etc.
The psychiatrist then will most likely follow the above steps, talk with you, listen to symptoms and make a diagnosis.
Here is where the situation ends in a dead end. You are a working, capable adult, maybe even a parent. You are not a drug dealer, thief, child abuser, rapist. You are just not feeling well and want help feeling better.
You want to feel normal.
You want to feel good. Feel the way you used to feel or feel better than you have been feeling in years and have someone help you as opposed to feeling like a hypochondriac when you go a regular physician and they tell you nothing is wrong with you.
It’s not all in your head.
Mood issues are a symptom of physical-mental unwellness. Even though you have been told you are fine, you most likely have physical, envrionmental, genetic, situational or other factors that have affected your health.
You need to figure out what those are and how to treat or moderate.
What Tests Should You Make Sure to Get?
Psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan – one of our amazing Ninja Docs – wrote an excellent article (March, 2016), “Do 5 Million Americans Really Have Bipolar Disorder? ”
The below is quoted from the article about bipolar disorder testing:
“Basic labwork can reveal reversible imbalances. At a minimum, check a thyroid panel including TSH, free T3, free T4, reverse T3, thyroid stimulating antibodies, thyroid peroxidase antibodies, and thyroglobulin antibodies.”
“Check sugar balance through a fasting glucose, insulin, and HgA1C. Check for inflammation through a hsCRP and homocysteine.”
Source: Kelly Brogan, M.D.
Why you need to make sure at the very least you get your blood drawn and some diagnostic tests run. If you have a treatable condition that is causing your mood issues you want to know and get proper treatment.
Then throw the antidepressant or antipsychotic med prescription in the trash along with the name and number of the physician who prescribed them.
Even If Already Diagnosed, Seek Out Alternative Care for Symptoms
Even after I was diagnosed – and I have the severe genetic form Manic Depression – I still sought out medical care for the primary symptoms I suffered from (fatigue, depression). These are physical symptoms that originate from a physical cause.
Maybe your neurotransmitters are out of whack, low or not being produced adequately but you want to find out why. Maybe you have an abundance of Candida in your gut and it is interferring with the production of serotonin in your gut.
“Although serotonin is well known as a brain neurotransmitter, it is estimated that 90 percent of the body’s serotonin is made in the digestive tract.”
Or you have a thyroid condition, or are iron-deficient or reacting to a mold infestation in your home or office environment you are not even aware is there. Many pysical illnesses and types of environmental exposures can create depressive and other (anxious, irritable, over-energized) states in the body.
And even if you’ve had psychological trauma (sexual assault, abusive partner, etc.) that is a prime factor in your mood issues, when it beccomes expressed as a ‘physical symptom’ it is a medical issue in addition to psychological. Both need care, concern and non-abusive treatment options i.e. therapy and medical care.
Overdiagnosing Helps No One and Harms Many
They haven’t added my fart once in the morning and burp at least twice a week in the afternoon form of bipolar to the diagnostic category but I’ve heard it is being taken under consideration. Drug companies are working hard to come up with effective anti-fart medicine… don’t despair.
The point to the sarcasm? The term ‘bipolar’ is being ridiculously overused and so many are being misdiagnosed – or diagnosed after being put on a medication for depression and suffering side effects which lead to a ‘bipolar’ diagnosis.
And when it leads to death the action is criminal.
Children never had bipolar before the introduction of the ‘diagnosis’ in 1980. And many have been murdered by psychotropic medications. When they simply needed better nutrition, parental care, removal from an abusive household or school system, access to sports and after school activities etc. It’s criminal.
Related post: PAPA – Amazing Parents Fighting for All of Our Kids.
Psychiatrists and physicians need to stop being spared from having to take responsibility for their actions. Stop being spared from the responsibility of prescribing medications that lead to death and disability.
There is no excuse when even one of there most holy leaders and a primary instigator of the whole bipolar spectrum nonsense claims that ‘no reputable psychiatrist has ever believed in the chemical imbalance theory, that it is urban legend…’.
Related post: Ronald Pies, M.D. and the Bipolar Spectrum.
Is that what you’ve been told? I doubt it. Protect yourself, protect your family and seek out alternative care from qualified, honest and ethical health care providers such as the amazing Dr. Brogan and many others.
Here is a free list of holistic psychiatrists in the U.S. Some even provide testing and consultation over the phone. Check it out, and learn about many treatments other than brain damaging psychotropic medications that can help you heal your mood disorder: Holistic Psychiatrists in the United States.