Can it Be Possible That Someone Has Bipolar But Not Severe Enough to Take Medication?

“Can it be Possible That Someone Has Bipolar But Not Severe enough to take medication?”

1418156_magic_pillsThe short answer is: Yes, it is possible.  However, for the vast majority of people I know with bipolar (myself included), medication is necessary.  But the first step for you would be getting an accurate diagnosis.  I saw a psychiatrist when I realized I had half the symptoms of bipolar disorder, which I read in books and websites after a friend’s suicide spurred me to research the illness.  After seeing a psychiatrist, you should also get a second opinion.  Second, follow the treatment that is prescribed for you, which may involve 1) talk therapy or 2) talk therapy and medication.  I have met one person who successfully manages bipolar disorder without medication.  She took meds for about three years after having a manic episode.  After a while, her therapist and psychiatrist believed she didn’t need medication.  They tapered her dose over the course of a year.  If you ever stop taking medication, you should decrease incrementally under the supervision of professionals.  Third, managing bipolar disorder requires talk therapy.  Seeing my therapist every month (or bimonthly) keeps me grounded.  Research has shown that medication with talk therapy is more effective than medication alone.  In addition to seeing a therapist, joining a support group (either in person or online) might help you greatly.

As for who to tell, there are a few important things to note:  First, I would tell the people in your life gradually starting with close friends and family.  Because they didn’t understand, I got a diagnosis and second opinion before telling my parents.  Actually, I was nervous and had the psychiatrist tell them.  They are supportive today.  People can change.  Second, understand that we live in an imperfect world so stigma is inevitable.  If you should tell someone who makes fun of you or shares this information, I would treat it as a learning experience.  One of the first people I told was a cousin who maliciously shared this information with other relatives.  I use experiences like that to motivate me further in managing my illness.  Third, telling employers or professors is important if you need accommodations to stay healthy and productive.  You are entitled to reasonable accommodations under the law just like people with “physical illnesses” (if you do find out you have bipolar disorder).

Thoughts? Questions? Leave your feedback here!