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My view on whether Bipolar Disorder can be cured

T

TheHeartHasAVoice

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This is some thinking I have come up with regarding the curability of Bipolar Disorder. Would love feedback. This post contains some opinions.

Can Bipolar Disorder be cured?

Firstly it’s important to note the physical basis for Bipolar Disorder has never been found and never will be found. This is because our internal worlds are not physical.

Bipolar Disorder is known as the phantom disorder because for some people it’s symptoms can hibernate for years and as an extension of that I therefore assume they can completely disappear and never return. This hibernation characteristic of Bipolar Disorder is rarely talked about but does occur and can be likened to a cure in my opinion. It is similar to the rare cases of people getting their Irritable Bowel Syndrome under control after going through the process of elimination with the foods they eat. The reason why they get to the bottom of it is because they practiced self care and investigated the reasons behind their digestive tantrums. People in the west want the quick fix though that’s why they endure a lot of unnecessary pain.

First understand that Bipolar Disorder is a very individual ailment. It seems to mean different things to different people. Case A is different to Case B because we are as unique as the fingerprints on our hands so whether someone can be cured has to be considered on a case by case basis.

Unfortunately patients in the west of many diseases are over-reliant on drugs as symptomatic management for ailments which actually signal a deeper problem. In the typical public hospital experience with Bipolar Disorder, there is not much of an emphasis to investigate the reasons behind your mood fluctuations. There is rather a lot of pressure for the Psychiatrists to move you in and out of the hospital as they have so many people to see. Quality treatment and answers don’t come that way.

Unpleasant moods on the mood continuum are attributed with communication as opposed to being a purposeless signal. In fact that is how pain generally operates consistently throughout the human experience and the natural world. It’s a motivator for change. The opposite poles are not exempt from this. They are events of communication to the patient requesting them to get to the bottom of their violent fluctuations.

Mood fluctuations occur for many reasons, stress, weather, thought patterns, sleep quality, cognitive fusion with a delusion etc.

But to be more specific with the question at hand, I am of the opinion that Bipolar Disorder can be cured depending on your case and the source of your mood fluctuations. For example, the depression of Bipolar Disorder is not much different to Major Depression. Many patients initially present with depression. If however you manage to resolve the CAUSE of your depression you will obtain mood regulation which is the ideal state for someone with Bipolar Disorder. You would no long have the disorder. At least not the depressive dimension.

Below is some science I developed regarding Pain and the mood continuum that may help here:

I work as a security guard and us guards get a lot of time to think and observe. I started observing the natural world and pain in general and began to like observation a lot. I use the natural world as a teacher because it doesn’t lie. It has the truth built into it and you can see it with your own eyes. You can also apply what you see in the natural world to yourself and other aspects of life.

I started to observe pain a lot and learnt a lot about it. I ended up coming up with what I call the Pain Class Abstraction pictured below:



The above abstraction is a simple general representation of any pain. For those of you who are into abstract things you will know that they are very general representations of things. Sometimes so general that all they can do is just help provoke new thoughts which can be very useful in solving problems. Abstract art for example allows a person to explore and derive their own meaning from what they see.

The abstraction above can be used with any Psychiatric Disorder for multiple purposes and in my opinion even for developing solutions because it allows exploration and a shift in consciousness from stagnated thinking. The current thinking of many disorders in Psychiatry has stagnated in my opinion and that’s why this epidemic is getting worse. What is needed is solutions and new ways of thinking of these disorders which is what I have attempted.

My abstraction is also validated by nature as the above representation of pain is how pain actually operates. All pain whether it’s a headache or a fungal infection inherits from the above representation. The section in the middle are attributes of pain and the section at the bottom is a behaviour of pain.

What follows is an explanation of the above attributes and behaviour through the example of a headache and then the linking of the abstraction to the mood continuum to demonstrate that the opposite poles are actually a communication system.

Explaining the pain class abstraction through the example of a headache:

Pain: Headache

Initiator: My boss
Initiation Method: Too much of a work-load
Responder: Myself (I am the one who will respond to this headache)
Response Method: Headache tablet
Subject: Myself (I am the victim of this headache)
Manifestation Subject: Head (where did this pain manifest?)
Time Period: 4 hours (this headache has lasted 4 hours)
Communicate: Painful cramping and tension in the head area. Possibly increased muscle tenderness? This is how the pain communicates.

Take note of the initiator, initiation method and communicate items above. Notice how the pain communicates symptoms which are caused by the boss giving too much of a work load. Together these things are communicating meaning, a reason behind the pain. It’s a signal of purpose.

For people who don’t know, the mood continuum is the complete individual range of moods from lowest to highest. Now I will connect my Pain abstraction to the mood Continuum.

First simplify the Pain Abstraction and apply the simple form to the unpleasant moods on the continuum. Moods are colour coded where Major depression is in black all the way to white which is mania and the ideal in the middle being green. The two poles are on opposite ends.



As can be seen above, all unpleasant moods whether they are extreme and problematic (mania and major depression) or of simpler nature share the same attributes and behaviour of pain (they are a form of pain) and therefore communicate content and meaning (they all have an initiator, initiation method and communicate symptoms). So just as you have reasons for a general negative mood fluctuation, you also have reasons for mania and major depression. In the current understanding however found in Psychiatry, not much is concluded besides the extreme mood fluctuations being blamed on a brain disease where drugs are given as first line of treatment to control the rises and falls. I believe they have over-simplified the problem and are treating surface symptoms but in my opinion the issue actually signals a deeper problem.

I believe Psychiatry needs to re-evaluate how they are approaching Bipolar Disorder and other disorders as I don’t believe enough progress is being made. One of the things they have come up with is that there is a lot of evidence that points to Bipolar Disorder being an issue of the neurons. Even if that is the case our brains have the ability to reprogram themselves through neuroplasticity. They are living moving objects. Isolating the response of Bipolar Disorder to the science of chemistry (drugs) alone discourages actions that induce neuroplasticity. We as human beings have a wide option base when it comes to treating matters of the mind. I know for myself I deal better with racing thoughts by delegating them into to do list software and processing them as opposed to taking pills.

I'm not against drugs nor do I have the right to be, they save lives and may be the best thing in some cases. I know they probably saved my life. What I do believe however is that they treat surface symptoms only of actual deeper problems that have root causes which if analysed and given attention can raise interesting outcomes for the patient.
 
Tawny

Tawny

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My depression does not stop until i take medication. I let it go as long as i could manage and then was in bed about 22 hours per day for about 5 days. I don't think it is possible for anyone to withstand that no matter the cause.

Some people get better on medication and later can stop it and be well though. This is what some people say anyway. They must have a different type of problem with their brain to me.
 
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Gratefultobewell

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Sorry to say that in my experience and knowledge that there is no cure for bipolar only management of symptoms.
 
Wishbone

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You'll have to forgive me THHAV, as I thought it read like it was written by someone that either didn't have Bipolar, or a medical professional/student view of it, eg: what the books would say rather than lived experience of it.

Your 'Pain Class Abstraction' seems to hinge on being able to readily identify the cause or 'initiator'. One of the great frustrations I had when going through the diagnostic stage was getting across to the professionals that things change, not because something has ticked me off, or because something bad has happened, they can just change within me. I assume, biologically. For example, you could say that maybe sleep changes are an initiator, but I wouldn't know if the sleep changes because the mood change has already started or if it is indeed the sleep changing that kicks the mood change off.

You say here:

"If however you manage to resolve the CAUSE of your depression you will obtain mood regulation which is the ideal state for someone with Bipolar Disorder. You would no long have the disorder. At least not the depressive dimension."

But if the cause is an as yet unknown biological/physiological cause then reliable mood regulation is still some way off yet, isn't it?
 
T

TheHeartHasAVoice

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You'll have to forgive me THHAV, as I thought it read like it was written by someone that either didn't have Bipolar, or a medical professional/student view of it, eg: what the books would say rather than lived experience of it.

Your 'Pain Class Abstraction' seems to hinge on being able to readily identify the cause or 'initiator'. One of the great frustrations I had when going through the diagnostic stage was getting across to the professionals that things change, not because something has ticked me off, or because something bad has happened, they can just change within me. I assume, biologically. For example, you could say that maybe sleep changes are an initiator, but I wouldn't know if the sleep changes because the mood change has already started or if it is indeed the sleep changing that kicks the mood change off.

You say here:

"If however you manage to resolve the CAUSE of your depression you will obtain mood regulation which is the ideal state for someone with Bipolar Disorder. You would no long have the disorder. At least not the depressive dimension."

But if the cause is an as yet unknown biological/physiological cause then reliable mood regulation is still some way off yet, isn't it?
Thanks for your excellent and honest feedback I really appreciate it. I hear you about things just changing and not knowing the cause. But my abstraction is a view of how pain consistently operates in the natural world. Everything has a cause and nothing happens without a reason. It's why I highlighted at the start that scientists have not been able to find a concrete physical cause on the human brain for people with Bipolar. My argument is that these changes do indeed have initiators. You can see this is the case when people become sleep deprived they go into mania. Sleep deprivation is the initiator in such cases.

In your case I would suggest data logging. Log your mood changes. Write a description of what was happening at the time. Go on a self investigation. I did this for a year and found out a lot about what causes my mood fluctuations. Do your own data mining and find out about yourself. Because I have a feeling your mood changes are happening for a reason. Like I said it's how pain operates and I don't believe emotional disorders are exempt from this. They are all forms of pain and inherit the attributes of my pain abstraction.

In regard to your last statement about the cause of a persons depression being unknown and thus mood regulation being far off. The way I see it is this. Depression is simply a word that represents lower energy emotional pain. And it can either be host-based or reactionary. If it's host based it means there is something wrong with your body physically like a hormone deficiency or vitamin B inadequacy. Reactionary is when someone is reacting to something and thus an unpleasant depressive feeling is constantly being felt. Like an argument three weeks ago with someone you love. Or an upcoming fear like something your dreading. It's not always transparent why a person is depressed. When someone doesn't know why they are depressed I think it's likely they aren't trying things out or challenging themselves to investigate what could be causing it. Depression in my experience is also the natural state the emotions deteriorate into when we don't maintain our moods through the various methods of maintenance (social life, exercise, hobbies, challenges etc).

When I hear people speak of treatment resistant depression I feel like telling them in my opinion I think they have something to be hopeful about and I'll tell you why. Our brains have neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) and there are a few that give us a rush of pleasure (dopamine, serotonin etc). There is a particular one that is released during things like hobbies and exercise and is known as the "bliss" molecule. It's called "anandamide" and is part of the cannabinoid system that all humans have. When someone with Bipolar depression or treatment resistant depression takes anti depressants, all that the drug is trying to achieve is a manipulation of serotonin the happy chemical. But the reality is we have our own natural antidepressant systems and the brain releases them on command when doing certain activities like excercise.

Because we have an endocannibinoid system and can activate the bliss molecule "anandamide", people who have Bipolar depression and treatment resistant depression should do things like exercise and activate those positive neurotransmitters. They would be effectively "treating" their negative state. During exercise, tryptophan is consumed by the brain in large amounts. Tryptophan is converted in the brain to 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) or what we simply know as serotonin the happy chemical. So whether you are Bipolar or not you are forcing your brain to activate pleasure neurotransmitters and treat any negative emotions. And we all have that system.

But this is just one example of how to treat Bipolar Depression effectively. Like I said Bipolar Depression and Major Depression are not very different in my research and in my opinion can happen for various reasons thus requiring different appropriate responses depending on the case. Are you depressed? if so do you exercise?

When the world became industrialized people stopped being so physically active and they stopped spending time outdoors. Therefore we became more depressed. Mood by the way when it is good impacts other layers of our essence like optimism, energy levels, our general positivity, our sleep cycle and our willingness to take on new projects etc.

I think the word depression has also deteriorated in the English language. I think people should use richer terms like "I'm disturbed" or "I have low energy emotional pain" because the reality of depression I think is that it's a very individual thing.
 
Wishbone

Wishbone

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The problem with the brain and with genes is that there is no single thing that is the cause, if there was it would have been found long ago. It seems instead that there are multiple things involved, complicating the picture.
I agree with you in that there probably are two 'classes' of depression, one being 'host-based' and one being 'reactionary'. I would imagine that in time, when things are better understood, there will indeed be a host-based initiator at the heart of the more severe forms of depression, a biological shortcoming that causes problems now and then in those with a genetic or physiological predisposition, and that the milder forms will be viewed as more reactionary. One may then get a more biologically centred specialist help and one a more psychological/therapeutic one.

I'm still at odds with the ease at which you speak of getting out of depression though. I've had depression of all kinds over the years. Some of which has been horrifically low and with it came the ability to do absolutely nothing, no desire to live, to see anything or be seen by anyone. Wanting to die or trying to die is not compatible with exercising. Exercising is self-improvement, and the deepest depression is obviously a mind, body and soul that has essentially given up on everything. There is no point in exercise, or eating well, or seeing people.
With some slightly milder depressions I've forced myself to do things, and some I was able to peter along in, but with all, depression still stuck around until it was done with me.

I've kept pretty thorough mood and sleep diaries (graphs and tables too) for the last four or five years now. I know the mood fluctuations will happen but I don't know when they will - still! I've had depressions in winter and summer, mania or hypo's in winter and summer...there isn't anything I could point to as being something I need to avoid or do more of.

I agree we should do more physically as a society, and getting plenty of light is something I always mention on here and strongly believe in, but I think activity is good for a middling band of people that aren't seriously effected by mental illness, just the now-and-then-getting-the-blues type of people: regular Joe's really. We all have mood fluctuations and it may work for those guys but there's a reason they refer to Bipolar as a 'severe' mental illness: there isn't a quick fix or a definitive answer for it...yet.
 
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