Losing my mind, many ways: comorbidities in bipolar disorder

Based on the article: “Prevalence, chronicity, burden and borders of bipolar disorder” by Fagiolini et.al. Journal of Affective Disorders 148 (2013) 161-169

How many times have you gone through your list of meds and noticed that most of ’em aren’t even for treating your bipolar, or is it just me? Apparently not, according to research.

BD is frequently associated with comorbidity. One study showed that BD may be twice as likely to occur with another axis I psychiatric disorder) than to occur on its own (Axis I disorders are disorders that represent acute symptoms that need treatment). General medical conditions like hyperglycaemia, diabetes, angina, metabolic syndrome etc. are also more prevalent among bipolars. Common comorbid diseases include pain disorders, anxiety disorders, impulse control disorders and personality disorders. The train doesn’t stop there, bipolars are also more likely to have cardiovascular disease, be overweight, and struggle with substance abuse and eating disorders, all while probably trying to shrug off a migraine.

Whoa, this article is no fun!  Unfortunately, BD is no fun, only thing that gives me pleasure about taking so many different pills, is enjoying the variety of colours they come in. (When are they bringing out benzo’s with hypnotic patterns printed on them huh?) I can go on and talk about the correlation between substance abuse and BD (shocking stats btw). But I don’t want to. It is all a tad depressing, unless you take this article and see it as an answer to many questions you have about your diagnosis. For example, when I first read the article on which this one is based, it felt like stuff made more sense. I felt less guilty about feeling ‘iffy’ all the time and about having so many different things wrong with me.  (I’m prediabetic, obese, OCD, an insomniac and anxious most of the time) Best of all, my migraines finally had an explanation.

Please keep in mind that correlation does not imply causation. Just because you have BD, and all these many illnesses have been found to be more prevalent amongst people with BD, does not mean you suffer from all or even some of those illnesses.

So take this new information and let it shed light on some things that have been bothering you about your health. Throw the irrelevant bits into a dark hole, away from your thoughts.

As always, I would love to hear your stories of  how you’re fighting more than one beast at a time and winning, if you’re losing, tell me anyway, someone may just be able to relate with you.

7 responses to “Losing my mind, many ways: comorbidities in bipolar disorder

  1. Great post! I was just getting ready to write about this myself. It’s so frustrating dealing with all of it and most times Doctors think you’re delusional or trying to get attention. The addiction problem is a big one. I’m an alcoholic in “remission”. My niece who is also Bipolar is a Heroin Addict/Alcoholic. Her father who was never diagnosed but is a text book definition of Bipolar Disorder is an alcoholic. Unfortunately I could go on and on. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve taken all kinds of meds for bipolar & anxiety. Now I’m “just” taking 2 exclusively for bipolar: lithium & the MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) Parnate, which is technically an old-school antidepressant but it’s also used for treatment-resistant bipolar depression. Together the two meds are powerful and have been shown in ancient, small studies done in the 1970’s to dramatically lift bipolar depression. It worked for me, although life remains hard and I’m a deeply anxious person, which leads me to this……..

    I developed a very nasty benzodiazepine addiction. Valium, Xanax, Ativan, and others. After I had two car accidents while taking benzos (one of which was near-fatal & involved not just me, but my then-4-year-old) I kicked my benzo addiction. It’s one of my proudest accomplishments – it really should be on my resume!!! A great book helped inspire me to do it. It’s by Matt Samet, a climber and editor of “Outdoor” Magazine and it’s called “Death Grip”.

    Anyway, thank you for writing this post. It’s time for a f*cking cure for bipolar, wouldn’t you say? I keep thinking if people can be sent to the moon, then surely bipolar disorder could be cured. The X-Files part of me thinks, well, maybe there IS a cure already, but it’s being hidden by Big Pharma. Who knows?

    Sending you my Xo, & thanks for writing an excellent, insightful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow kicking Benzos is a big thing! Yeah it really is time that they figure it out. I also had 2 car crashes due to Benzos. We just need to hold on and do our part that’s the best we can do now


  3. Maybe I should read the main article but are people with Bipolar more likely to be overweight because the Bipolar or because the drugs? I know when I was on Lithium and Prozac I put on weight like crazy and my doctor told me that this was likely going to happen.

    Overall, I did enjoy your post. It was really enlightening that my early eating disorders were probably just precursors to Bipolar.

    Liked by 1 person

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