General Question

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

If bi-polar sufferers experience lower lows than most people, do they also feel higher highs?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

26 Answers

asmonet's avatar

Yes, it’s called mania

Mania, is a severe medical condition characterized by extremely elevated mood, energy, unusual thought patterns and sometimes psychosis. There are several possible causes for mania including drug abuse and brain tumours, but it is most often associated with bipolar disorder, where episodes of mania may cyclically alternate with episodes of major depression. These cycles may relate to diurnal rhythms and environmental stressors. Mania varies in intensity, from mild mania (known as hypomania) to full-blown mania with psychotic features (hallucinations and delusions)..

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Yes, they experience exquisite manias and some take advantage of these upswings to tackle tough projects or express creativity while others act out in mania destructively with binges such as gambling or sexcapades.

MrGV's avatar

There are no such thing as bi-polar people they just trick themselves into believing they are “bi-polar” to get attention.

This also includes ADD and other mental disorders.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

The psychiatric community seems to think otherwise.

asmonet's avatar

@MrGeneVan: I hope you never have the misfortune of being diagnosed or having someone close to you diagnosed to prove you wrong.

nikipedia's avatar

@MrGeneVan: Why do you think that?

What evidence would convince you that’s not so?

Milladyret's avatar

As do the medical community.

And I have to agree with @asmonet

3or4monsters's avatar

@MrGeneVan I hope you learn some empathy before the lack of it does you or your loved ones harm.

MrGV's avatar

@everyone that quoted me – Can you prove me wrong?

LocoLuke's avatar

@MrGeneVan can you prove THEM wrong?
This is a pretty pointless debate,
whether or not the disease is real, there isn’t any reason to take the chance that it isn’t and simply blow it off, as the symptoms of this “make-believe” disease are real enough.

quarkquarkquark's avatar

@MrGeneVan, I am a big believer in the notion that ADD and other disorders have been wayyyy overdiagnosed. People say they have this shit when they absolutely do not. But science has proven that bipolar disorder, for instance, does exist. MRIs and other experimental evidence have proven that there are changes in brain chemistry associated with psychiatric experiences.

LocoLuke's avatar

@quarkquarkquark true, that is a problem with ADD and other disorders, but it doesn’t mean that those disorders don’t exist. All that it means is that the methods used to determine what is and isn’t a disorder need to be further refined. One problem is that people without the disorder many fake it in order to gain access to drugs such as Ritalin, which have a noticeable affect on people without the disorder as well.

nikipedia's avatar

@MrGeneVan: I can provide evidence that the illnesses you mentioned:

—cause structural changes in the brain
—cause functional changes in the brain
—have a genetic basis
—share a specific constellation of symptoms
—are alleviated by pharmacological intervention

Each of these is compelling evidence to me that these are “real” disorders. So let me ask you again: what evidence would it take to convince you?

dynamicduo's avatar

@MrGeneVan These conditions are proven to be true, thus it’s you who is the problem here, not us who are talking about them. Yes, I can prove it, but that doesn’t even matter because the burden of proof is on YOU when you make such an outlandish claim. So, @MrGeneVan, where is your proof showing that all mental disorders are made up bullshit? Oh, that’s right, you don’t have any, because it doesn’t exist. Thanks for playing, see you around later.

cak's avatar

@MrGeneVan – Ah….the classic (7 year old elementary school kid) defense. I can’t back up my outlandish lie, so I’ll tell them to prove it! Yep. I’ve seen it often in elementary school children. It never works.

Having a sister that suffers from bipolar and speaking to countless doctors, over the last 20 years. Following the research, following studies and watching her participate in different programs…yeah…this is all imaginary. She completely enjoys having her life go haywire and living in misery.

SuperMouse's avatar

Yes folks who deal with bipolar do have incredibly high highs. Personally when I am not stable on meds I find mania to be thoroughly exhausting. It is like someone wound me up and even when I am at the end of my rope and ready to collapse I just can’t stop. It is uncomfortable and rather disconcerting.

Darwin's avatar

Yes, the very low lows and the very high highs are part of the definition of bipolar disorder. And I also agree that it is possible to document the changes in brain function through various means that demonstrate that the brains of bipolar people operate differently in specific areas than those who are not bipolar.

Yes, many of these illnesses can be and are misdiagnosed, and some people use a “diagnosis” as an excuse for failure. However, someone who is truly ADHD or bipolar will have a strong negative affect on all aspects of their daily lives from the disorder.

Perhaps @MrGeneVan is a Scientologist?

gailcalled's avatar

I had a friend who, when flying high, stole her mother’s credit card. My ex-friend bought a jeep, drove it to New York City. She then went to Saks and charged over $3000 worth of merchandise, packed it into the jeep and and parked the vehicle in a high-rise garage.

At some point, she hit a low and forgot where the jeep was parked. It and its contents have never been found, by her family at least.

wundayatta's avatar

The highs are not necessarily higher. If you have hypomania, as I do, the highs aren’t terribly noticeable. In my case, just a slight sense of speeding thoughts, and a greater willingness to take risks in order to get sex and love, or love and sex.

It was interesting this morning. I was thinking with a great sense of shame about telling my wife that I wanted to separate from her and that I was in love with someone else. Looking back from now, it seems crazy, and I can’t believe I thought I loved someone else. I understand that I was thinking quite differently then, and it made sense back then, given the pain I was in, but now it seems hard to imagine how I didn’t see how ridiculous it all was. I was fantasizing like crazy, and believing those fantasies. I think I was in another reality of my own making.

The meds have brought me back to my sensible self. The ability to remember the feelings from that time is receding, although my memory of that time is still strong. I don’t like remembering the feelings, because I’m afraid they will suck me back to that place.

My experience of being totally out of control over my feelings, and of having apparently random feelings strike me for no particular reason, together with the assurances of many medical professionals helped me to believe this was a brain disorder, not something of my own volition.

That’s the problem with brain disorders. We are used to experiencing our thoughts and feelings as under our control. Even when you feel it, it feels like it’s still the same you with these feelings. There’s no awareness of something going wrong in your brain. We are used to feeling pain when we experience a broken leg or other maladies of the body. The pain we feel that has no apparent cause seems like it could be made up. It comes from inside. We have no pain sensors in our brain, as far as I know (Nikipedia?), and so we can’t tell if something is going wrong there.

So when we feel the racing thoughts of mania, or the incredible pressuring pain of depression that seems like it will never end until we die, it feels like us. Something wrong with us; with the way we think and feel—something we are doing to ourselves. We have no way of feeling the chemistry of our brains changing. We have to rely on others to tell us that, and to prescribe us medicines, and then to feel how we change, dramatically, in response to the meds.

That’s what made me a believer. I’ve experienced my thoughts being changed by meds. I understand now that chemicals control what I can and do think. It’s a very disturbing thought because it kind of takes away from me. I’m not this volitional entity I thought I was. My actions and thoughts are being determined by chemicals that are not under my control. They aren’t necessarily under anyone’s control, although I can introduce chemicals (meds) that alter the way I think. Since I, like most people, am looking for ways to improve myself, I am happy to ingest chemicals to do so. Unlike in sports, chemical enhancement to change my abilities (in this case by relieving pain) seems like the right thing to do.

Most of these experiences are mine. No one else can feel them. No one else can be absolutely sure I’m telling the truth about them. You can see my behavior, and what I’m saying might be consistent with that, but you can’t know for sure. Maybe in the future, when we figure out how to manipulate our thoughts very precisely with chemicals, people will understand the objective reality of these conditions. People who don’t believe in them can take chemicals that induce bipolarity, and they shouldn’t have a problem with that, since they don’t believe.

What I find interesting is that there are people out there who know what I think better than I do. They tell me my experience is imaginary, and that really, I’m just seeking attention (as if that’s bad in itself). I think @MrGeneVan ought to take a look in the mirror when accusing people of desiring attention. He certainly seems like a troll, and is saying comments designed to get him… what? Attention? Well @MrGeneVan knows what I think better than I do, so obviously he must see where my thoughts are all mixed up. Although, since he probably has the attention span of a gnat, he won’t know it’s his turn to tell me what I’m thinking.

nikipedia's avatar

@daloon: You are correct—you don’t have nociceptors in your brain like you do in, say, your fingertips for detecting physical pain. This is why you can do brain surgery on people while they’re awake (with a local anesthetic for the scalp).

lercio's avatar

I heard a play on BBC Radio 4 last week about someone with bi-polar disorder, it was amazing and scary. Based on a real blog which was a real eye-opener for me. Worth a read if you are interested in the subject.

Darwin's avatar

@daloon – I really appreciate your account of what it is like to have odd feelings and emotions in your brain that don’t seem to relate to reality. I often wonder what actually goes on in my son’s head when he is behaving in a non-logical or self-injurious way. Just tonight he decided that no matter what he does he will never get to go to high school, that he doesn’t deserve to go to high school.

While it is true that he has spent most of the past six weeks drawing instead of doing his schoolwork (what are his teachers and his para thinking to let him continue to do this in class?) there is a finite quantity of work that needs to be done in order to pass the 8th grade. All he has to do is work on it steadily and turn it in as each bit is finished. But his mind tells him he cannot do that so he should not even attempt it.

At least he isn’t talking to Josh, the small boy who tells him to kill people.

I have always wondered how John Nash is able to distinguish “real” thoughts from the hallucinations and thus suppress the latter without medication. I wish he could explain it to someone who could then teach others how to do it.

wundayatta's avatar

@Darwin—it is the weirdest thing. I think I was lucky because I had decades of experience as a semi-normal person. I knew when things seemed out of whack and un-understandable. I could tell the difference between feelings that made sense, and feelings that seemed unrelated to anything.

Another weird thing is the desperate way I found myself trying to make sense out of feelings that didn’t make sense. I remember feeling this sudden, inexplicable sadness one night. It felt like a weight on my chest. I had been looking forward to joining the Carolers that night (it was a few nights before Christmas), but when that feeling hit, I couldn’t imagine doing it.

Later on I found out that a friend found out he had a few days to live at about the time I experienced that feeling. The friend was all the way across the continent. I thought that maybe it was some kind of psychic phenomena, but I didn’t really believe that. But I needed to make sense out of my feelings so badly, that I even considered that I might be psychic.

Later on, this desire to have things make sense to a much more dangerous turn. When I was in the depths of depression, I couldn’t figure out why I felt so bad, when I had a home, a good job, a loving family and all that. It didn’t make sense to me, and in order to make it make sense, I had to show everyone that I was undeserving of any of it. I tried to alienate my wife, first by telling her I didn’t deserve her and I loved someone else. Later on, when that didn’t work, I started telling her nasty things about herself, in an attempt to get her to want to let me go. If she let me go, I’d move out, lose my home and family, and probably eventually lose my job, and then become homeless when the money ran out, and then I’d have a reason to feel the way I did.

Fortunately my wife had enough loyalty to me that she was willing to stand by me and help me get better even though I was really hurting her badly. She got me to a shrink, and got me to take my meds, and got us to couples counselling, so we could explain ourselves to each other. Gradually she came to understand how I could become such an alien, and how I could return to my old self, and be trustworthy again.

Maybe your son has some of these cognitive dissonances. Feelings one way but reality another. Maybe he, too, is desperate to find a way to make it make sense, and maybe, if his pain is not going away with the meds, he attacks you not because he hates you, but because it is the only way to create a reality that fits with his feelings.

When I was really sick, I engaged in pretty mind-engaging activities that perhaps are like your son’s drawing. I was on Askville all the time, and it seemed to give me support, and it allowed me to kind of get away from the pain at times. Focusing hard on something can do that.

If your son is depressed, then that may be why he feels he doesn’t deserve to be in high school. When I was like that, there was no chance in hell that I could complete any project. None. I could barely do anything except write.

I know it is a struggle with him, and I have no idea how often his meds are tweaked, but from what I understand, every individual is a new experiment. No one knows what drugs will work with which person. Success depends on so many unknowns: how good the shrink is, how compliant the patient is, what meds are helpful, how often the patient is reevaluated, and on and on. I believe you’ve been dealing with this for a long time. I hope that your medical professionals are working with you in a helpful way.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Darwin, it is precisely the “odd feelings and emotions in your brain that don’t seem to relate to reality” the feelings and experiences, and ones like the you describe your son having, that make my blood boil when I read ignorant posts like those of MrGeneVan, and watch the ludicrous anti-med rants from Tom Cruise. When things in my life are going relatively well, a nice house, three great kids, on and on, and I am still feeling suicidal and can barely drag myself out of bed in the morning, or my brain is moving so fast I am at a constant sprint to physically keep up with it (even on 2 hours of sleep), I know this is a chemical issue – it is not in my head.

I know your son is lucky to have you and I hope and pray that you will find the right treatment to help him live his life to the fullest. Good luck!

Mouse steps off her soapbox.

Darwin's avatar

@daloon and @SuperMouse – I am very pleased with most of the medical professionals we have dealt with. However, until the staffing changes at the acute care psych facility here in town we won’t be able to go there again. The doctor currently in charge believes that my son is a “juvenile delinquent who belongs in juvie, not in a hospital.” Not a very helpful fellow.

We see his psychiatrist every 6 to 8 weeks for med tweaking if needed, and he and I both go to counseling, together and separately, twice a month.

My biggest difficulty is the school. Every time we find someone who really seems to understand that my son’s brain doesn’t work the way most people’s do they are transferred or fired and we end up once again with people who “don’t believe in disabilities they cannot see.” That is a quote from a school principal that I recorded in an ARD meeting

In fact, today I spent several hours talking to the attorney representing my son’s teacher who is suing the district to get her job back. She had permission to restrain him when he became violent. She did so in the most minimal way but the brand new para who was on his first day at the school reported her as being abusive to the school principal. The principal doesn’t like her and so called in a report to CPS. CPS found no basis for investigation, but the district is still pursuing the abuse charge.

Even my son says it is untrue (that isn’t the word he used but you get the idea).

On top of that, they are reneging on everything decided during my son’s “vocational” ARD and they are once again trying to take away his para as well, so I have a call in to my lawyer.

I must have offended someone somewhere because the old Chinese curse seems to be operational – my life is definitely interesting.

Linda_Owl's avatar

From observation of my Bi-Polar/Schizophrenic daughter, I would have to say, yes they do.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther