Rethinking Bipolar / Redefining Bipolar

Bipolar was created as diagnosis the year I first visited a psychiatric ward – 1980. In the UK it gradually took over from manic depression, then it just kept on growing. Diagnosis rates here are still well behind those in USA, which is the undoubted world leader in producing people with or considered to have mood disorders.

Something has gone terribly wrong to cause so many people to be affected. If the rest of the world were to follow the USA in increasing diagnosis rates this will be one of the worst epidemics in human history.

It is time we all started to question:

  • What is bipolar disorder?
  • What is causes people to be diagnosed?
  • Why current treatments often fail to eliminate any disorder?
  • How best to learn from people who have made great recoveries?
  • How to help the next generation to stay well?
  • How do ‘bipolar people’, like myself, who are staying well, more effectively share what we have learned?
  • How can we help health professionals who have no personal experience of extremes of mood?

When  I created this site bipolar was booming. It still is. We need to think differently so that we can do things differently.

One thing that seems clear is that we cannot wait for drug companies to solve our problems. It seems more likely that those with the experience need to work together to help everyone else to understand that even if ‘bipolarity’ (highly variable feelings and energy levels) may stay for life, the disorder can be eliminated once we meet others who can explain how it is done.

I was fortunate to meet such people on a recovery course in June 2000. Their knowledge allowed me to get on a new path, with no more psych ward admissions and eventually my doctor agreeing to support me in weaning myself of the last of the psych drugs I had been taken for 12 years. It took another 2 years to become completely free of all prescription drugs.

Recovery it takes a lot of small changes and a few big ones too. Life without seeing any psychiatrists or even without any drugs can be tough, as all those suppressed emotions come back. For most people leaving disorder behind them it is worthwhile. It is about living and thriving again and not just surviving.

I have continued to make new discoveries and had some big breakthroughs since switching from food scientist to professional mental health researcher.

I am as well as I am today because of those who shared how they eliminated the disorder from their lives. (As Isaac Newton said, “…standing on the shoulders of giants.”)

Updated March 2018 – Roger Smith

A new definition is needed based on people’s experiences and the research since 1980.

This site will help you look at bipolar from various perspectives. I hope to help change attitudes-toward and the treatment-of, those who struggle with emotional distress. My aim remains to help people think differently about bipolar disorder, hence ‘Rethinking Bipolar’.

I have trained professionals (doctors, nurses, social workers and so on) about mood and the facts about bipolar diagnosis for many years. This has helped with working out what we may realistically be able to do to help people wanting to avoid the mental illness system.

We need health professionals and other visitors to this site to appreciate is that bipolar disorder is not the illness described in even our own 2012 text-book. Neither (surprisingly maybe?) is it the same as manic depression.

Bipolar is simply a label given to people who are reacting in extreme ways to extreme stressors. Bipolar is not a distinct disorder. It is described by symptoms we all experience to some extent. If it exists at all then it is something we all have in us. Most of the symptoms are simply common reactions to stress. Even hallucinations and extreme delusions are what anyone can have if your body/brain chemistry are ‘out-of-whack’. Labeling millions as bipolar is not healthy as it goes with ideas of permanent disability and drugs for life. It does not have to be this way.

Early ideas for this site:

Rethinking Bipolar to eliminate the bipolar diagnosis (my original ‘About’ page)

If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder you may well have been told you will always be ill, need medication and not be able work again.

We know it does not have to be this way. It is true that most who are diagnosed will take the drugs they are offered, which may or may not give some relief.

We know that:

> those who stay on the drugs become dependent on them

> all the drugs on offer have some or many unpleasant effects

> those who are unable to come off the drugs mostly become more unwell and die early

We also know that many people are able to get help with gradually reducing psychiatric drug doses and thousands who were once diagnosed with bipolar have lived well for decades without any need for psychiatric drugs.

Unfortunately the stigma associated with this diagnosis remains.

This site is for:

  • health professionals to be up-to-date with full recovery / ideas of eliminating diagnosis and who is working on this
  • anyone interested in taking on the bipolar industry and reversing the trend toward diagnosing all very-emotional-people as bipolar
  • the friends and relatives of the very emotional people at risk of diagnosis – as diagnosis can be avoided if causes / triggers can be successfully tackled
  • emotional people wanting to understand and avoid getting a mood disorder diagnosis/psychiatric drugs
  • those in recovery/recovered and want to know, “What next?” / “Will I always have this label?” / “What are my options?”

—- —-

Original idea for…

This site was to be called, ‘Eliminating Bipolar Diagnosis‘.

It is now clear our first step is to help people with Rethinking Bipolar and this is what we aim to do.

One Response to Rethinking

  1. Wish the leaders in NYS overseeing public mental health systems understood “choice”. Wish the leaders of prominent peer initiatives in NY understood it is “choice” it is self-determination.

    I just found this blog. I am looking forward to the days coming as I cruise through it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: