Eliminating Disorder with or without medication

It can take a long time to learn enough to move beyond any psychiatric label. I took prescription drugs to treat bipolar disorder for 14 years with no intention of ever stopping. That period and the years of relatively good health since have greatly influenced my career and created my passion for discovering and sharing the root causes of diseases and disorders.

Now that I am free from bipolar disorder you may notice I am increasingly sharing information about other aspects of recovery, greater well-being and resilience regardless of diagnosis.

What has worked best for me? Meeting the best people, focusing more on physical health, then eliminating the disorder rather than being too concerned about what it might mean to be bipolar.

I chose to leave the corporate world in 2015 (last day with a multi-national was in April 2016) and now have the freedom to make a difference. Contact me. Lets meet up.

Roger while visiting friends in France Sept 2015

This is me – Taken while staying with friends in France in Sept 2015

LABELED BIPOLAR

Bipolar diagnosis eliminated ? – We are working on it

Our work:

  • How to get correct diagnosis and help for those with mood difficulties
  • How people can be better helped with mood management
  • How those who are now able to manage their moods well can get rid of a psychiatric label
  • How can people avoid becoming unwell, return to good health and avoid being labeled as bipolar?
  • The eventual elimination of bipolar labeling

Blog 1:

LABELED BIPOLAR

eliminating-bipolar-diagnosis1.jpg

Bipolar ladder? Seems like we are told to stay on it, just going up or down forever. It is a crazy diagnosis!

I was told by doctors that I would need psychiatric drugs for life and not to think about getting better. It turned out the drugs did not treat any of the root causes. Instead I needed to focus on recovery. This allowed the signs of stress such as not sleeping well and talking too fast to happen less often. Wellness Recovery Action Planning was just one way in which I helped myself with this long recovery.

Fifteen years on, I now know a drug prescribed for a stomach complaint increased my insomnia and restlessness. A few nights and days without sleep were all it took to be forced to take psychiatric drugs (held down and injected in the bum!)

Unfortunately, there is no procedure in the UK for removing a bipolar label from medical records. Once labeled as bipolar it is supposed to go with you for life. Even if the next day a different psychiatrist were to say it was an error. My medical records show “BIPOLAR DISORDER” even though all that happened 13 years ago.

  • When will ‘ undiagnosis ‘ be possible?

Bipolar disorder is close to a perfect diagnosis for selling drugs. Anyone can be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In most countries the diagnosis goes with the message, “Keep taking the psychiatric drugs no matter what happens”. Even if you fully recover from whatever was going wrong or find there was nothing wrong at all, you will still be told you must not stop taking the drugs because withdrawal will cause ‘bipolar symptoms’. It is a strange disorder with most doctors discouraging recovery.

  1. I work with people wanting to eliminating their own bipolar diagnosis.
  2. I am also working on the wider issue of whether anyone ever needs a bipolar diagnosis in the first place.

Bipolar disorder evolved from the diagnosis of manic depression – It is no longer the same thing

Prior to 1980 only a very few people were ever diagnosed as manic-depressive but that was a different disorder. Manic depression was a disorder of mostly short episodes of disorder with mostly long periods of wellness. Many/most people only had one ‘high’ and one ‘low’ episode in their lifetime. It rarely disabled anyone. The bipolar disorder label was created in 1980 by psychiatrists in the USA looking to explain something new that was happening to people taking psychiatric drugs. Up until 1980 bipolar disorder and its description simply did not exist in the psychiatrists’ manuals.

Bipolar may not sound as bad as manic-depression but when it comes with no hope of recovery it becomes far more damaging.

Our world has changed a lot since 1980. For one thing children are eating far more food containing additives  known to cause mood instability. The average age for bipolar labeling in the UK dropped from 40 to 19 during the 1990’s.

Gradually the drugs used to control mood cause physical illnesses. These drugs have been associated with early death. In many ‘developed’ countries it has reach epidemic proportions with bipolar now one of the top disabling of all health problems. Psychiatrists who say they do not experience bipolar symptoms themselves have told us that it is “…degenerative and that is why recovery is not possible.” A frightening idea that could easily take away a person’s last bit of hope.

In our work as mental health researchers and trainers the many bipolar diagnosed people we meet tend to either believe:

1) It is something they were born with/developed at an early age that they will always need drugs for it. They talk as if psychiatric drugs are more important than anything they can do for themselves.

or

2) It is mainly due to past traumas, current stresses and untreated physical health troubles, saying it is something they can learn to overcome with minimal use of psychiatric drugs.

We have met, interviewed, trained and spent time with enough people in each group for enough years to be convinced that the way we view bipolar disorder determines its outcome.

1) Those who believe it is incurable and place huge emphasis on psychiatric drugs gradually become more unwell, achieve less and less and have an increasingly miserable life with fewer and fewer good relationships.

2) Those who believe they can overcome the disorder using, Mood Mapping, Bipolar In Order or similar ways of staying well achieve more and have an increasingly better life with more good relationships.

With bipolar diagnosis what we believe becomes our reality.

Recovery is possible for those who have hope, take responsibility and have an open mind.

This site is about giving people choices about how to think about bipolar

I was told that it was largely hereditary… “Your parents were nuts and that is why you are nuts.” It turns out there is very little truth in this. Yes, some illnesses run in families, however, research has confirmed that anyone can experience massive shifts in mood and so anyone can be labeled as bipolar. A lot of things we were told about bipolar disorder have turned out not to be true.

The idea that, “Bipolar disorder can never be cured. Once you have a bipolar diagnosis you have it for life.” takes away a lot of hope,  shifts power away from ordinary people and makes psychiatrists more powerful. To consider and talk about the alternative (the truth) you have to be brave. We were told we were mad when we said we no longer needed to be described as bipolar. That was a long time ago. It does make us mad (angry) that kids are being labeled bipolar rather being told the truth about moods.

Eliminating disorder: To survive bipolar disorder we must eliminate the disorder part. When friends (and ideally family too) can help us eliminate the causes of disorder we find coping, recovering and thriving become easier, regardless of who says we are still ‘bipolar’ and whatever may be meant by that.

Eliminating your diagnosis: Some doctors are starting to agree that bipolar labeling does not have to be for life. In the UK doctors are not allowed to remove incorrect or obsolete bipolar labeling from our records. While we want this to become possible, a step in the right direction would be for incorrect or obsolete diagnosis to be marked as such and  made less visible. This would allow medical professionals to consider our physical health before reading that we have an incurable disorder.

Time to stop the labeling: When we or our families are desperate it can feel good to get a diagnosis/label. It implies that progress is being made and useful treatment will follow. This is false hope. If you have a choice, reject the bipolar diagnosis. Accept that you have difficulties. Difficulties can be overcome. The bipolar label stays. People who accept the bipolar label generally get sicker and die younger than those who do not. Find people who used to be considered bipolar and mentally ill and are not ill now. Learn how they coped and recovered then do what you need to do to stay well. We believe it is better to be considered well rather labelled for life. (where I write ‘we’ I am including associates from Rethinking Health (UK) who I have teamed up with to provide training throughout England and Wales).

Next article = Giving people choices