Let's say someone were diagnosed with Bipolar (either 1 or 2) and were medicated. The medication helped, but then for whatever reason, years down the road that person decided to go off their meds. As it turns out, this person has been off his/her meds now for 5-7 years or more without depressive or manic episodes. Sure they may have moments of minor depression and/or mania, but nothing that is disruptive to their life.
My question is then, does it mean that the above person was misdiagnosed with bipolar since they have been fine without meds for so many years? I have always been taught that a person with bipolar will need to be on meds for the rest of his/her life. So if that is indeed true, then it would stand to reason that if one is functioning just fine without meds, then they couldn't possibly be diag with bipolar, yes?
Could you please clear that up for me?
Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past could have been any different --Unknown
One manic or hypomania episode buys someone lifetime membership in the bipolar club, regardless of whether or not they have recurrences -- much like one heart attack buys lifetime membership in the heart disease club, regardless of having another heart attack. Risk for a lifetime recurrence (for manias/hypomanias, or heart attacks, respectively), will ALWAYS be higher than in the general population. Some people may have only one lifetime mania. Most have several. Many years can sometimes separate one episode from the next.
This is probably not exactly what you are asking but I wanted to share my experience. I was diagnosed at 15. By 20 I was so well, I thought I was and didn't need medicine so I stopped taking it. It was 8 years later (at 28) before I had another severe manic/psychotic episode and had to go back on medicine. That was a year and a half ago and I've hardly been stable since. But, I went for 10 years, 8 unmedicated, with no major episodes. Anyway, I related to your post and Dr. G's post so I thought I'd share.
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