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03/10/2012 02:23 PM

Bipolar disorder in Seniors

Cthebird
Cthebird  
Posts: 5288
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I found the following fairly brief article about bipolar disorder in seniors. It had a few interesting tidbits in it. I found it because I was thinking what life will be like when I'm an old lady. I wondered if bipolar disorder would burn out or if it didn't what would it be like and what medications would I take. The same? Hmm? There are a lot of factors to consider. Here it is:

http://www.everydayhealth.com/bipolar-disorder/bipolar- disorder-in-seniors.aspx

On this subject, I believe my paternal grandmother is the source of my bipolar 1 disorder. When she had her last child, it was traumatic and she had a severe depression. Soon after she had what my dad described as manic symptoms (didn't sleep, hyper, bought a lot, had delusions and visual hallucination). My grandpop tried to take her to a psychiatrist, but she vehemently refused for a reason I'd rather not say. Years later she seemed fine except she never gave up on one of the delusions she had during this "manic" episode.

My other grandmother had a "nervous breakdown" as a young woman and was unable to work or look after her children for months. The rest of her life she was mostly a busy body and a real bitch (Guess this doesn't count. Just wanted to throw that in.) Anyway, in her old age in a nursing home she had a short period where she started to move around a lot more than usual and was extremely irritable. My father and uncle witnessed her describing hallucinations. It ended, and she was just depressed (which was unlike her - she was just mean). Temporary dementia? Something different? No clue what the small country doctor told her when she had her original "nervous breakdown".

Post edited by: Cthebird, at: 03/10/2012 02:32 PM

Post edited by: Cthebird, at: 03/10/2012 02:34 PM

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03/10/2012 03:37 PM
lken
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my dad worked until his 80"s, he was for sure bp, never dx's, never took meds, and had a great attitude, talked to everybody, wrote on everything , very active, could out walk me any day. good man , my dad bp and all. of course drove my mom up the wall, she would yell at him, and he would just laugh. he was always in his second childhood, just like a kid. Smile Tongue Laughing

Post edited by: lken, at: 03/10/2012 03:38 PM


03/10/2012 04:57 PM
Bangbang
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In my practice as a psychiatric nurse I found that many people had not been hospitalized and even Dx til they were in their late 40's and 50's. I was not aken down till I was 47 years old when I suffered a devastating depression. However I was Dx at age 23 with Bipolar II. I did not accept the Dx at that time. I was 47 before I accepted it. I could no longer work.

03/10/2012 05:17 PM
Jarhead75
Jarhead75Posts: 397
Senior Member

I was dx in my early 50s... However, once dx, I was able to view my life and understand what was going on now. How to fix it? That is the mystery. The meds are just a fix... They fix it as long as I take them.

03/11/2012 10:40 AM
lken
lken  
Posts: 2827
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everyone is different, i started my depressions worse when i was older, or did not was energy to deal with them anymore, i had depressions earlier, but thought it was normal, because dislike of myself or some other strange thing, and i could not understand why. is not knowing worse or knowing and thinking it can not be healed worse?

i do not know what bipolar was until being checked for ptsd. enough with dealing with tdoc for alcohol treatment it never came up. is this a functional bipolar? Dizzy

Post edited by: lken, at: 03/11/2012 10:46 AM


10/21/2013 08:29 AM
menelaeus
 
Posts: 17
New Member

I did not get my official dx until age 59. I had struggled with and been treated for major depression for decades, been prescribed every SSRI known to man which either made things worse or did nothing at all. The last thing on my mind during a manic phase would have been getting help since, in my mind, everything was so exciting. I was grandiose, omniscient and invincible. I hyper-sexualized and spent huge sums of money I didn't have, involved myself in multiple relationships (I was married at the time). I also had a lifelong pattern of substance abuse. I am a child of the 60's so my attitudes were shaped by an "if it feels good do it" ethic. Along the way I tried probably every drug there was, fought major battles with cocaine, Xanax and alcohol, did 3 inpatient rehabs, countless years of therapy and self-medication. I have a family history of mental illness. Bi-polar and addiction have dogged my family for generations. Both my grandfathers (one of whom was a minister) committed suicide as did my uncle (who was a psychiatrist). My father was a delusional psychotic who drank himself to death. How I ever believed I would escape any of this is beyond me but I somehow managed to keep thinking I had dodged the bullet. Today there is good news and bad news. My marriage of 40 years ended and I am now remarried. I'm on a cocktail of meds (including lamictal, abilify, Lexapro, buspar, and alprazolam) that at least seems to have controlled the mania. My main problem now is prolonged periods of deep depression, feelings of failure and uselessness, the persistent thoughts that I have squandered my talent and potential, rampaged through the lives of others like a tornado and I am left with all the fallout of all the years of insane behavior. I seem to be in a permanent state of cleaning up the mess I made. I'm dealing with the repercussions of a DUI from April, 2012 (although I am happy to report I've been sober for 18 months). My daughter refuses to speak to me because she is so angry me for betraying her mother with all of my extramarital affairs. I used to be a fairly successful non-profit administrator but my prospects are somewhat dim due to age, my new DUI and the fact that my credit is a complete wreck from all of my wildly extravagant spending. On the upside, my new wife is a perceptive, informed and empathetic. She has educated herself thoroughly on BP issues and reminds me almost daily how far I have come. For this I am profoundly grateful. She has added me to her health insurance and, since she works full-time, I have taken on the role of "house husband". This is not always easy and I have to keep my ego in check but luckily we are usually able to talk things through eventually. There are tensions, yes, but the changes in my life have been so massive (all of this has gone down since June of 2011)that it would be foolish to think there won't be major bumps in the road. Perhaps the largest was a suicide attempt in August, 2011, that came within a hair's breadth of succeeding. I rigged a garden hose to the exhaust, took an entire large bottle of Excedrin PM and when they found me I was comatose and unresponsive. I spent 10 days in the hospital for aspiration induced pneumonia and then was involuntarily committed for 5 more days in a psych unit. On the one year anniversary of that attempt I voluntarily admitted myself to the same unit for severe suicidal thinking and spent another 5 days there. Today, I find I still struggle with that ideation, feel like a complete flop as a human being and wonder why I was put here in the first place. If it's going to be like this, why can't I have both extremes? I miss my highs. I know I'm blathering on but haven't written down my story yet. There's more but neither the time or space here. I'm pretty determined to survive and I've always been pretty resilient. Anyway, thanks for listening and best of luck to everyone.

10/21/2013 11:01 AM
butterfly9
butterfly9  
Posts: 2248
Senior Member

Menelaeus,

I just wanted to say that you are not alone and that you have come to a good spot. This is a great place to vent and get to know good people as well as learn more and help others with this disorder.

I wanted to ask you, have you ever tried Wellbutrin? This is the one and only anti-d that has worked for me. I started out at 300mgs. It saved my life. You might want to ask your doctor about it as regular anti-depressants can cause mania.

Just my two cents. Trying to be helpful. Keep us posted on how you are doing.


10/21/2013 11:17 AM
butterfly9
butterfly9  
Posts: 2248
Senior Member

On the subject, I read the article and it does seem like treatment would be more complicated as we get older. Hopefully they will have newer better treatments by then that do not interact with meds commonly prescribed for older people.

That being said, I believe both of my parents are undiagnosed and unmedicated bipolar. I worry about them both a lot and pray they will one day be on medications. My mom may even have schizoaffective as she has major lows and highs and often seem detached from reality. She may be hearing things too. Not sure.

Also, my father has the bipolar rage and sometimes depression. He may or may not have it-I'm not sure but he is on a blood pressure med that supposedly helps with bipolar too. And that's why I think he is calmer lately than usual. But, I'm not really sure. Anyone know about that?

I do worry about myself and them as they age. I always try to get my mother to take medicine but she refuses. There are three completed suicides on her side of the family and some drug use. All we can do is stay on top of our meds and hope for the best I guess.

Thank you for the article. That is a good topic to think about and get informed on.

Post edited by: butterfly9, at: 10/21/2013 11:18 AM


10/21/2013 12:09 PM
Cthebird
Cthebird  
Posts: 5288
Group Leader

butterfly9, in response to your question I know that Propranolol (Inderal) and other beta blockers are used both to lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety. I use inderal for Lithium tremors and tachycardia. I'm not sure if it helps with my anxiety or not. As for my blood pressure, it's always perfect.

My father, who is not diagnoses bipolar, claims that Buspar reduces his tendency to rage. I think his tendency to rage has something to do with anxiety and/or hypomania. Anxiety definitely is a complex thing. I emphasize this since the Inderal helps people's anxiety. I guess that is my answer to your question.


10/21/2013 01:50 PM
butterfly9
butterfly9  
Posts: 2248
Senior Member

Thanks, Cindy!
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