Posted by: LadyJ | 2009/05/26

BOTH siblings bi polar....??

Hi, perhaps you can give me advice please. Both my sisters have been diagnosed as bi polar... is it genetic?? Will I get it too? Whay are so many poeple bi polar nowadays? Are docs diagnosing it too fast? Neither of my sisters can really afford their really expensive meds- aren'  t there cheaper alternatives? Does lifestyle play a role (not to go down the Tom Cruise road of "  diet and exercise will cure all"  but can it help??). Neither of my sisters have any exercise and both lead fairly sedentary lives and do'  t eat as well as they should. How could someone be crusing along one day just fine then have a kind of a nervous breakdown the next, then get diagnosed with bi-polar?? It just seems a little of kilter to me... Will their child-rearing skills be affected?? I'  m worried about their kids.
I'  m just feeling really confused and worried for them both- i'  m sure that stress must play a part too? now they have to ADD to their stresses the fact thjat they canot afford meds to keep them functional. WHat to do????

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Our expert says:
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Hi LadyJ, It is not surprising that both your sisters suffer from Bi Polar (2 I suppose) because is has been suggested that it can be genetic, however, not all sufferers inherited it. Life style and the influences under which we grow up can also have an impact. There are many other causes as well, like the combination of personality, stress and stimulants etc. I cannot advise about medication and cheaper alternatives but can tell you that there are many things one can do to try and control the moods. For instance through Cognitive Therapy you can learn techniques to calm the ‘ups’ and overcome the ‘lows’. Diet and exercise also contribute to your health and to feeling better. You might think that the person cruised along just fine but in the meantime there might have been many little signs that things were not going well although it appeared that the person coped well. The diathesis stress model also explains way that might happen: every person has a particular level of stress that they can handle and when they continuously are forced to handle more than that there will come a point where the tyre burst at the weak point. Someone’s weak point might be a heart attack, or an ulcer or Depression or BiPolar disorder.
It helps a lot if someone understands what they are suffering from and learns to manage the moods. If they can do that they will be able to be good parents, remember, the bi polar only affects their moods and not their skills and ability to interact with people. It can impact on this ability though and that is why they need to understand and manage their emotions.
Stress most certainly plays a role and that is why they need to firstly manage their stress levels, by not taking on too much, by find work that is within their capability, by being assertive and not allowed to be bullied into working impossible hours etc etc.
I hope this helps.


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Our users say:
Posted by: Anonymous | 2009/05/26

I had a problem with the costs of my medication but have now changed to some generic ones that are less than a third,
it took me a while to get used to them but i am now feeling as well as i did when i was on the original medication. My medical aid wouldnt pay for the originals. They should ask if there are generics for any of the meds.

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