i am in serious legal trouble and i am facing some time behind bars, i have self medicated in the past but dont anymore, i know that ive always searched for a feeling of normalacy, and felt normal if i self medicated... now im on seraquel and other meds too.. but how do i explain to the authorities of my past behavior? please help
Ok my friend I am BP too, and suffer from other conditions.
I am 41 male..it is as you know very hard to deal with, I do too take seroquel,(klonopin,depakote, lamictal,topamax... ect)
I do not know what you did in the past to get in trouble with the law. well if we are talking bars ..must be serious.
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.
Bipolar disorder often develops in a person's late teens or early adult years. At least half of all cases start before age 25. Some people have their first symptoms during childhood, while others may develop symptoms late in life.
Bipolar disorder is not easy to spot when it starts. The symptoms may seem like separate problems, not recognized as parts of a larger problem. Some people suffer for years before they are properly diagnosed and treated. Like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout a person's life.
People with bipolar disorder experience unusually intense emotional states that occur in distinct periods called "mood episodes." An overly joyful or overexcited state is called a manic episode, and an extremely sad or hopeless state is called a depressive episode. Sometimes, a mood episode includes symptoms of both mania and depression. This is called a mixed state. People with bipolar disorder also may be explosive and irritable during a mood episode.
Extreme changes in energy, activity, sleep, and behavior go along with these changes in mood. It is possible for someone with bipolar disorder to experience a long-lasting period of unstable moods rather than discrete episodes of depression or mania.
A person may be having an episode of bipolar disorder if he or she has a number of manic or depressive symptoms for most of the day, nearly every day, for at least one or two weeks. Sometimes symptoms are so severe that the person cannot function normally at work, school, or home.
Some people with bipolar disorder experience hypomania. During hypomanic episodes, a person may have increased energy and activity levels that are not as severe as typical mania, or he or she may have episodes that last less than a week and do not require emergency care. A person having a hypomanic episode may feel very good, be highly productive, and function well. This person may not feel that anything is wrong even as family and friends recognize the mood swings as possible bipolar disorder. Without proper treatment, however, people with hypomania may develop severe mania or depression.
During a mixed state, symptoms often include agitation, trouble sleeping, major changes in appetite, and suicidal thinking. People in a mixed state may feel very sad or hopeless while feeling extremely energized.
Sometimes, a person with severe episodes of mania or depression has psychotic symptoms too, such as hallucinations or delusions. The psychotic symptoms tend to reflect the person's extreme mood. For example, psychotic symptoms for a person having a manic episode may include believing he or she is famous, has a lot of money, or has special powers. In the same way, a person having a depressive episode may believe he or she is ruined and penniless, or has committed a crime. As a result, people with bipolar disorder who have psychotic symptoms are sometimes wrongly diagnosed as having schizophrenia, another severe mental illness that is linked with hallucinations and delusions.
People with bipolar disorder may also have behavioral problems. They may abuse alcohol or substances, have relationship problems, or perform poorly in school or at work. At first, it's not easy to recognize these problems as signs of a major mental illness.
How does bipolar disorder affect someone over time?
Bipolar disorder usually lasts a lifetime. Episodes of mania and depression typically come back over time. Between episodes, many people with bipolar disorder are free of symptoms, but some people may have lingering symptoms.
Doctors usually diagnose mental disorders using guidelines from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM. According to the DSM, there are four basic types of bipolar disorder:
1. Bipolar I Disorder is mainly defined by manic or mixed episodes that last at least seven days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care. Usually, the person also has depressive episodes, typically lasting at least two weeks. The symptoms of mania or depression must be a major change from the person's normal behavior.
2. Bipolar II Disorder is defined by a pattern of depressive episodes shifting back and forth with hypomanic episodes, but no full-blown manic or mixed episodes.
3. Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (BP-NOS) is diagnosed when a person has symptoms of the illness that do not meet diagnostic criteria for either bipolar I or II. The symptoms may not last long enough, or the person may have too few symptoms, to be diagnosed with bipolar I or II. However, the symptoms are clearly out of the person's normal range of behavior.
4. Cyclothymic Disorder, or Cyclothymia, is a mild form of bipolar disorder. People who have cyclothymia have episodes of hypomania that shift back and forth with mild depression for at least two years. However, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for any other type of bipolar disorder.
Some people may be diagnosed with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. This is when a person has four or more episodes of major depression, mania, hypomania, or mixed symptoms within a year. Some people experience more than one episode in a week, or even within one day. Rapid cycling seems to be more common in people who have severe bipolar disorder and may be more common in people who have their first episode at a younger age. One study found that people with rapid cycling had their first episode about four years earlier, during mid to late teen years, than people without rapid cycling bipolar disorder. Rapid cycling affects more women than men.
Bipolar disorder tends to worsen if it is not treated. Over time, a person may suffer more frequent and more severe episodes than when the illness first appeared. Also, delays in getting the correct diagnosis and treatment make a person more likely to experience personal, social, and work-related problems.
Proper diagnosis and treatment helps people with bipolar disorder lead healthy and productive lives. In most cases, treatment can help reduce the frequency and severity of episodes.
Substance abuse is very common among people with bipolar disorder, but the reasons for this link are unclear. Some people with bipolar disorder may try to treat their symptoms with alcohol or drugs. However, substance abuse may trigger or prolong bipolar symptoms, and the behavioral control problems associated with mania can result in a person drinking too much.
Anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social phobia, also co-occur often among people with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder also co-occurs with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which has some symptoms that overlap with bipolar disorder, such as restlessness and being easily distracted.
People with bipolar disorder are also at higher risk for thyroid disease, migraine headaches, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other physical illnesses. These illnesses may cause symptoms of mania or depression. They may also result from treatment for bipolar disorder.
Other illnesses can make it hard to diagnose and treat bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder should monitor their physical and mental health. If a symptom does not get better with treatment, they should tell their doctor.
Scientists are learning about the possible causes of bipolar disorder. Most scientists agree that there is no single cause. Rather, many factors likely act together to produce the illness or increase risk.
Bipolar disorder tends to run in families, so researchers are looking for genes that may increase a person's chance of developing the illness. Genes are the "building blocks" of heredity. They help control how the body and brain work and grow. Genes are contained inside a person's cells that are passed down from parents to children.
Children with a parent or sibling who has bipolar disorder are four to six times more likely to develop the illness, compared with children who do not have a family history of bipolar disorder. However, most children with a family history of bipolar disorder will not develop the illness.
Genetic research on bipolar disorder is being helped by advances in technology. Scientists will be able to link visible signs of the disorder with the genes that may influence them. So far, researchers using this database found that most people with bipolar disorder had:
Missed work because of their illness
Other illnesses at the same time, especially alcohol and/or substance abuse and panic disorders
Been treated or hospitalized for bipolar disorder.
The researchers also identified certain traits that appeared to run in families, including:
History of psychiatric hospitalization
Co-occurring obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Age at first manic episode
Number and frequency of manic episodes.
Scientists continue to study these traits, which may help them find the genes that cause bipolar disorder some day.
But genes are not the only risk factor for bipolar disorder. Studies of identical twins have shown that the twin of a person with bipolar illness does not always develop the disorder. This is important because identical twins share all of the same genes. The study results suggest factors besides genes are also at work. Rather, it is likely that many different genes and a person's environment are involved. However, scientists do not yet fully understand how these factors interact to cause bipolar disorder.
Brain-imaging studies are helping scientists learn what happens in the brain of a person with bipolar disorder. Newer brain-imaging tools, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET), allow researchers to take pictures of the living brain at work. These tools help scientists study the brain's structure and activity.
Some imaging studies show how the brains of people with bipolar disorder may differ from the brains of healthy people or people with other mental disorders. For example, one study using MRI found that the pattern of brain development in children with bipolar disorder was similar to that in children with "multi-dimensional impairment," a disorder that causes symptoms that overlap somewhat with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. This suggests that the common pattern of brain development may be linked to general risk for unstable moods.
Learning more about these differences, along with information gained from genetic studies, helps scientists better understand bipolar disorder. Someday scientists may be able to predict which types of treatment will work most effectively. They may even find ways to prevent bipolar disorder.
The first step in getting a proper diagnosis is to talk to a doctor, who may conduct a physical examination, an interview, and lab tests. Bipolar disorder cannot currently be identified through a blood test or a brain scan, but these tests can help rule out other contributing factors, such as a stroke or brain tumor. If the problems are not caused by other illnesses, the doctor may conduct a mental health evaluation. The doctor may also provide a referral to a trained mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, who is experienced in diagnosing and treating bipolar disorder.
The doctor should conduct a complete diagnostic evaluation. He or she should discuss any family history of bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses and get a complete history of symptoms. The doctor or mental health professionals should also talk to the person's close relatives or spouse and note how they describe the person's symptoms and family medical history.
People with bipolar disorder are more likely to seek help when they are depressed than when experiencing mania or hypomania. Therefore, a careful medical history is needed to assure that bipolar disorder is not mistakenly diagnosed as major depressive disorder, which is also called unipolar depression. Unlike people with bipolar disorder, people who have unipolar depression do not experience mania. Whenever possible, previous records and input from family and friends should also be included in the medical history.
To date, there is no cure for bipolar disorder. But proper treatment helps most people with bipolar disorder gain better control of their mood swings and related symptoms. This is also true for people with the most severe forms of the illness.
Because bipolar disorder is a lifelong and recurrent illness, people with the disorder need long-term treatment to maintain control of bipolar symptoms. An effective maintenance treatment plan includes medication and psychotherapy for preventing relapse and reducing symptom severity.
Bipolar disorder can be diagnosed and medications prescribed by people with an M.D. (doctor of medicine). Usually, bipolar medications are prescribed by a psychiatrist. In some states, clinical psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and advanced psychiatric nurse specialists can also prescribe medications. Check with your state's licensing agency to find out more.
Not everyone responds to medications in the same way. Several different medications may need to be tried before the best course of treatment is found.
Keeping a chart of daily mood symptoms, treatments, sleep patterns, and life events can help the doctor track and treat the illness most effectively. Sometimes this is called a daily life chart. If a person's symptoms change or if side effects become serious, the doctor may switch or add medications.
Some of the types of medications generally used to treat bipolar disorder are listed on the next page. Information on medications can change. For the most up to date information on use and side effects contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Mood stabilizing medications are usually the first choice to treat bipolar disorder. In general, people with bipolar disorder continue treatment with mood stabilizers for years. Except for lithium, many of these medications are anticonvulsants. Anticonvulsant medications are usually used to treat seizures, but they also help control moods. These medications are commonly used as mood stabilizers in bipolar disorder:
Lithium (sometimes known as Eskalith or Lithobid) was the first mood-stabilizing medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the 1970s for treatment of mania. It is often very effective in controlling symptoms of mania and preventing the recurrence of manic and depressive episodes.
Valproic acid or divalproex sodium (Depakote), approved by the FDA in 1995 for treating mania, is a popular alternative to lithium for bipolar disorder. It is generally as effective as lithium for treating bipolar disorder.
More recently, the anticonvulsant lamotrigine (Lamictal) received FDA approval for maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder.
Other anticonvulsant medications, including gabapentin (Neurontin), topiramate (Topamax), and oxcarbazepine (Trileptal) are sometimes prescribed. No large studies have shown that these medications are more effective than mood stabilizers.
Valproic acid, lamotrigine, and other anticonvulsant medications have an FDA warning. The warning states that their use may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. People taking anticonvulsant medications for bipolar or other illnesses should be closely monitored for new or worsening symptoms of depression, suicidal thoughts or behavior, or any unusual changes in mood or behavior. People taking these medications should not make any changes without talking to their health care professional.
Atypical antipsychotic medications are sometimes used to treat symptoms of bipolar disorder. Often, these medications are taken with other medications. Atypical antipsychotic medications are called "atypical" to set them apart from earlier medications, which are called "conventional" or "first-generation" antipsychotics.
Olanzapine (Zyprexa), when given with an antidepressant medication, may help relieve symptoms of severe mania or psychosis.28 Olanzapine is also available in an injectable form, which quickly treats agitation associated with a manic or mixed episode. Olanzapine can be used for maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder as well, even when a person does not have psychotic symptoms. However, some studies show that people taking olanzapine may gain weight and have other side effects that can increase their risk for diabetes and heart disease. These side effects are more likely in people taking olanzapine when compared with people prescribed other atypical antipsychotics.
Aripiprazole (Abilify), like olanzapine, is approved for treatment of a manic or mixed episode. Aripiprazole is also used for maintenance treatment after a severe or sudden episode. As with olanzapine, aripiprazole also can be injected for urgent treatment of symptoms of manic or mixed episodes of bipolar disorder.
Quetiapine (Seroquel) relieves the symptoms of severe and sudden manic episodes. In that way, quetiapine is like almost all antipsychotics. In 2006, it became the first atypical antipsychotic to also receive FDA approval for the treatment of bipolar depressive episodes.
Risperidone (Risperdal) and ziprasidone (Geodon) are other atypical antipsychotics that may also be prescribed for controlling manic or mixed episodes.
Antidepressant medications are sometimes used to treat symptoms of depression in bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder who take antidepressants often take a mood stabilizer too. Doctors usually require this because taking only an antidepressant can increase a person's risk of switching to mania or hypomania, or of developing rapid cycling symptoms. To prevent this switch, doctors who prescribe antidepressants for treating bipolar disorder also usually require the person to take a mood-stabilizing medication at the same time.
For many people, adding an antidepressant to a mood stabilizer is no more effective in treating the depression than using only a mood stabilizer.
Fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), and bupropion (Wellbutrin) are examples of antidepressants that may be prescribed to treat symptoms of bipolar depression.
Some medications are better at treating one type of bipolar symptoms than another. For example, lamotrigine (Lamictal) seems to be helpful in controlling depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Before starting a new medication, people with bipolar disorder should talk to their doctor about the possible risks and benefits.
The psychiatrist prescribing the medication or pharmacist can also answer questions about side effects. Over the last decade, treatments have improved, and some medications now have fewer or more tolerable side effects than earlier treatments. However, everyone responds differently to medications. In some cases, side effects may not appear until a person has taken a medication for some time.
If the person with bipolar disorder develops any severe side effects from a medication, he or she should talk to the doctor who prescribed it as soon as possible. The doctor may change the dose or prescribe a different medication. People being treated for bipolar disorder should not stop taking a medication without talking to a doctor first. Suddenly stopping a medication may lead to "rebound," or worsening of bipolar disorder symptoms.
BIPOLAR DISORDER HAS NO CURE, but can be effectively treated over the long-term. It is best controlled when treatment is continuous, rather than on and off. In the STEP-BD study, a little more than half of the people treated for bipolar disorder recovered over one year's time. For this study, recovery meant having two or fewer symptoms of the disorder for at least eight weeks.
However, even with proper treatment, mood changes can occur. In the STEP-BD study, almost half of those who recovered still had lingering symptoms. These people experienced a relapse or recurrence that was usually a return to a depressive state. If a person had a mental illness in addition to bipolar disorder, he or she was more likely to experience a relapse. Scientists are unsure, however, how these other illnesses or lingering symptoms increase the chance of relapse. For some people, combining psychotherapy with medication may help to prevent or delay relapse.
Treatment may be more effective when people work closely with a doctor and talk openly about their concerns and choices. Keeping track of mood changes and symptoms with a daily life chart can help a doctor assess a person's response to treatments. Sometimes the doctor needs to change a treatment plan to make sure symptoms are controlled most effectively. A psychiatrist should guide any changes in type or dose of medication.
I hope I have helped.
I can recall when I was in a Psych hospital ten years ago being asked before discharge if I was in any legalor financial trouble due to my illness(this is when it was diagnosed and I was finally put on meds), and having it explained to me that if I were, since bipolar so commonly causes shopping binges and such, I could get out of it due to my illness, so if I were you, I would talk to my doctor.
Depending on the type of legal trouble you are in, your doctor very well may be able to write you a letter stating your illness and the fact that you are now on medications that you were not on when you got into trouble, if that is the case. You may have to agree to go for some sort of counceling or whatnot, but anything is better then being in jail. If you were already being prescribed medications and simply were not taking them, just tell them that, as that is quite common with bipolar patients.
You would more then likely just have to see your doctor more often so that he can moniter your medications.
Most states have some sort of legal aid for all counties... take a look in your county and see what you can find. My best advice for you is look for some help and when you find it, be honest with them. oh, and one more thing, STOP SELF MEDICATING!!!
Good Luck, our system is usually pretty fair, so I have faith that things will work out for you.
I am 30 yrs old and I have Bipolar II. I have been treated since 2004, but I have been suffering since the mid 1990's. My dad was diagnosed with Bipolar II, so this obviously runs in my family. My dad chose to self-medicate. He ended up drinking in his younger years, and then using pot, and finally when the stress of raising a family and over-working himself became too much, he ended up smoking some pot laced with crack and became addicted to crack. And the was the start of the downward spiral of my family. Things got worse for all of us, but I was only 15 and this triggered some serious depression for me.
By 2004 when my mood swings became too much for my friends and co-workers, they strongly suggested I see a Dr. and get put on something. And since then, over the course of the yearsI have been on about 16 different meds ... prozac, effexor, Zyprexa, paxil, celexa, lexapro, rispridall, cymbalta, zoloft, geodon, adderall, Ritalin, cytomel, Klonopin, lamictal, topamax, and Wellbutrin XL... those are what I can remember. At one time I was on max doses of Wellbutrin XL, Topamax, Lamictal, somewhere around 40 or 80 mg of geodon and 50 mg of cytomel and still ended up having moodswings. Obviously I had very hard-to-treat depression... so my Dr.'s last resort was ECT..Electro Convulsive Therepy. I was nearly suicidal by that point, so I was willing to try anything that would help me. I was to be admitted to the hospital for a while and get these shock treatments and when it was all over, I should be able to go off most or all my meds. Well I didn't care for the treatments to say the least... but everyone handles them differently and everyone gets different results... but now I am only on Wellbutrin XL and Topamax. It started out with just the lowest doses, and now I am back up to the highest doses, and I recently got the Klonopin back just for a "take as needed" anti-anxiety. But for 3 1/2 years I have lowered my pill intake by half and my moods are about 60% more stable. I'm sure my liver thanks me.
Don't self-medicate. It didn't ever make me happy, it clearly didn't make my dad happy... he lost his house, wife, his kids and he's lucky he kept his job. My dadtried to get help and relapsed soooo many times, but this September he will finally be celebrating 5 years of sobriety..from everything.
If I were you, I would definitely see a Dr. and talk to them about your symptoms and get some meds, get registered to see a person to talk to weekly or bi-weekly, even if it's at a hospital where you have to be rated based on your income (that's what I had to do), and when you have to talk to the authorities about whatever you have done, at least they can see you are doing everything in your power to help yourself and that you DO have an illness. There will be Dr.'s records to prove that even if you have to go to court. If you don't do anything and just keep self-medicating... you will only be hurting yourself further. I will pray for you.
Before I was treated for bipolar disorder, I would have so many bouts of ups and downs that sometimes I did not know where I was or what I was doing. I wrote over $3000 in bad checks. It was a struggle but I was able to get it all straightened out. If you do not get on the right medications it will never balance out. I would suggest that you go to your local mental health facility and ask for some help now. At least the courts will look at the fact that you are trying to get help. Do it not just because of legal problems, but for your own sanity. Its like being a drug addict and trying to stop on your own. It's too hard to do. I hope everything works out for you.
I was kind a scared to answer your question, but please tell the lawyer assigned to you what is wrong with you. They will be very leniant with you, take from a person who has been trough 2 arrests, yes everyone me. The first they charged me for 3 traffic violations and a diomestic violent "call"do to the police , I pushed the person that caused me to get into the car accident kinda. The lawyer(well this one I had to pay for) got everything dropped, dropped cause of the mental disorders I have, bilopar, anxiety, depresion maybe borderline personaity disorder too?? Except 1 of the 3 traffic violations stayed on my record, I can't remember which one look it up, lol public records.
But there was just a kind a recent time do to the crummy court system out here, I got out of any jail time and criminal duty to to me missing a court date and got arrested for it(not my fault they couldn't find me and I thought it was over anyway) 3 times back and forth to the courthouse dismissed, everything dismissed do to my illness. and that was from of what they appointed to me, they talked it over with the prosicuter and my atterneys supervisor and Oh my god I was so scared like you, Not for nothing I did nothing wrong either..all do cause they coudn't find me. Then I had already developed the PTSD too. The bipolar is what did it and the anxiety that went with it. I wish you luck and YOU WILL GET OUT OF THIS, YES YOU WILL. Just tell them, explain the lawyer and judge when it your turn, ok.
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