What To Know When You Are First Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder

If you have recently received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, you might be somewhat in shock. Getting a diagnosis like bipolar can sometimes be difficult to process and believe, which can make it tough for you to process anything your mental health caregivers have to say after they tell you your diagnosis. However, there are some important facts that you need to know when you are first diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Learn some of these facts so you can move forward with your mental health care and treatment feeling better prepared and informed. 

Disbelief Is a Normal Reaction

When you first received your bipolar diagnosis, your initial reaction may have been disbelief. You might even still think that you were misdiagnosed or that the doctors are wrong about what you are going through. Just keep in mind that disbelief is a normal initial reaction.

It is natural for a person to become defensive when they feel someone is saying something negative about them. The word "bipolar" has come to take on very negative connotations in general society, and there is a great deal of stigma attached to the disorder itself. Denial of being a part of that group of people is a typical defense mechanism. 

Just keep in mind that mental health professionals are well-trained at recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental health disorders. They have a reference guide known as the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) that lists out very specific criteria for the diagnosis of any disorder. If they say you have bipolar, and they have little to no doubt about it, they are most likely correct in their assessment. 

You Will Almost Certainly Need Medication

Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder that has an extreme effect on a person's life. The highs of mania can lead to reckless and dangerous behavior, as well as financial, work, and relationship problems. The lows of depression can cause a person to isolate, give up on what is important to them, and otherwise suffer problems from the inability to get out of bed or leave the house. 

Because bipolar disorder has such an influence on daily life and the mood episodes can be so severe, you will almost certainly need medication to manage it. It is very rare for a person to be able to manage their bipolar disorder without the assistance of daily mental health medications. These medications are designed to stabilize moods and make swings much less severe. 

Oftentimes, people with bipolar disorder will be on more than one medication to manage their condition. Antidepressants in combination with mood stabilizers and anti-psychotic medications can work together to help with depressive episodes, prevent extreme mania, and keep a person's emotions more level.

Know that, because you will probably be on medications, you will need to go in for regular psychiatric medication evaluations with your psychiatrist or primary care doctor. These appointments will help determine the effectiveness of your medications so you can adjust them as needed. 

With these facts in mind, you can better deal with your bipolar diagnosis and begin your treatment process.