Bipolar Symptoms Stronger When Anxiety Disorder is Present

According to a research study led by Regina Sala, M.D. at the New York State Psychiatric Institute of Columbia University, people with bipolar disorder who also experience an anxiety disorder tend to have more severe bipolar episodes, and more episodes in general.

Not only are people with both disorders twice as likely to be admitted to the emergency room than those with bipolar alone, but they are also more likely to have substance abuse problems and problems at work.

This information hit home for me a little bit, anxiety has been the cornerstone of my life -pretty much as far back as I can remember. The bipolar symptoms didn’t come on strong until my teen years, and by then the intense anxiety was already pretty well established.

Last year I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD for short) and was finally able to identify and feel justified that the anxiety I have been living with is both real and not, well, we’ll say typical.

I’ve also been more savvy to the idea that anxiety is playing a bigger role with my difficulty in working than I would have given it credit for three or four years ago. Somehow it manages to grab all of the bipolar mess by the arm, they each double in size, and then crush all the villagers in the area.

In any case, now that the word is out about this connection doctors are hoping to do a better job detecting issues of anxiety early on in the bipolar diagnosis with a hope to treat it earlier rather than later. Treatment of anxiety early on could potentially make a huge difference.

You can read the original article here… 


5 responses to “Bipolar Symptoms Stronger When Anxiety Disorder is Present

  1. I agree 100% with your post! My pnurse told me one time that bipolar and anxiety seem to go hand in hand, you just can’t have one without the other. Ever since baby was born I have been on an anti-anxiety med and although it calms me, I found I still needed to learn some skills to fight back. Relaxation and breathing techniques really do work. I used to laugh whenever they were suggested to me, but once I started using them, the less anxious I found myself to be.

  2. Very, very interesting, Sarah. I think I need to take this article to my next counseling appointment. I mentioned my anxiety (which has gotten markedly worse over the last year, but also has been present…always) to my shrink, but she said there is no real treatment for anxiety, only things that will help a little bit. I am wondering about her statement after reading this post. Have you encountered a range of anxiety tx or no?

    • Sarah @ bi[polar] curious

      What I have found is that most of the medication treatments for anxiety involve benzodiazepines (which are highly addictive and are only supposed to be used for a short period of time -used to relieve moments of anxiety that happen) or antidepressants (which I can’t take because they make me hecka manic). I wont take benzos, they really help some folks (and are good to have in an anxiety sort of emergency) but I have been told by many that they are as hard as heck to stop taking once you start. Also, as a side note, some states have passed laws for the use of Medical Marijuana which can be used for anxiety, though is a bit controversial, to say the least.

      With that in mind, the biggest help I’ve found is through therapy. Various sorts of meditation and breathing exercises, though they sound a little hokey, can really help me get out of my head and calm my body (which is really all I need help doing for anxiety). It isn’t foolproof and it has to be practiced a lot, but it is better than nothing.

  3. this profile fits me to a T. thanks for sharing it.

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