While I have not watched last nights episode of Empire (3.4.15), I have heard the buzz about the depiction of one character’s bipolar episode.  Please note that I’ll comment more after I watch the episode.

However, in the mean time, let me say this:

Being diagnosed with having bipolar disorder is very serious.  It is not like situational depression.  You can not think your way out of it or do things to prevent it.  It is an organic mood disorder that results from altered chemicals in the brain.  It is very important to find the right medications for treatment and take medications as prescribed.  Unfortunately, not taking medications appropriately results in intense and sometimes severe cycling.  Oftentimes, getting stabilized after these incidents is more difficult and can result in collateral damage.

Even when properly medicated, individuals may cycle because their brain chemicals change due to environmental stressors, foods, hormones, illnesses, etc.  The primary treatment for bipolar disorder is medication, but auxiliary treatment is therapy.  Learning how cognitions, feelings, and behaviors are all related is important in detecting triggers, recognizing changes, and developing plans and coping skills to manage the cycling.

Another key to living well with the diagnosis of bipolar disorder is letting your support system know what your struggles are and allowing them to help.  Sometimes, in the throws of cycling, it is hard “to see” what’s happening and becoming manic i exhilarating before it becomes frightening and dangerous.  Allowing family and/or friends to be open and honest and discuss the signs sometimes helps.  While it may not prevent the fall, it may lessen the impact.

National Institute of Mental Health has great information on “Bipolar Disorder in Adults”.  And ,it is also applicable to adolescents as well.