How does bipolar disorder affect my quality of life?

Ellen Frudakis
Health Education
When I was first diagnosed, my symptoms severely affected my quality of life. In fact, I felt like I had no life at all. I lost my friends, my job, my school, my sense of self, and worst of all, my dreams for the future. I was isolated, lonely, and hopeless. But this started to change as soon as I was able to learn more about bipolar disorder. The more knowledge I gained, and the more awareness I had of the unique ways it manifested within me, things in my life improved. By becoming more aware, I was able to start adding things back into my life like friends, work, dating, and school. It took time to come back from, and there are still occasionally times where I have to take a step back from other aspects of my life to manage my symptoms. But my bipolar disorder no longer runs my life. I do.
Well treated, it should not prevent you from having an enjoyable and successful life. However, it can take time to get the depression fully controlled and to gain control over any manias which can negatively impact your relationships and work.
Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
If you are diagnosed early and receive the right treatment, you can have a long and healthy life despite having bipolar disease. Episodes of mania and depression may recur, but they can be reduced and minimized by following the treatment regimen your doctor prescribes. If bipolar disorder is not well controlled, you may suffer problems in personal relationships, struggle at work or in school, or you may abuse drugs and alcohol.
Bipolar disorder can have serious effects on a person's quality of life. The condition may make work and school difficult, cause people to abuse alcohol or drugs, and make it harder for people to take care of their health. The medications used to treat bipolar also can cause troublesome side effects, such as restlessness, weight gain, drowsiness or dizziness, and joint pain, and lead to other health problems like thyroid disease, heart disease and diabetes. Good treatment under a doctor's care can relieve bipolar symptoms and minimize side effects. Though mood changes often do still occur with treatment, they are less disruptive. Additionally, lifestyle changes such as managing stress, getting enough sleep, exercising and eating a healthy diet can make the quality of life for people living with bipolar disorder as comfortable as possible.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.