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How do I manage bipolar disorder and type 1 diabetes at the same time?

If you have both bipolar disorder and diabetes you need to develop care plans for each illness and then keep in mind how one illness can affect the other. The unique considerations focus on weight gain, diet, and exercise. During depressions, people tend to be less active and less energetic. As a consequence they exercise less and sometimes gain weight. Weight is a very bad thing for diabetes because it makes the illness worse. Along these lines, another important consideration is to try and avoid medications for both illnesses that cause weight gain. Many, but not all, of the psychiatric medications can cause weight gain. Keep track of your diet and exercise. Tracking your mood and tracking blood sugars is an important part of the management of each of these illnesses.
Ms. Julie A. Fast
Mental Health
Type I Diabetes and bipolar disorder are complicated and demanding illnesses.  It makes sense that managing both of them at once would be a challenge, but it is possible. Bipolar disorder is a genetic illness that affects a person’s ability to regulate their moods. Type I diabetes is an auto immune illness where the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.
My friend Deborah DeMoss Smith who writes novels on bipolar and the teenage years (her latest is Light Fixtures) has type I diabetes and bipolar disorder. I’ve watched her successfully manage both illnesses. I asked her how she does it.  
1. I understand how the illnesses interact.  For example, when you're manic you don’t pay attention to your blood sugar. Mania takes away the adherence to routine.  Diabetes demands that you be regimented or you may die, so managing the mania is essential.  
When you’re depressed, you don’t give a darn what your blood sugar is doing. Also, when you have really low blood sugar you can’t move or think.  It’s like depression, but it’s actually the diabetes. 
The best solution is creating a balanced life and managing both illnesses. Otherwise one can upset the other.
2. Medications:  I take insulin and lithium daily. I remember when I learned I'd have to take lithium every day. I thought, what? I already take insulin four times a day! People say- maybe you will get better and not need insulin or lithium. No! These are life time illnesses and the medications and insulin keep me alive. I have accepted this.
3. Management:  I have a very structured life and I’m vigilant. I do the same routine daily. I think that diet is very important which is why mine is a natural diet: organic and no preservatives.  I know this helps the diabetes and I think it helps the bipolar because my body is more clean.
I asked Deborah for a final thought.  “I believe that it’s important to have a passion in order to stay well. When you have two serious illnesses, there has to be pleasure in life. Go New Orleans Saints!”
(Well, that didn't work out this year!)
**
Deborah has taught me a lot. I feel overwhelmed about my bipolar daily.  She manages it and the diabetes. What an inspiration.

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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.