What happens if I don’t treat bipolar disorder?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Bipolar disorder is not a condition you want to leave untreated. Without treatment to manage your symptoms and control your mood swings, you can lose your job, damage relationships, and reduce the quality of your life. Your risky behavior can potentially leave you broke, and cause you to take physical risks that may hurt you or other people. Suicidal thoughts may also lead you to harm yourself.
Mark Moronell, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Delaying treatment for symptoms of bipolar disorder can have serious consequences. When bipolar disorder symptoms are untreated, you risk suffering more severe episodes of major depression and hypomania or mania. In addition, there are high death rates from heart disease, stroke and cancer that are associated with untreated bipolar symptoms. People who have untreated bipolar symptoms face compromising their relationships, careers, and financial status. In addition, people who delay treating bipolar symptoms suffer with behaviors such as drinking, drug abuse, and risky behaviors, and the risk of suicidal ideation or suicide is higher. Bipolar disorder does not go away on its own. The symptoms can be effectively treated, but treatment must continue for a lifetime as with any chronic health condition such as diabetes or hypertension. Even though bipolar disorder is a mood disorder, there can be many changes in judgment, thinking, decisions, and behaviors that can worsen the illness and your health.

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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.