Bipolar Disorder Complications

Health Window logoWhen you are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you may feel very happy and highly energetic one day, but anxious and sad the next day. People with bipolar disorder bounce back and forth between manic and depressive symptoms and this can cause problems that affect every part of their lives. These are some of the complications that can occur with bipolar disorder.


Substance abuse - There are times when the symptoms may become too much to handle and substance abuse becomes a way of coping. When bipolar disorder is poorly managed, people struggle to make sense of their situation. Therefore, substance abuse is very common.

Legal and financial problems - When people are in manic states, they tend to make poor decisions. Some of these might be illegal, such as speeding while driving. Individuals can also make bad financial decisions when in a manic phase. This can have detrimental consequences.

Damaged relationships - It can be difficult when people around you don’t understand the condition. This can cause a lot of damage to relationships of individuals (with bipolar disorder) and their loved ones. Sometimes people might not understand that what you are experiencing is a symptom and that it will improve with the correct treatment. 

Poor work and school performance -  When an individual displays symptoms such as mania or even hypomania, it can be viewed as socially inappropriate as well as unprofessional. It can get very difficult when you must take days off for you to recover from the many symptoms that accompany the disorder. This can lead to poor performance and even suspension or dismissal.

Suicide or suicide attempts - When unchecked a person with bipolar can have severe depression - so much so that they can have suicidal thoughts and thereafter attempt suicide. This can be very hard on not only the person with bipolar disorder, but also the entire family and community. 

It is very important to be aware of these complications. When you take your medication as prescribed and have an open relationship with your doctor, these complications can be addressed.

Contact your doctor for assistance and advice to manage your condition.


Written by Dr Ruusa Shivute | Health Window

Reference: Anderson IM, Haddad PM, Scott J. Bipolar disorder. BMJ. 2012 Dec 27;345:e8508

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