bi polar in gay men

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 30, 2007 8:24 PM GMT
    Increased Physical and Mental Activity
    Reckless Behavior / or Risky Actions
    More than 1 sexual partner or Multi parnters
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    Mar 30, 2007 8:28 PM GMT
    This is just a question ...
    a search for answers kinda
    a good friend of mine passed away
    because he did not get the help
    he need and it
    so happens he was gay
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    Mar 31, 2007 1:20 AM GMT
    I had not heard much about a consistency of bi-polar conditions in gay men, but one psychologist told me that many gay men tended to be diagnosed with Boarderling Personalit Disorder.

    I said I thought I knew of a lot of people who had that condition, but then he explained that it didn't mean they were on the border of actually having a personality.
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    Mar 31, 2007 1:28 AM GMT
    I need spell check i meant to write Borderline Personality Disorder
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    Mar 31, 2007 1:54 AM GMT
    Borderline Personality Disorder was all the rage among diagnosticians after Multiple Personality Disorder ran its course. It is a terrible diagnosis to give anyone and I can't imagine that it would be more common among gay people than the rest of the population, but I haven't seen studies.

    A true case of it is often nightmarish for therapists and not all of us can handle it.
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    Mar 31, 2007 3:10 AM GMT
    Hi JJinMD
    To better understand bi-polar disorder, you might want to check out the movie Mr. Jones with Richard Gere. It was widely discussed when I was doing my masters in Psych. It is a pretty accurate description of what bi-polar disorder is like.
    Mind you it doesn't deal specifically with homosexuality, but it might shed some light on your questions.
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    Mar 31, 2007 5:30 AM GMT
    In terms of bipolarity being prevelant among gay men...that is a very interesting thought...bipolarity consists of sharp mood swings excessive sexual activity and many other symptoms. I do have to say that the prevelance of the methamphetamine epidemic in the gay community might mimic these symptoms and symptomology. There is a great deal of similarity. However as a student of psychology i can see also that the excessive stress for a lot of gay men just being in society and having perhaps a messed up upbringing due to ones sexuality could be a set up for biogenic as well as psychogenic causes in terms of bipolar afective disorder.There are many theories as to the causes of this illness...i find that a lot of minorities tend to have marked problems not only gays perhaps due to societal stigmas and prejudice...racism...homophobis etc... i hope this added reply is of some help.
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    Mar 31, 2007 7:30 AM GMT
    I know that a gay man with bipolar disorder is like a curse. They are hard to please and have the highs and lows of cycling too many emotions. Medications can help, but the side effects can be alarming, sending them into a frenzy..then they stop taking them and its like a nine alarm fire. Be thankful if your not diagnosed with this. For the most part I think some of us just have to much drama.
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    Mar 31, 2007 12:46 PM GMT
    It is also true that psychiatry has a long and glorious history of pathologizing minorities. Runaway slaves were saddled with a ridiculous diagnosis for resisting slavery. The parents of schizophrenics were blamed for their children's illness. If a woman was openly sexual, she got a diagnosis and a valium prescription. Rebellious kids were sent away to "adolescent treatment wards" in the last decade. And homosexuality, of course, was regarded as a mental illness until relatively recently. Psychiatry is continually manufacturing illness and stigmatizing the least powerful.

    I would be very suspicious of any claim that bipolar affective disorder is more common among gay people.
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    Mar 31, 2007 3:44 PM GMT
    I think obscenewish has a great point. We treat the diagnoses as if they were real, forgetting we made them up. Once we label someone then we can "help" them or ostracize them. But what if there was no diagnoses? Or such terminology?

    Anyway, I think it says more about the way we think and about our culture than about us as real people to have these systems of diagnoses. The labels, terms, medical ideas and talk all change to be more culturally relevant.
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    Mar 31, 2007 4:06 PM GMT
    psychiatrist here. this is not medical advice.... i am unaware of any evidence that bipolar disorder is more common in gay vs straight populations. and i would bet against it being true. however, i am also unsure that there have been any studies that have looked at that issue, so lack of evidence does not imply that it's not true.

    the main reason it might SEEM that bipolar disorder is more frequent in gays is that many crappy psychiatrists, non-psych MDs, and laypersons confuse bipolar disorder with borderline personality disorder traits. at least half of the people that i see with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder from other MDs are really just borderlines. the reason for the frequent confusion, i think, is that borderlines frequently behave in very hysterical fashions and do things that are outrageous. to an MD or layperson that has not seen true bipolar disorder, a borderline acting up can seem to meet all the criteria for bipolar disorder.

    it is very difficult to describe borderline personality disorder in just a paragraph or so. think super drama queen -- pushing people away but wanting them simultaneously, manipulating, feeling lonely and unwanted, needing to test friends and lovers, seeing others as either wonderful or terrible and switching back and forth easily. very rapid swings in mood -- like in a moment or a day. a popular book about borderline that really describes the disorder well is called "I Hate You, Don't Leave Me."

    in contrast, bipolar disorder features manic episodes, and often depression, but the switch from mania to depression takes many days, not instantly just because you didnt compliment their new outfit. there many be long periods of normal mood between mania and depression. mania often features vastly increased levels of energy, and i dont mean just being spastic, i mean sleeping 3 hours in 5 days. the borderline might do drastic things during a rage, like boil your pet rabbits or key your car, but the bipolar during mania will do things that honestly won't make sense at all. they may become grandiose and decide they can start a business by selling off all their assets in one day, or buy 5 new Mercedes in one day, etc.

    to further confuse things, many medications used for bipolar disorder are also used off label to reduce certain behaviors in borderlines.

    unfortunately, many mental health workers disparage borderlines. as we know from dealing with drama in the gay world, very dramatic people can be difficult to deal with. and there is a sense of frustration because borderline personality disorder is very hard to treat.

    nonetheless, the disorder should be taken seriously. borderlines have a very high rate of self destructive behaviors. these often seem to be attention seeking -- like "overdosing" on 10 advil and then calling 911 -- but frequently result in severe consequences.
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    Mar 31, 2007 5:22 PM GMT
    It is also true, fite, that if you send a patient to three psychiatrists, you typically end up with at least two diagnoses. I've seen this repeatedly and, if I'm not mistaken, studies have confirmed this.

    You can argue that there is a "correct" diagnosis and a lot of psychiatrists with poor diagnostic skills, but I'm not so sure the diagnostic categories themselves are that clear. What do you think?

    I've had one psychiatrist repeatedly diagnose clients as having DID and another who couldn't seem to resist bipolar disorder.

    I find the borderline diagnosis used way too liberally and it is a crushing categorization for people, since treatment outcomes are so dismal. I've worked with a handful of true borderlines and ended up referring them. I think it does take a special personality to effectively work with them.

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    Mar 31, 2007 9:05 PM GMT

    i'm not sure about three psychiatrists and two diagnoses. for the axis I disorders, the criteria are pretty rigorous. in fact, studies of diagnostic reliability have ranked psychiatrists as more reliable than most branches of medicine *as long as they are strictly using the criteria and not going on whims.* if i recall, for the mood disorders, the chance of two psychiatrists giving the same diagnosis is 90%, contrasted with a 40% chance of two cardiologists looking at the same EKG and listening to the same murmur giving the same diagnosis. internists dont do so hot when until you give them really strict criteria, like an exact number that defines high blood pressure, etc.

    so i do think it's mostly crappy diagnostic skills, not getting a full detailed history, (or not having time to due to HMO pressures,) etc. remember, in the great war of biological, evidence-driven psychiatry versus the psychobabble people, the psychobabble people are still in the great majority and haven't been informed that they lost. :) they dont really like the idea of a logical approach.

    on the other hand, borderline personality disorder does live on axis II, not axis I, and thus is a less rigorously defined entity.

    as for the MD giving your people DID diagnoses.... nobody in academia really believes in DID -- if it even exists it's freakishly rare. so if you get a client labeled DID, listen for banjo music in the background and be very suspicious of the quality of care. DID is very popular on TV, and wouldnt it be cool if it were real, but usually its crap so that people can explain away their sociopathic behavior...
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    Mar 31, 2007 11:27 PM GMT
    LOL...This is true, I swear:

    I had a cleaning woman who had a DID diagnosis. I would come home and find that she hadn't cleaned my bathroom. I'd call her and ask her what was up with that. She'd say:

    "Oh, my alter wouldn't let me go in there this week. I tried, but she just wouldn't do it."

    Another time, I came home and found my refrigerator empty. I called and asked what was up.

    "Oh, my alter got hungry and couldn't stop eating and then made me bring everything home. I'm really sorry."

    Of course, "my alter" fired her.
  • ramblerman

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    Jun 01, 2007 3:51 AM GMT
    Sorry for your loss. Getting help is always a priority, however i read in the paper just last month the meds used to treat bi-polar disorder does not work in the majority of cases and can actually cause more thoughts of suicide.