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Understanding Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder

It’s a year this month since I was admitted into hospital after having a breakdown. During my time in hospital, I was diagnosed with an unstable personality disorder. It’s taken me a while to accept my diagnosis but I am finally getting there, or so I thought. As part of my BPD I suffer from depression and was put on Sertraline, an antidepressant. For the first couple of months it was helping and seemed to level me out, however, after a few months I started to notice I was experiencing manic episodes, which as a rule does not occur with BPD.

I ended up going back into hospital a couple of weeks ago and this time I was diagnosed with Bipolar 3 or the technical term – Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder. I was just as confused as you probably are reading this as I had never heard of it before and was confused as to whether that meant I had BPD or not. Apparently I might have had it for a long time but the rapid cycling only shows when you are on antidepressants for an extended period of time.

It’s common with people who already have a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, but there is not a lot of evidence to prove that type 3 Bipolar is really a thing and that it isn’t just an exaggerated mood disorder. The doctors told me it’s very possible that I will have moods or bouts of depression for weeks or months but can also, during that time, experience high moods were I feel fantastic.

It’s really hard to diagnose this disorder as it conflicts with a lot of other illnesses and disorders. The first people to recognise that there is something wrong are normally family and friends, as you’re so used to your changing moods it’s hard to recognise that something is wrong or different. The treatment for Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder is not very clear except maybe using CBT therapy as a way of coping and using the obvious mood stabilisers.

So as it stands, I currently have both disorders and am in therapy as well as being on a mood stabilisers. Hopefully things should be looking up soon.


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