Does Bipolar Get Worse Without Treatment?

Bipolar disorder is a complex mental health condition that is characterized by cycling episodes of intense mood swings, going from highs, called mania or hypomania, to lows or depressive episodes. Does bipolar get worse without treatment, though? We’re going to take a look at that very question right here, where we’ll explore the consequences of letting bipolar disorder go untreated, and what you can do to manage it more effectively. 

The Progression of Bipolar Disorder: Can it Get Worse Without Treatment?

If you’re wondering “Does bipolar get worse without treatment?”The short answer is yes. Leaving bipolar disorder untreated can result in a wide range of negative outcomes, not only for the individual struggling with the disorder, but for their relationships and overall quality of life as well. Untreated bipolar disorder can have a significantly negative effect on the daily life of someone living with it.

Ways That Bipolar Disorder Gets Worse Without Treatment

1. Increased Episode Severity and Frequency

Without treatment, the severity and frequency of mood episodes or “cycles” can increase over time. This is known as the kindling effect, and as the episodes get more severe they become harder to manage as well. 

2. Cognitive Decline

Bipolar disorder can also have a significant negative impact on cognition and general mental function. Studies have shown that untreated bipolar disorder causes cognitive decline, impacting memory, attention, and even problem-solving skills. 

3. Strained Relationships

The emotional instability of the untreated condition can cause incredible strain on relationships with family, friends, and even romantic partners and spouses. As the symptoms get worse, it will become more and more difficult for loved ones to provide needed support levels. 

4. Increased Risk of Substance Abuse

Individuals with untreated bipolar are more likely to engage in drug or alcohol abuse as a way of self-medicating or coping.

5. Increased Risk of Suicide

As with many mental illnesses, leaving bipolar untreated can lead to a significant rise in suicide risk. 

Managing Bipolar Disorder: The Importance of Early Intervention and Treatment

1. Professional Diagnosis

Getting a professional diagnosis is one of the most important factors in getting effective treatment. It’s the first step to mental wellness, and it’s often the hardest to take.

2. Medication

Medication is one of the cornerstones of successful bipolar treatment for many people. This can include prescription mood stabilizers, antidepressants, or even anti-psychotics to manage the symptoms of the condition.

3. Therapy

Psychotherapy like cognitive behavioral therapy or family-focused therapy can help many people to develop healthy coping skills for their bipolar disorder. It can also help them identify triggers, and learn more effective communication tools to help support their treatment. 

4. Lifestyle Changes

For many individuals, adopting healthy lifestyle habits like regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep can help raise the odds of successful treatment.

5. Ongoing Monitoring and Support

Another big part of overall success is regular check-ins with a mental health professional. They can help monitor symptoms and adjust treatment plans if needed. 

Partner With Casa Recovery to Treat Your Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar is very complex, and treating it can be equally complex, but it doesn’t have to be a life sentence. Early intervention and comprehensive treatment can help individuals manage their symptoms and have a better chance at a happy, fulfilling life. If you’re wondering if bipolar gets worse without treatment, the answer is yes, and that’s why getting help as soon as possible is so critical. If you or someone you care about may be struggling with bipolar disorder, reach out today to Casa Recovery to speak with a professional about your treatment needs.

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