Bipolar Disease According to Wikipedia:
In bipolar disorder people experience abnormally elevated (manic or hypomanic) mood states which interfere with the functions of ordinary life. Many people with bipolar disorder also experience periods of depressed mood, but this is not universal. There is no simple physiological test to confirm the disorder. Diagnosing bipolar disorder is often difficult, even for mental health professionals. In particular, it can be difficult to distinguish depression caused by bipolar disorder from pure unipolar depression.
The younger the age of onset, the more likely the first few episodes are to be depressive. Because a bipolar diagnosis requires a manic or hypomanic episode, many patients are initially diagnosed and treated as having major depression.
Mania is the defining feature of bipolar disorder. Mania is a distinct period of elevated or irritable mood, which can take the form of euphoria, and lasts for at least a week (less if hospitalization is required). People with mania commonly experience an increase in energy and a decreased need for sleep, with many often getting as little as three or four hours of sleep per night. Some can go days without sleeping. A manic person may exhibit pressured speech, with thoughts experienced as racing. Attention span is low, and a person in a manic state may be easily distracted. Judgment may be impaired, and sufferers may go on spending sprees or engage in risky behavior that is not normal for them. They may indulge in substance abuse, particularly alcohol or other depressants, cocaine or other stimulants, or sleeping pills. Their behavior may become aggressive, intolerant, or intrusive. They may feel out of control or unstoppable, or as if they have been “chosen” and are “on a special mission”, or have other grandiose or delusional ideas. Sexual drive may increase. At more extreme levels, a person in a manic state can experience psychosis, or a break with reality, where thinking is affected along with mood. Some people in a manic state experience severe anxiety and are irritable (to the point of rage), while others are euphoric and grandiose. The severity of manic symptoms can be measured by rating scales such as the Altman Self-Rating Mania Scale and clinician-based Young Mania Rating Scale.
The onset of a manic episode is often foreshadowed by sleep disturbances. Mood changes, psychomotor and appetite changes, and an increase in anxiety can also occur up to three weeks before a manic episode develops.
Here’s the funny thing about bipolar (as stated above), “There is no simple physiological test to confirm the disorder.”
This is where Doctor Cochran played such a big role in my therapy. Only a doctor like Dr. Robert T. Cochran Jr., who has enough experience/history working/treating patients who suffer from bipolar, can determine whether or not someone even has it. Think about that. Do you trust your family physician to determine this for you? Someone who deals with common colds and knee sprains is NOT going to have the experience or history of patients to even make the assessment of whether or not a patient has or does not have bi-polar disorder.
Here’s the interesting thing: When I asked Dr. Cochran “What are we treating? Is it bipolar causing pain, or pain possibly causing bipolar?, his response was ingenious – “Do you feel better with this treatment? Does it matter? Whether you do or do not have bipolar disorder is almost irrelevant. You have pain and your moods and pain are being stabilized as a result of our therapy. If your’e receiving the benefits of the treatment and your suffering has subsided, it truly does not matter if you have it or not.”
Can you see from a patients perspective how good that made me feel? It deflated the angst and negative emotions that came with the thought of having bipolar. It was almost as if Dr. Cochran said, “Your’e cured, who cares whether you have it or not!” And, he was right. My mood swings and depression had almost completely gone away. My pain was so minimal, I forgot about it many days.
Pain – Let me tell you about pain. I’m 46 years young, fit, I’m 5’10″ tall and weigh 165 lbs. I am the picture of health. I was even recently asked to have photos taken of me for a men’s magazine where they wanted a “mature” male adult who looked in-shape for a medical ad. I almost laughed inside when I was asked to do this. Why? Because - There were days when I woke up (prior to being treated by Dr. Cochran) that I could hardly stand-up when getting out of bed. It felt like everything in my back had “locked-up” from sleeping in the wrong position (which I hadn’t) and was forcing me to “walk it off” and stretch for 10-15 minutes before leaving the bedroom. I still don’t know for sure, but I always felt coffee helped my back (?). After taking 1-2 hydrocodone pills, the pain would be barely manageable, but only for an hour. So, I’d be working in my office, in pain, unable to think, couldn’t focus, couldn’t write, couldn’t program, couldn’t function. I got so mad at times, I wanted to through my office chair through the window. I was tired of being in pain, and I was tired of being misunderstood by my doctor. Pissed OFF, in fact.
The FEAR of Addition (according to my ex-family physician)
Every time I met with my family physician I left there feeling like I had a drug problem, when all I really wanted was relief. I felt so bad about myself on so many occasions, I actually considered treatment while taking only 3-4 hydrocodone pills per day. Prior to seeing Dr. Cochran, I was visiting my family physician every six months and receiving four 10mg hydrocodone tablets per day. Let me tell you, I could have taken ten of these per day and not found relief. As a result, I was running out early most every month, often taking five to six tablets a day. Then, of course, suffering from withdrawals and ridicule from my family physician each time I called for an early refill, or increased dosage. I would leave his office feeling so bad about myself. Like an addict. My doctor did not have a clue as to the pain I was dealing with. All he cared about was not giving me “too much pain medicine” for fear of ridicule from the state medical board. I “get it”. I understand the need to stay within boundaries, but this doctor was not helping me in any way. He was serving himself and “keeping it safe”. THIS is the norm for people deling with chronic pain – YOU ARE TOTALLY MISUNDERSTOOD, AND MADE TO FEEL HORRIBLE ABOUT YOUR PAIN. THIS HAS TO BE THE WORST POSSIBLE CRIME IN THE WORLD, FEELING BAD ABOUT WANTING RELIEF AND BEING DEALT WITH AS IF YOU HAVE A DRUG PROBLEM.
Stay tuned for Part 4 of “Dr. Cochran Changed My Life”