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bipolar and sex drive n' other things


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long time no see for anyone who remembers me here x.x

Anyway, the more I learn about Bipolar, the less I feel I know.

So, I've been diagnosed with Bipolar in the past, and I'm wondering if it can affect someone's sexual desire, and to what extent.

As far as I could tell when my bipolar was 'active' I would build up to a 2-4 day long hypomanic phase, then i would crash into a mild deppression that would slowly go back to 'normal', then up to hypomania again within about 2 weeks. I had that for almost a year last time, then it stopped for half a year, and seems to have started again about a month ago.

Also I can only really say I had anything close to a full manic episode maybe only once or twice ever in my life. I don't know, I just don't know. I'm not even sure how much it matters, I just want to know what's going on on a psychological and neurological level so I can better take care of/exploit it.

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When you are manic or hypomanic your sex drive can be increased and vice versa when depressed.

On a neurological level, my pdoc tells me the episodes or cycles cause progressive brain damage. Without treatment, bipolar becomes worse and worse as you get older. I probably have brain damage from years of misdiagnosis. My hypomania moved up to mania. My depressions got far deeper.

The moral of the story is get treatment while your cycles are still mild.

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I'm skeptical of that claim that it cuases brain damage, I've never heard that or read that anywhere and my gut says it's a claim made to get people to give the big bucks to doctors faster.

I'd need to look that up and see if there is any truth to it.

Is there anything you know about the length of cycles and what causes cycles to start?

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You could search journal articles on Pubmed to find out about brain changes and loss of grey matter in BP brains. It has been demonstrated with MRI. Medications are neuro-protective.

Length of cycles can vary from a few hours to several months. Several hours/days is called ultradian cycling, more than 4 cycles per year is called rapid cycling. This is for BP1, I don't know about 2.

Cycles can be triggered by lots of things - external events, stress, change in circadian rhythms, changes in seasons, internal neurological factors- basically at any point of change there is an increased risk. The cycling is sometimes endogenous, but its manifestation is usually triggered by something external, not necessarily a big thing. Not always though. It depends on how sensitive you are to these things and how unstable your BP is. BP varies from person to person, some have a severe case, others milder. But it is generally accepted that it is progressive over time, if untreated. You can read up about the kindling effect (basically, each cycle makes it more likely that you will have another and each time it takes less to trigger another).

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