May 03 2011

What is Bipolar?

Bipolar disorder has been in the news after actress Catherine Zeta-Jones was diagnosed recently. What is it? What are the symptoms? Is there help? Learn more here: If you have a question for Dr. Meier, feel free to ask it here or email

 Click here to listen to our conversation with Dr. Meier.

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5/3/2011 4:45:50 PM
mardi United States
Our 29 year old daughter has gone through two marriages in the last five years.  She was always so dependable and went through college as an over-achiever....married a week after school...handsome guy, abusive.  They had a baby, she seperated while she was in grad school, coaching and teaching.  Remarried a good friend of our son, and then started going out at night and partying, dancing, and ended up committing adultry.  She and her husband are still seperated, but there appears to be some reconsideration.  Oh yeah, she is a child mental health therapist!  She has finally come around and said that she thinks that she has had a breakdown and is now seeking psychiatric help.  It has turned her family upside down.  Any thoughts?
5/3/2011 4:51:10 PM
Marcia West United States
Marcia West
I am so glad to hear from Dr. Meier this afternoon.  I have been struggling with what to do as a mom for a while now.  My son is 6 years old and has struggled with behavioral problems since he was an infant.  I know it seems hard to believe that an infant would have behavioral problems, but I can remember many a night and day struggling just to hold him in my arms because he would stuggle so much just to calm down.  It was not cholic.  It was like an inner struggle that continues today.  He started Kindergarten this year, and because of his impulsive behavior, agression, etc he has had to be singled out of activities many times...often sitting alone.  My heart breaks just writing those words because it is not what I want for my child...he has such a good heart.  He says his brain tells him to do some of the impulsive behaviors and he always is very sad and remorseful.  I know deep down he is a good kid.  We have recently taken him to a Psychologist and he prescribed Rispidol?(sp?).  We have yet to take because I can't get my son to swallow a pill yet and two after reading up on it I am scared of many of the side effects.  They almost seem worse than the behaviors themselves.  Does Dr. Meire have any advice on this drug or what might be the underlying factors for my son?  I desperately want to get help for him, but don't want to make it worse by experimenting with drugs, etc.

Thank you for all you do.  

Broken Hearted and desperate for answers.

5/3/2011 5:24:14 PM
Marisa Gabel United States
Marisa Gabel
It seems like a young age to be on an antipsychotic drug.  I know all people react to drugs differently but I hated risperdol! It made me feel like I could jump out of my skin or have a seizure and it actually made me lactate!  It was terrible for me but there are some good medicines out there.  I will keep you and your son in my prayers.
5/4/2011 3:39:59 AM
Jennifer Elder United States
Jennifer Elder
I can relate to what Marcia is going through.  Although my son, who is now 20 years old, was diagnoised with Pervasive Devlopment Disorder/Autism at the age of 6, he too, also displayed (and to this day still does) impulsive behaviors, even agressive at times.  He was put on several medications,(Ritalin, Concerta, Strattera, etc).  During the summer, our family doctor would take him off the prescibed meds and suggested Mt. Dew.  He said that this would counter-act his behaviors. And it worked!  I'm not suggesting that this approach works for everyone.  I remember how hard (and still is) it was to watch my son be "singled out" for a disability that he did not understand and did not ask for.  It had been a rough road for my son, his father, and our daughters.  But I feel that God has stood by our side through it all and that "He will never leave us or foresake us".

I, myself, suffer from two forms of Deppression:  Dysthymia(Chronic Deppression) and also Major Deppressive Disorder.  And I have also felt this incredible sense of helplessness and hopelessness.  Especially when no one seems to understand or care.  The two things that have kept me going is that I know I am loved no matter what be my Creator and that I have at least done 3 things in which I feel like I've succeeded.  And their names are Chris, Annie, and Kacey.  Hang in there, Marcia.
5/4/2011 5:44:17 PM
Rebecca United States
Scott and Kelli, today is Star Wars Day!!! May the Fourth Be With You
5/5/2011 8:24:29 AM
Jennifer Elder United States
Jennifer Elder
"Help me,Obee-one-kanobee, you're my only pants (hope)!"
5/5/2011 10:49:09 AM
Heidi United States
Marcia ~

I was diagnosed with manic-depression (now known as bipolar) at the age of 17. The bipolar was triggered when I was a young child like your son. I took the medications for 18 years and they eventually disabled me physically without improving my mental health. So far, two of my children also have bipolar. We do not use psychotropic meds.

If you are serious about avoiding the meds for your son I suggest you look into Truehope specializes in nutritional treatment of mental illnesses and their EMPowerPlus powder worked very well for my daughter before she was able to swallow pills.

Therapy is also essential for your son to learn how to live with this illness. Bipolar is intensity, everything is intense from sights to sounds to scents to touch. At times the intensity can be overwhelming and it causes information overload. Cognitive or DBT therapy teach mindfulness which is extremely important for those with bipolar because it helps to teach positive coping mechanisms. Having to relearn how to cope with any kind of stress with this illness is a long uphill battle so it is best to teach these things early on.

Remember God loves you and does not give you more than you can handle. There will be times when you are not sure that you can handle your son and his illness. Remember that God does not make mistakes and that He created your son just as he is. This illness is a blessing in disguise, your son is highly intelligent and creative. This illness will teach him to be compassionate and accepting of those who are different because he is different.

With much love,
5/5/2011 3:24:51 PM
Jim Bures United States
Jim Bures
I have Bipolar Disorder. It sucks. I have such a hard time holding a job or getting a girlfriend.

I've called in for prayer about it before.

14 long years with it. I hate it.
5/6/2011 11:58:54 AM
patrick weber United States
patrick weber
i will be praying for her.
5/6/2011 10:03:33 PM
Jean United States
In te 80's they didn't call it Bipolar, they called it Manic Depression, and that really explains it best.
Someone with it can be high, happy and life is good, then crash.
My first husband had it and he threatened suicide for years.  They didn't really have meds for it back then.
He was having a great day and during the night he crashed, he got up and took almost 200 pills, my blood pressure pills and anything else he could find.
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