For many mental illnesses relapse is part and parcel. Bipolar disorder is one of these. What’s especially unnerving for people is that relapse can seem random, as though you go to bed feeling one way and wake up another, feeling hints of mania or depression.
Why relapse occurs is largely unknown. But we do know certain facts based on research findings, according to Joseph R. Calabrese, M.D., director of the Mood Disorders Program at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, in this excellent article in bp Magazine on relapse:
“Those who are diagnosed with bipolar II are more likely to relapse than those with bipolar I. Their episodes of depression, mania or hypomania are often shorter than the episodes experienced by those with bipolar I but tend to return more often, according to Calabrese. It’s also far more common to relapse into depression than into mania or hypomania. Calabrese estimates that in bipolar II, there is a 40-to-1 ratio of depression to mania; the ratio of depression to mania drops to 3-to-1 in bipolar I.”
Even though relapse may be the rule, you do have some control in shrinking its severity and impact.
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