We Must Aim for Zero Bipolar Symptoms During Treatment
Raise the Bar on Bipolar Treatment – Hold Your Doctor to Task
Let me be honest. Even when my treatment is at its best, I never get to the place of zero bipolar symptoms. I’m well, I can handle the remaining symptoms with coping skills, I can be happy but there are always lingering symptoms of bipolar disorder.
And this may be an indicator of being difficult to treat because what we know is that the more you can successfully treat all the symptoms of bipolar disorder, the more likely you are to have fewer relapses. In other words, if you continue to experience bipolar symptoms during treatment, you’re more likely to experience future episodes and we really want to avoid that as each future episode tends to make your bipolar harder to treat.
For this reason, it’s critical to aim for zero bipolar symptoms during treatment, whenever possible.
Can You Achieve Zero Bipolar Symptoms?
It depends on who you ask, but yes, I believe it is possible for many people to achieve zero bipolar symptoms during treatment. Like I said, I’ve never been one of these people, but I believe that many people can.
The Problem with Achieving Zero Bipolar Symptoms During Treatment
The thing is, no one will ever get to the place where they are free of bipolar symptoms during treatment if they don’t try to get there. In other words, if we (or our doctors) simply accept partial sickness all the time, then we’ll never get to the place of zero symptoms during bipolar treatment.
The President of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) says it well,
If a person doesn’t achieve zero symptoms, they haven’t failed, but if they are never given the opportunity to achieve that goal, the system has failed them.
So it’s critical to hold you psychiatrist to task. You can’t accept partial sickness and you shouldn’t allow him/her to either. In the military they say, “accepting the suck.” You can’t afford to accept the suck because being sick just leads to being more being sick.
Target Zero to Thrive This April
The DBSA has initiated the Target Zero to Thrive This April campaign. This campaign raises the expectations of bipolar treatment and what we require from our healthcare professionals. This campaign encourages everyone to accept only the best treatment possible. Don’t settle of “okay,” or “good enough,” or “functional.” In other words, treatment is only a true success when you achieve zero bipolar symptoms. Treatment is only a true success when you get the self you had pre-bipolar back.
Now I will grant you that I am unlikely to ever meet this goalpost but that doesn’t mean that I don’t think it’s a worthy goal to have. So what I encourage you to do is to hold your doctor accountable for your best possible health and support the Target Zero to Thrive This April campaign by sharing it on your social media channels. Everyone needs to know that we can do more than just survive – we can live fully. We can thrive.