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Are Bipolar People Dangerous?

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 1

Mental diseases and disorders have been categorized in all sorts of different places and states of mind. There are some diagnosed with depression, schizophrenia or even bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is also known as manic-depressive disorder. Many people would like to know if bipolar people are dangerous. This is a question  asked by anyone that finds the diagnosis for their friends or family members.

People will immediately associate a mental illness with being dangerous. This is certainly not true. People mistakenly connect mental illness with violence, even when a person has no history of violence. The stigma of violence for bipolar disorder is amazingly strong and mostly inaccurate.

When it comes to violence and bipolar disorders there are only between 11 and 16 percent of people with the disorder that has a violent episode. Most of the violent episodes that bipolar disorders have are tied to alcohol and drug abuse. Occasionally there is an episode with a violent mood swing that will bring about an episode of violence. Though, these are rare. However, the question is which came first, the mental illness or the violence. There are some people who are violent and then they develop a mental illness.

Knowing which bipolar symptoms to watch out for can help you to escape violent situations. These are things that can increase the risk of a violent situation occurring with a person with an illness of bipolar disorder.

High emotional stress

High emotional stress is a factor that can increase a bipolar person’s chance of having mood swings. Things such as losing a loved one, ending a relationship or being in involved in an emotional or physically abusive relationship can greatly increase chances of mood swings being triggered. Bipolar people are not dangerous, but they can have an emotional mood swing occur when they are subjected to high emotional stress for extended periods of time.

Substance abuse

Abusing drugs or alcohol is never a good thing. For those people who live with bipolar disorder it’s even worse. Bipolar patients dealing with this disorder will attempt to self-medicate with drug and alcohol which makes it particularly likely that substance abuse can occur. Bipolar people are not dangerous in most situations. Though, drugs and alcohol abuse will make them more likely to put themselves in dangerous situations.

Bipolar patients are more likely to harm themselves than harm others. Innocent bystanders are worrying about violence directed to them needlessly. Bipolar people are more dangerous to themselves than other people.

The risks that occur with a bipolar person being dangerous only to them include the following;

Suicide or suicide attempt

The rate of suicide is substantially higher for people suffering from bipolar disorder than their peers. The rate increases to almost nine times more likely than those that don’t have bipolar disorder.

Substance abuse

Bipolar disorder sufferers are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. Self-medication is generally the reason for the abuse. The rates of abuse among bipolar patients are 46% dependent on alcohol while 41% dependent upon other drugs.

Cutting

There are bipolar patients that will harm themselves through self-mutilation. The most often used method of self-mutilation is cutting.

Other damage done

Bipolar patients will damage other areas of their lives outside of self-harm. During manic or depressive episodes they will damage their finances, relationships, and other elements of their lives. Manic episodes will result in the patient acting on impulse and take unnecessary risks or high risk behaviors.

If you happen to have a friend, family member or loved one that suffers from bipolar disorder understand these are generally not violent people. Vigilence is needed for signs of depression or manic episodes. During the depression or mixed episodes where they show both depression and mania be careful. These mixed episodes are when suicidal thoughts and ideation occur.

The signs of depressive episodes that are generally displayed include being withdrawn or sad, crying and sleeping more than usual. Manic episodes are typically sleeping less, talkative, more active, impulsive and outgoing.

If a bipolar person shows any violence it would be during their manic episodes. During mania there is increased irritability as well as poor ability to control impulses.

If you have a concern about bipolar patient’s actions, have a serious discussion with them about your concerns and their behavior. If the actions continue, discuss the situation with their doctors or therapists. If you need to contact the police because of the situation, do so. This is especially true if you fear this person may harm themselves.

Medications and therapy will help with controlling the risk of violence and decreasing the likelihood of mood swings. Bipolar people are not dangerous for the most part and hopefully article helps you understand the disorder more.


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Comments

Aug 20, 2015 2:10am
kimhallster
I am bipolar and for many years I used lots of excuses for my mood....job stress, single parent, etc. After I was diagnosed and on medication that worked, I am a "normal" person.
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