I’ve always joked about not wanting to live too long. What’s wrong with a little short and sweet? After all, summer flings are always the best kind. Or that could just be me. Though, to be honest I haven’t had a summer fling in forever, and even then I have only had one. Jokes tend to be 90% (lovely thing about statistics, you can make them up–99% of statistics are false) truth of the person delivering them, meaning that they believe partly to mostly what they are saying.
So I was watching a YouTube video on Stephen Fry talking about living with Bipolar Disorder. Unlike me, he feels the disorder is a disease and an illness. What caught my attention is when he called it a morbid disease, not morbid as used in poetry or other literary works to mean dark or grotesque, but the medical term meaning a disease that, in fact, causes death.
In my head I was thinking, “You’re shittin’ me. This cannot be true unless you are talking about suicide. I could understand if suicide is higher in those who have the disorder than those who don’t…” but I don’t, now, recall him mentioning suicide so it required some Googling.
What I put: Bipolar Morbidity Rate (I’m obsessed with capitalizing most words)
One of the articles I came across: Mortality Among Bipolar
If you aren’t in the mood to click the most beautiful link ever created, I’ll give you some fun facts from the article.
—”Bipolar disorders appear to increase the risk of early death from a medical illness, according to a new literature review study.”
—”Researchers comprehensively reviewed 17 studies involving more than 331,000 patients. Evidence suggested* that people with bipolar disorder have a higher mortality from natural causes compared to people in the general population of similar age and gender but without mental illness.”
—The various studies indicated that the risk was from 35 percent to 200 percent higher. The risk is the same for men and women. The most common conditions leading to premature death were heart disease, respiratory diseases, stroke, and endocrine problems such as diabetes.
—“The review of data gathered from large population studies suggests that having bipolar disorder is similar to being a smoker in terms of increasing a person’s risk of early death,” said Dr. Wayne Katon, a University of Washington (UW) professor of psychiatry.
—More recently, Katon said, researchers are finding that, while rates of suicides and accidents are indeed greater among those with bipolar disorder compared to the general population, they only partly account for the higher premature death rate.
—Biological abnormalities associated with bipolar illness might also be shortening lives, Katon noted. The illness can stress the immune system and the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, a system that controls many body processes. Bipolar disorders also heighten the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which sets off the fight-or-flight response to stress.
That’s almost the whole article. You’re welcome.
Anyhow I find it funny that when I first became a Pharmacy Tech, well that’s not true, I was a Pharmacy Tech for Walgreens for 8 months then went to college for Film & Video then became a Pharmacy Tech again for CVS. I like working in a Pharmacy, obviously. So when I started with CVS I was putting the drugs away and I had a random thought and blurted out to my Pharmacist and Lead Tech that I didn’t ever want to have Bipolar Disorder or Thyroid Disease because you have to take medication for the rest of your life. A couple of years later I end up with both.
Makes me wonder when talking about not wanting a long life, if I’m kind of setting myself up for a premature death. Or maybe I’ll break the world record of living the longest life. I love life, but not that much.
*Thank God/Ala/Buddha/Goddess/Zeus/Whatchamacallit the evidence suggested. Had the evidence confirmed I’d be in some bit of trouble.
- Preventing Suicide in Bipolar Children (everydayhealth.com)
- Bipolar Disorder and Ambition (drvitelli.typepad.com)
- Borderline personality, bipolar disorders have similar unemployment rates (medicalxpress.com)