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Resources on Diagnosis in Older Adults

Iwas diagnosed as bi-polar II about a year ago at age of 57.  I have not been able to find any material  on this illness manifesting itself at this late age. As far as I know there has been no mental illness in my parents families.  I have read the usual onset is in childhood, adolescense, or early adulthood.  I asked psychiatrist about it and he responded "we will probably never know" and could not recommend resources.  I consider this an unsatisfactory answer.
Also I read in post above that depakote should be dosed mimimally twice a day because of half life.  I am only taking it in evening because of the fatigue factor.  Am I losing some of its effectiveness by this?  Thank you for providing this forum.
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Dear Mary

Thank you for your question.
The usual age of onset for bipolar disorder ranges from 6 to 50 years old. It is rare, but not impossible for onset after age 50. Perhaps you had mild symptoms that were not identified earlier. The average time from symptoms onset to diagnosis is years with bipolar disorder.There are three major types of bipolar related
disorders. Bipolar I, is required to have at least one episode of mania (grandiosity, decreased need for sleep, flight of ideas,
involvement in activities with a high potential for painful consequences)and possibly but not necessarily episodes of major depression (lack of interest, low selfesteem, hopelessness, and in severe cases suicidal thoughts). Some people have only maic epsiodes, some predominantly depression, and some have a combination of mania and depression.
In  Bipolar II, iInstead of mania, patients suffer from at least one hypomania (similar to mania butless extreme), in addtion to depressive epsiodes.. The third form of mood disorder is cyclothymia.  In this disorder, the sufferer may have several
periods of hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms, which are less severe and fulminat that in Bipolar II.
Genetics play a major role in the etiology of Bipolar.
Research, specifically family studies, have repeatedly shown that first degree relatives (i.e: parents and siblings) with bipolar disorder are eight to eighteen times more likely to have the disorder when compared to those without a family history. It also has been shown that first degree relatives with bipolar
disorder are morelikely to have other mood disorders such as major depression. About50% of all bipolar patients have one parent with a mood problem. If one parent has bipolar
disorder, there is a 25% chance that a child will have a mood problem. If both parents have bipolar disorder then there is a 50-75% chance that a child will have a
mood problem (disorder).

This shows that there is a strong genetic component to bipolar disorder but other unidentified factors are also contributory, such as psychosocial stressors.

Depakote is an anticonvulsant that has been found to be very effective in the treatment of bipolar disorder. Dosage is started low than gradually increased until a therapeutic level (50-150 ug/ml) is reached. It is usuallyprescibed in
divided doses (twice a day), if a patient complains of sedation with the morning dose it maybe decreased or the entire dose is given at night.

I hope my response addressed your concerns. Best wishes.



*Keywords: Bipolar Disorder, Depakote

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