Living with bipolar disorder is difficult at best, whether you have the disorder or are supporting someone who does.  Although researchers are working on it, there is still no cure for bipolar disorder at this time.  Still I pose the question – is recovery possible?


When we're discussing cancer, the term "in remission" is used rather than the term "cured."  In other words, since there is no cure for cancer as of yet, when a person goes into remission it means the alleviation of the signs and symptoms of their cancer.


With bipolar disorder, we don't use the term "in remission," but the terms "unstable" and "stable" are heard quite frequently in medical circles instead.  When signs and symptoms of the disorder area present, the person is referred to as "unstable" (i.e., in a bipolar episode), and when they are absent, the person is referred to as "stable."  However, what you don't hear a doctor say is that you or your loved one are "recovered" from bipolar disorder.  I believe this is because the term "recovery" is associated with the term "cure" and, again, there is no cure for bipolar disorder.


After all this discussion of terms, I think it just comes down to semantics.  Let's get away from the term "recovery" and use the term "stability" instead.  I definitely believe that as far as bipolar disorder goes, stability is not only a possibility, but a probability (as long as certain variables are in place).


For example, there can be no stability without medication.  However, as long as you or your loved one take your medication as directed, you can achieve stability with your bipolar disorder.


Therapy would be next as far as degree of importance when it comes to stability variables.  Medication is half the treatment for bipolar disorder, while therapy would be the other half.  People who take their medication and also see a psychiatrist and therapist achieve the greatest stability with their disorder.


Another variable in the stability equation would be sticking to a good sleep schedule (8-9 hours per night).  Exercise and a healthy diet are two more variables as well.  The more variables you add, the greater your chances of stability with bipolar disorder.


Other variables for stability might include any/all of the following:  strong support system; mood chart; journal; hobbies; productivity; volunteer work; part-time job or home business; spirituality; social life; family ties; leisure time; relaxation; and enjoyment.


Although there may not be recovery from bipolar disorder per se, stability is a definite possibility – if not probability – for those who are willing to do the work necessary to attain that stability; for those who will add the above variables into their lives.