Bipolar & Dementia

I fear dementia. Both of my parents have dementia and live in a memory care community. They love one another and seem happy where they are now, but it took a while to make that happen. They wanted to maintain their independence. Understandable.

I fear dementia. Though I hope by avoiding alcohol and taking my bipolar medications, I can stave it off. (Alcohol is a neurotoxin, and I have a family history of alcoholism.)

Still, I fear a downward spiral. That fear I want to overcome. Face it. Stand up to bipolar disorder and dementia. Take care of my brain.

Even if my bipolar disorder progresses, even if I get dementia, I can still love and be loved, just as my parents still love and are loved.

Bipolar Disorder & Dementia Research

Analyzing six studies, researchers concluded  in “History of Bipolar Disorder and the Risk of Dementia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis“:

History of BD [bipolar disorder] is associated with significantly higher risk of dementia in older adults. Future studies are necessary to evaluate the potential mediators of this association and to evaluate interventions that may reduce the risk of dementia in this population.

Diniz BS, Teixeira AL, Cao F, Gildengers A, Soares JC, Butters MA, Reynolds CF 3rd
The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 2017 Apr;25(4):357-362. DOI:

56 thoughts on “Bipolar & Dementia

  1. Paladin August 5, 2017 / 8:11 am

    Agree with Katie Dale’s comment and Kitt’s responses.

    Looked after a WWII Alzheimer veteran for one day a week for the last 2.5 years and enjoyed spending a day with him. The last year it was necessary he be in an assisted living facility for he lost his ability to walk around and needed a wheelchair. He qualified for nursing care late June and moved to a VA facility near his son and family and turned 93 on 1 July. Believe his illness was sporadic rather than genetic for both his parents lived into their nineties. He switched to Namenda the Spring of 2015 and it helped slow the brain cellular destruction down.

    Enjoyed spending those few days with him for he just seemed happy about the simple things. He still has some cognition from his memory tests and is still able to play solitaire. Glad he will be getting better quality care at his new location. Thanks for posting, Kitt.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley August 6, 2017 / 2:13 pm

      Glad to hear that your friend is doing well and living close to his son. Quality care and love make a huge difference.


  2. bobcabkings August 5, 2017 / 3:21 am

    My Dad had Dementia and I lived with him for his final seven years until he couldn’t be safe at home any longer. The local nursing home at the hospital gave good care for the few months he was there. He was physically in rapid decline as well as cognitively, and died in his sleep at age 98 near the end of 2013. Yes, it is scary, especially having seen it so up close day by day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Looking for the Light Blog August 4, 2017 / 9:17 am

    Thanks Kitt
    I also have a high %, losing part of my memory from Lyme Diease makes it harder to dechifer the early wanrings. When my doctor said I has early stage of dementia, was not prepared for that. Doing a great job Kitt. I’m going to reblog if button is active. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley August 4, 2017 / 5:55 pm

      Thanks! So sorry you are in early stages of dementia. We are learning more about the connections and interactions of different illnesses and medications. I hope for scientific breakthroughs that will improve our health and the health of our next generation.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. kbailey374 August 4, 2017 / 6:34 am

    I have the same fear. I am so forgetful and I wonder if it is caused by the bipolar or the meds.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley August 4, 2017 / 5:53 pm

      We are just learning about the connection, chicken or egg, meds or condition. Katie Dale’s recommendation to not fear the future is excellent.


  5. Katie R. Dale August 4, 2017 / 4:33 am

    I worked in an Assisted Living community with a Memory Care Unit attached to it for 3 years and I understand the effects and results of dementia. While it is a scary thing, and a real struggle, especially for those loved ones of the one with it, I would say, there’s not a good enough reason (in my mind) to fear it. Maybe there’s a connection, a correlation to bipolar, but even so, what does worrying about it do to my life now, only to stress myself out and waste energy over worrying about it. The chances you may have it some day may be greater than average because of your genetics, but even if you do get it, you may end up not noticing or realizing its effects on you. I don’t mean to sound insensitive or harsh, but then again you may never get it. Also, healthcare and technology, science and medicine, they’re all improving in these areas. By then, who knows, there may be a cure, or at least a supplemental treatment that dramatically reduces the symptoms. In any case, it’s better for your health just not to worry. 🙂 Stay brave!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley August 4, 2017 / 5:52 pm

      Thank you for your positive feedback. I agree with you. Honestly, I vent negative emotions and fear here more than positive, at times. You are right that fearing the future is a waste of time and energy. Better to pray, be in the present, and face the future as it comes.


  6. Cassandra Stout August 3, 2017 / 11:30 pm

    That’s so scary, Kitt! I had no idea about the link between bipolar disorder and dementia! Yikes! I, too, fear that, and worry about my own parents. I’m so glad your parents are currently happy, but I’m sorry it took so much effort to get them there!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. hirundine608 August 3, 2017 / 7:48 pm

    For what it is worth? Supposedly, I cup of warm water with I Tbs of Apple Cider Vinegar … raw unfiltered with I tsp of honey. Sipped slowly each morning helps restore the body’s balance. I have been doing so, for the last 9 months and my blood sugars have returned to normal levels. … Hooray! I saw it as a recommended for a guard against dementia, also? Hoping that helps? Look into it, please? For it may be true. It warns against taking high blood pressure meds as well. Yet, so far my blood pressure is returning to more normal levels also. I have also seen the remedy, using lemon juice. It must be the acidic virtue, combined with honey. Again, I use unpasteurized sort. Cheers Jamie

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mark Lanesbury August 3, 2017 / 4:39 pm

    My dad died from Alzheimer’s Kitt, and a crueler death I cannot imagine. I watched my mom lose him twice…once when he no longer recognised her, and the second when he actually passed away.
    None of these conditions are very nice, as you well know. I hope that with more study that this pain of the twentieth can be healed ❤

    Liked by 2 people

      • Mark Lanesbury August 3, 2017 / 7:18 pm

        Thank you Kitt. And I meant to say ‘twentieth century can be healed’ above. My dad passed away many years ago, and for me there was a very strong positive side to it. It made me realise that my hate for my dad was only residing in my heart. A friend told me soon afterwards that I was still trying to dig my father’s grave long after he had gone…and I was the only one still holding on to those feelings.
        The long road to forgiving him and myself then began…finally. It taught me many, many things, as the love beneath it always does 😀
        May your journey show you that love too ❤

        Liked by 2 people

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