I am also 41. Yet I have been diagnosed since 2004 and likely had it prior. My dad is bipolar and his sister is likely bipolar as well. My brother-no. Me-yup.
Lithium medication is the oldest, rounding out like 50 years of use I think. It is very tolerable although there can be side effects. Without listing these, check out sites on the web for these side effects.
You may likely be prescribed a mood-stabilizer as well. I am on not just lithium for example, but also Lexapro. The latter is an anti-depressant and it helps me to avoid clinical depression although getting depressed will still occur, just not so much that I will want to taste some metal.
Then, of course, perhaps if you are still in an acute phase, an anti-psychtic may also be prescribed such as Abilify. I think this is used to get you out of mania faster. It is good for the short term while lithium is expected to work best over the long term.
Regardless of how side effects affect you or not, being unmedicated WILL affect you, your marriage, your financial health, your friends and family, and certainly your physical well-being. WHatever you experience as side effects, they are in no way worse than living without medications, believe me.
Post Edited By Moderator (serafena) : 10/8/2009 9:48:01 PM (GMT-6)