“Mental illness marked by extreme shifts in mood.”
— Feeling elated, excited most of the time
— Getting irriated easily
— Sleeping very little, but feeling extremely energetic
— Talking so rapidly that others can’t keep up
— Unrealistic, grandiose beliefs about one’s abilities or powers
— Feeling lot of sexual rush
— Acting recklessly without thinking about the consequences
— Highly distractible, unable to concentrate
Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment
Is it Bi-Polar?
We all have our ups and downs, but with bipolar disorder, these peaks and valleys are more severe. The symptoms of bipolar disorder can hurt your job and school performance, damage your relationships, and disrupt your daily life.
And although it’s treatable, many people don’t recognize the warning signs and get the help they need. Since bipolar disorder tends to worsen without treatment, it’s important to learn what the symptoms look like. Recognizing the problem is the first step to getting better.
Bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) causes serious shifts in mood, energy, thinking, and behavior—from the highs of mania on one extreme, to the lows of depression on the other. More than just a fleeting good or bad mood, the cycles of bipolar disorder last for days, weeks, or months. And unlike ordinary mood swings, the mood changes of bipolar disorder are so intense that they interfere with your ability to function.
During a manic episode, a person might impulsively quit a job, charge up huge amounts on credit cards, or feel rested after sleeping two hours. During a depressive episode, the same person might be too tired to get out of bed, and full of self-loathing and hopelessness over being unemployed and in debt.
The causes of bipolar disorder aren’t completely understood, but it often appears to be hereditary. The first manic or depressive episode of bipolar disorder usually occurs in the teenage years or early adulthood. The symptoms can be subtle and confusing; many people with bipolar disorder are overlooked or misdiagnosed—resulting in unnecessary suffering. But with proper treatment and support, you can lead a rich and fulfilling life.
- Bipolar I
- Bipolar II
- Rapid Cycling
- Mixed Bipolar
Useful Info on Bi-Polar Disorder
How is Bi-Polar diagnosed?
Bipolar disorder can be difficult to diagnose. Unless you have severe mania, in which case the signs are unmistakable, the symptoms can be hard to spot. People who have hypomania, the milder form of the manic side, may feel more energized than usual, more confident and full of ideas, and able to get by on less sleep. Hardly anyone complains about that. You’re more likely to seek help if you’re suffering from depression, but your doctor may not have the opportunity to observe the manic side then.
When doctors do suspect bipolar disorder, they may use a few different approaches to make the diagnosis:
- a physical exam to rule out any other medical conditions that could cause your symptoms, such as thyroid disease
- a mental health evaluation, which may include a questionnaire and interviews with family members
- a mood-charting diary to keep track of your sleep patterns and daily moods
- using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to compare your symptoms with the official criteria for bipolar disorder
If you’re worried that you might have bipolar disorder, the best thing to do is educate yourself about the different types of mood disorders and their symptoms and then consult your doctor.
Different faces of Bi-Polar?
Bipolar I Disorder (mania or a mixed episode) – This is the classic manic-depressive form of the illness, characterized by at least one manic episode or mixed episode. Usually—but not always—Bipolar I Disorder also involves at least one episode of depression.
Bipolar II Disorder (hypomania and depression) – In Bipolar II disorder, the person doesn’t experience full-blown manic episodes. Instead, the illness involves episodes of hypomania and severe depression.
Cyclothymia (hypomania and mild depression) – Cyclothymia is a milder form of bipolar disorder that consists of cyclical mood swings. However, the symptoms are less severe than full-blown mania or depression.
Treatment for Bi-Polar.
If you spot the symptoms of bipolar depression in yourself or someone else, don’t wait to get help. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away; in fact, it will almost certainly get worse. Living with untreated bipolar disorder can lead to problems in everything from your career to your relationships to your health. Diagnosing the problem as early as possible and getting into treatment can help prevent these complications.
If you’re reluctant to seek treatment because you like the way you feel when you’re manic, remember that the energy and euphoria come with a price. Mania and hypomania often turn destructive, hurting you and the people around you.
Bipolar disorder requires long-term treatment. Since bipolar disorder is a chronic, relapsing illness, it’s important to continue treatment even when you’re feeling better. Most people with bipolar disorder need medication to prevent new episodes and stay symptom-free.
There is more to treatment than medication. Medication alone is usually not enough to fully control the symptoms of bipolar disorder. The most effective treatment strategy for bipolar disorder involves a combination of medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, and social support.
It’s best to work with an experienced psychiatrist. Bipolar disorder is a complex condition. Diagnosis can be tricky and treatment is often difficult. For safety reasons, medication should be closely monitored. A psychiatrist who is skilled in bipolar disorder treatment can help you navigate these twists and turns.
Bi-Polar and other illnesses.
People with bipolar disorder may have other psychological diagnoses, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), eating disorders, and substance abuse. The desire to medicate their bipolar with drugs or alcohol is what typically puts them at risk for substance abuse. Women with bipolar most often experience thyroid disease, obesity, and migraines as physical accompaniments to bipolar. Men are more likely to deal with substance abuse alongside their bipolar.
Approximately 1 in 5 people with a bipolar diagnosis can also be classified as having borderline personality disorder. There are some similarities between the two disorders, but there are also many differences in the symptoms and causes. More research is needed to understand the relationship between them.
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