Bipolar Disorder: What You Need to Know
What are the Symptoms of Bipolar disorder?
- Hypomania, a milder mania without psychotic symptoms, that may cause a person to function well in social or work situations
- Rare or frequent mania or hypomania
- The high mood does not stop at a comfortable or controllable level
- High moods will turn irritable, with unpredictable behavior, and impaired judgment
- Impulsivity, reckless decisions, and taking unusual risks
- Unaware of the negative consequences of their actions
- Learning the “red flags” of their manic behavior is helpful
- Debilitating depression
- Unable to get out of bed Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Sleep more than usual
- Difficulty with minor decisions
- Unable to function nearly every day over two weeks
- Obsessed with feelings of loss, guilt, helplessness, or personal failure
- Negative thinking may lead to thoughts of suicide
What Causes Bipolar Disorder
How is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed?
The Four Types of Bipolar Disorder
- One or more episodes of mania
- Usually both manic and depressive episodes
- Manic disorders last seven days or require hospitalization
- Shifting between hypomanic and depressive episodes
- Never a full manic episode
Cyclothymic Disorder (Cyclothymia)
- Chronically unstable mood
- Hypomania and mild depression for two years
- Brief periods (less than eight weeks) of normal mood
Bipolar Disorder Unspecified/Other Specified
- Doesn’t meet criteria for the others
- Clinically significant abnormal mood elevation
Can Bipolar Disorder Be Treated?
Bipolar disorder must be treated. Usually by a combination of medications (antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, or antidepressants), psychotherapy (family therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), other measures like aerobic exercise, faith, prayer, or self-management strategies like being educated about the disorder and able to recognize the early symptoms of an episode.
A person with bipolar disorder sometimes also suffer from posttraumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), substance abuse disorders/dual diagnosis, or anxiety. A person with bipolar disorder can be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder (BPD) before getting a correct diagnosis.
It is sometimes challenging to treat bipolar disorder if the person also suffers from mental disorders with a treatment that has adverse effects on bipolar disorder, like with ADHD, where the stimulants used to treat it can trigger a manic episode or make the symptoms of bipolar disorder worse.
If you think you or a loved one might have bipolar disorder, talk to your doctor about a treatment plan that will work for your specific symptoms or other disorders. People with bipolar disorder who have a good treatment plan including psychotherapy, medications, early identification of symptoms, a healthy lifestyle, and a regular schedule can lead happy and successful lives.