Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a disorder associated with episodes of mood swings between depressive lows and manic highs.

This disorder often disrupts an individual’s ability to function in basic daily activities and requires bipolar disorder treatment.

In this article, we share the common causes and symptoms of bipolar disorder and explore the benefits of bipolar disorder treatment.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

With Bipolar 1 disorder, a person may have a mania period that lasts at least seven days. This period is usually followed by depressive symptoms lasting two or more weeks. For some, the highs and lows can be so extreme that they need to be admitted to a hospital for their safety.

Bipolar 2 disorder can mean more prolonged and more severe periods of depression than with Bipolar 1. However, the periods of mania are not always as bad. They are hypomanic, where mood and energy are elevated but not quite as risky or impulsive.

Cyclothymic disorder is another way of saying rapid cycling, or that the mood swings happen more often. This diagnosis is made when the mood swings last for two or more years.

There are some common symptoms to look for when recognizing bipolar disorder in yourself or someone else.

Bipolar Disorder Treatment

While the average age of onset of bipolar disorder is around 25 years of age, it can affect teens and adults of all ages. Around the world, over 46 million people are affected.

Bipolar is often called manic depressive disorder. It is a condition that consists of mood swings from low to high. Sure, everyone has times when they feel sad and times when they feel happy and energetic. With bipolar disorder, the mood swings are severe and interfere with daily functioning.

For someone without bipolar, a more energetic day may be filled with a lot of laughs, participating in a new, exciting activity with friends, completing daily responsibilities, and going to bed later than usual. When feeling sad or bummed out, a person without bipolar may find themselves taking naps, venting to friends, watching movies, and overeating for a day.

For someone with bipolar, energetic days are filled with mania. They have energy that prevents sleep and encourages risky, impulsive behaviors. The lows associated with bipolar disorder are extremely low. You may find yourself unable to get out of bed due to an overwhelming feeling of sadness or hopelessness.

Every person with bipolar disorder will have unique symptoms, and mood swings between mania and depression can vary in length and intensity. Another differentiator is one of three types of bipolar disorder a person can have.

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

Genetics seems to be one of the most common causes of Bipolar Disorder. If a parent or grandparent had Bipolar, the gene is likely passed down to children. But, just because you have the gene does not guarantee you will have symptoms of Bipolar. It only means there is a possibility.

Someone with Bipolar Disorder may have a chemical or hormonal imbalance. Biological factors may not be the only factor influencing the disorder, but it is found alongside other factors, like genetics, environment, substance abuse, and addiction.

Living in an unhealthy environment where abuse of any kind is present can contribute to Bipolar symptoms. While many people use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate their Bipolar symptoms, they are making them worse. Substances hinder the brain’s ability to regulate hormones and chemicals responsible for a healthy mind and body.

Improving lifestyle will help ease Bipolar symptoms, but it is just one part of treatment.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Mental health, body functions, thoughts, and behaviors are affected by Bipolar Disorder. This means there may be multiple symptoms occurring independently or at the same time.

When in the mania stage of Bipolar, a person may exhibit rapid speech. Because everything is in hyper mode, mania can cause a person to stay awake for days at a time. This can have long-term adverse effects on the mind and body due to the restoration benefits a person can get while sleeping.

Mania may also involve weight loss, impulsivity, increased desire for sex, compulsive behaviors, heightened pleasure in activities, or a sense of euphoria for no apparent reason at all—many people with Bipolar claim to like the mania phases. Everything feels good at this stage. This is one reason someone may be resistant to taking medications, however.

The depressive mood swings can be challenging. Depression is accompanied by sleeping long hours, sometimes for days. The desire for socializing, taking part in activities, and an overall slowing down of speech, thoughts, and movements are apparent.

Depressive swings also lead to apathy, a lack of caring about hygiene, excessive crying, guilt, hopelessness, and sometimes thoughts of suicide.

In either mood swing, a person with Bipolar can become aggressive, feel superior or delusional, hallucinate, and find it hard to concentrate.

Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is considered a lifelong condition. Meaning, treatment for bipolar needs to consist of a lifelong plan of action.

Treatment typically consists of medication and therapy first. Medication will help stabilize the mood swings and reduce risks of harm. It can also help a person with Bipolar focus and become clear-headed to participate in different therapies.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy and other behavior-changing treatments are needed to teach a person with Bipolar how to replace negative thoughts and actions with positive ones. It can also help them recognize symptoms early to avoid significant episodes.

Frequent medication check-ups are necessary to ensure you are on schedule and not skip doses. As stated before, some people with Bipolar enjoy the manic stages and may stop taking medication if they feel they are doing fine and no longer need treatment.

Family therapy and providing both the Bipolar person and their family with extensive education on the disorder can enhance treatment. The more everyone knows and understands mental illness, the better prepared you are to cope with it.

Finally, support groups provide benefits for you and your family, giving you a place to meet peers with Bipolar who understand and can offer assistance in your healing.

Start your treatment journey with a licensed psychiatrist, one who specializes in treating persons with Bipolar disorder. You will find this does not have to be a devastating diagnosis. You can live a long, healthy, and happy life with Bipolar Disorder.

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