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Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that is characterized by intense mood swings. These swings might include changes in behavior or energy levels. If you or someone you know has been exhibiting mood swings that concern you, it is essential to know the basics. Gaining knowledge and understanding of bipolar disorder is a great step in the right direction.
The Highs and Lows of Bipolar Disorder
Sometimes a person dealing with bipolar disorder might feel highly energetic and happy. They might become extra productive and seem almost frantic in their efforts to get things accomplished.
At other times a person dealing with bipolar disorder might feel indifferent or hopeless. They might be unable to function as they normally do because they are struggling with depression.
The Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
There are three types of bipolar disorder. While all three types experience highs and lows, the symptoms can occur differently.
#1 Bipolar I Disorder
Bipolar I disorder is defined by manic episodes that last seven days or longer. Manic symptoms with bipolar I disorder can become so severe that a person needs immediate hospital care. Symptoms of mania include:
- Feeling “up,” elated, irritable, or touchy
- Feeling “wired”
- A decreased need for sleep
- Loss of appetite
- Fast speech
- Racing thoughts
- Engaging in risky behaviors, such as spending sprees or reckless sex
- Feeling overly important or powerful
Depressive episodes also occur in bipolar I disorder, usually lasting up to two weeks.
#2 Bipolar II Disorder
Bipolar II disorder is defined by depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes. Hypomania is not as intense as mania and often does not include psychotic symptoms.
#3 Cyclothymic Disorder
Someone with cyclothymic disorder will experience symptoms of hypomania and depression lasting for up to two years. However, the symptoms they experience do not meet the diagnostic criteria for a hypomanic or depressive episode.
How Mania and Depression Can Feed Into Each Other
The cycle between the manic and depressive states experienced with bipolar disorder can feed into each other in detrimental ways. For example, during a manic episode, a person might engage in risky behaviors such as gambling or sexual activity while experiencing high self-confidence.
However, during a depressive episode, they may feel excessive guilt and remorse for their previous actions. This can lead to even more damaging or depressive thoughts.
Seeking Help for Bipolar Disorder
If you recognize any of these signs and symptoms in your own life and you are interested in making positive changes, there are steps you can take to start healing.
Because bipolar disorder is confusing to understand and diagnose, it is essential to seek help from a qualified mental health professional. An accurate diagnosis and professional treatment plan are vital to managing bipolar disorder. Consistently following the treatment recommendations of your mental health professional is crucial. Treatment will involve a mix of the following:
Therapy can help you recognize symptoms of manic or depressive episodes before they come on. A therapist can also help you develop healthy coping skills for dealing with stress and stick with a medication schedule.
Medication is often needed to manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Common medications used to treat bipolar disorder include mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants. A professional can help you determine which medications may work best for you.
Fostering Healthy Habits
Incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine can also help in the treatment of bipolar disorder. Lifestyle changes that occur alongside professional treatment can help you find healing and manage the disorder long-term. Changes you may consider implementing into your life include:
- Sticking to a consistent routine
- Eating well and getting regular exercise
- Always taking medications as prescribed
- Keeping a mood journal
- Avoiding using alcohol or drugs
- Minimizing stress
- Finding support from friends and family
What if I Have More Questions About Bipolar Disorder?
If you have concerns about yourself or a loved one, remember that you are not alone. Bipolar disorder affects millions of people in the United States. One of the most important steps you can take is seeking support from a mental health professional.
It can be confusing and frustrating to try to handle the intense emotions associated with bipolar disorder on your own. A mental health professional will be able to help you figure out what support you need and decide what treatments will integrate best into your life.
At Alter Wellness Care, our compassionate team understands the daily challenges and stigmas surrounding mental health challenges. We are committed to educating our clients and their loved ones about the realities of living with bipolar disorder. Our goal is to care for our clients holistically; mind, body, and spirit. Reach out to us today to see how we can help you get on the path to living well.
If you or someone you love has concerns about your mental health, it is essential to remember that you are not alone. Millions of people across the United States are affected by mental health disorders, including bipolar disorder. It can be confusing to find the proper support and treatment. At Alter Wellness Care, we understand the challenges you face and can support you in your journey toward living better. We want to help you find a course of treatment that is a good fit for you and your lifestyle. Our team of talented professionals is committed to helping you handle whatever challenges you may face. Alter Wellness Care offers comprehensive treatments varying from whole-person wellness to crisis management. The evidence-based treatments we offer are customized for each unique individual. Call Alter Wellness Care today at (866) 311-3510 to find out how we can support you.