Bipolar Disorder
Changes in mood, activity levels, and energy are only some of the symptoms if a person has Bipolar Disorder. Have you heard of this already? If not, keep reading.
Defining Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder, as stated by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), has been affecting the lives of 10 million people in the US. This is equivalent to 2.8% of the US population. The diagnosis of this disorder mostly comes around 25 years old. However, the symptoms can be seen as early as the teenage years. Also, bipolar disorder does not choose its victim; it both victimizes males and females.
Also, bipolar disorder changes the sleep patterns, energy levels, focus, and other else that brings drastic changes in behavior, relationship, work, and other aspects of life. Some of the most intense symptoms that can indicate this disorder are psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions.
Below are more detailed symptoms of bipolar disorder:
The symptoms of bipolar disorder may vary between individuals. Some may experience an episode for several months or years, and some can experience quick succession or highs and lows.
There is also called rapid cycling bipolar disorder wherein a person can have not less than four episodes in a year.
Hypomania or Mania
These are elevated moods, and mania has more intensity than hypomania. Below are the symptoms:
- Feeling wired
- Impaired judgment
- Boredom or distraction
- Not getting tired with little sleep
- Poor performance in school or work
- Misses school or work
- Engagement in risky behaviors
- Increased libido
- Can be aggressive and forthcoming
- Feeling able to do anything
- Euphoric
- High-levels of self-esteem, importance, and confidence
- Rapid talking
- Denial
- Bizarre ideas
Depressive Symptoms
- Extreme sadness
- A feeling of despair, gloom, and hopelessness
- Sleeping problems or insomnia
- Anxiety
- Eating less or more
- Weight gain or loss
- Sense of guilt
- Physical problems and pain
- Extreme fatigue
- Irritability
- Difficulty in remembering and focusing
- Inability to enjoy life
- Increased sensitivity
- Underperformance in school or work
Suicide Prevention
If you know someone that has bipolar disorder or other mental health problems, calling for help is a must thing to do. In this way, they can be stopped from doing self-harm or worst, suicide. Below are some recommended actions:
- Ask calmly if he or she is considering suicide.
- Listen without judgment.
- Call 911 for assistance or a trusted counselor.
- Stay with the person until the arrival of professional assistance.
- Remove any medication, harmful objects, or weapon that can trigger the person.
Types of Bipolar Disorder
According to NAMI, a spectrum becomes the basis of the occurrence of bipolar disorder symptoms. Also, there is a distinction that represents the clear-cut between the symptoms. Below are the three types of bipolar disorder.
Bipolar I Disorder
- The individual experiences at least one episode
- The individual had a major depressive episode before
- The doctor needs to take considerations of other disorders such as delusion and schizophrenia
Bipolar II Disorder
This involves several periods of hypomania, and depression is an often dominant state.
- More than one depression episode.
- Hypomanic episode
- Mood shifts with no other explainable diagnosis
According to the National Health Service (NHS), cyclothymia has similarities to bipolar disorder. However, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders provided a separate classification. It stated that depression and hypomania are involved, yet there is lesser intensity in changes.
Nevertheless, cyclothymia can bring changes in an individual’s life and behavior.
Bipolar disorder has its own sets of treatments that help in stabilizing the mood of a person, as well as reduce the symptoms’ severity. The main goal of treatments is to guide the persons into effective daily functioning.
Below are involved therapy combinations used to treat bipolar disorder:
- Counseling
- Medication
- Physical intervention
- Lifestyle remedies
Drug Treatment
Drug treatment is also another option to treat bipolar disorder. This helps a lot in managing the symptoms and stabilizing moods. These are the most prescribed drugs:
- Lithium as a mood stabilizer
- Antidepressant
- Anticonvulsants for mania
- Second-generation antipsychotics
- Anxiety and sleep medication
Using drugs as treatment involves adjustments that can be done only by a doctor. This is because these drugs can bring side effects, and it can bring slight changes to the person. If there are concerns, talking to the doctor is the best choice. Here, a person must:
- Continue taking the medication
- Discuss concerns about the drugs
- Tell the doctor about other needed medications to avoid adverse effects
- Follow the doctor.
Counseling and Psychotherapy
Another useful treatment for bipolar disorder is counseling and psychotherapy. These help in relieving the symptoms and proper management of the disorder. Also, cognitive-behavior therapy is applied in this treatment which allows the person to:
- Recognize and manage stress as a key trigger
- Identify early signs and manage it properly
- Work with what ease the pain and symptoms
- Receive help from loved ones, colleagues, and friends
Hospital Treatment
Relying on hospital treatment is also one of the choices, for it helps in stabilizing the mood and physical recovery of a person. Spending time in the hospital can save the person from any self-harm or suicidal thoughts. This can also keep the person company with the help of doctors, nurses, and other people with bipolar disorder.
According to several studies conducted by researchers around the world, bipolar disorder is the result of these factors to be discussed below.
Biological Traits: studies state that an imbalance in hormones and neurotransmitters brings drastic effects and changes to the way the brain works.
Genetic Factors: It is seen and justified that bipolar disorder can be gotten from genetic factors. If there are other family members diagnosed with the same disorder before, it can be passed through generations. These are caused by the same genetic features of the family.
Environmental Factors: Lastly, there are also environmental factors. Here, a person might have had experienced abuse, stress, loss of loved ones, and depression. Traumatic life events can also contribute to and trigger bipolar disorder.

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Author's Bio: 

John is PhD, mental health blogger for and a devoted father for Roy and Ben.