We all have our ups and downs. Sometimes we feel good and sometimes we don’t. Things happen in life, and we’re only human, right? But with bipolar disorder, the peaks and valleys are pronounced. With bipolar, when you’re up, you’re ALL the way up and when you’re down, you’re ALL the way down. At the same time, the highs and lows of bipolar are pretty straightforward. When you have bipolar you know the reason your mood, energy, thinking, and behavior vary – because that’s how the condition works. The highs of a manic episode are super high (and borderline dangerous) while the depths of depression are super low.
Bipolar episodes can last for days, weeks, or even months. It’s not at all like experiencing a plain old “good mood” or a “bad mood.” Normal moods are fleeting. When something good happens, you can be lifted from a bad mood. But, the mood changes a person experiences during a bipolar episode are life altering. These moods can affect the person’s relationships and disturb their everyday functioning. For many with bipolar, the moods can be so severe they affect school and/or work. It’s no wonder, during a depressive episode someone with bipolar might not want to get out of bed at all. In fact, they might be too physically tired to get out. They may literally feel a general sense of self-loathing and hopelessness. During a manic episode they may be so excited that they can’t control the pitch of their voice. Maybe they can’t contain their elation – or their spending! People with bipolar are likely to drop major dollars on shopping sprees that they wouldn’t normally take.
What Causes Bipolar Disorder?
We don’t know what causes bipolar, but we do consider a person’s family makeup to be a factor. That’s because bipolar is thought to be hereditary. Onset for the disorder typically occurs in the teenage years or early adulthood. For many this time can be confusing enough. Teenagers are misunderstood as it is, try being a teen with bipolar. The condition often winds up being ignored or misdiagnosed. As a result, the bipolar teen often needlessly suffers in confusion and silence. Without treatment, those with bipolar disorder are inclined to get worse with time. Understanding the symptoms of bipolar is the key to managing it. Without a proper diagnosis this is nearly impossible. Recognizing the presence of bipolar is the first step to gaining back one’s sense of life and independence.
What are the Signs of Bipolar Disorder?
Understanding the signs of bipolar is crucial to managing symptoms. There are two very different sets of symptoms associated with bipolar: symptoms of mania and symptoms of depression. Hypomania can also occur. That’s a more severe form of mania. In addition there are two different forms of bipolar: Bipolar I and Bipolar II. These two forms are marked by different symptoms of varying severity. Cyclothymic disorder happens when the symptoms crop up during the childhood or teenage years.
Signs and Symptoms of Mania
- Being unusually excited, upbeat, wired or jumpy
- Lots of energy
- Enlarged, overdramatic actions
- Extreme self-confidence
- Overstated well-being
- Not getting much sleep
- Nonstop talkativeness
- Bad decision making
- Risk taking
- Extreme shopping
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
- Depressed mood
- Feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, loneliness
- Loss of interest
- No pleasure
- Weight loss
- Trouble sleeping
- Lack of energy
- Lack of concentration
Treatment of Bipolar Disorder
People who have been diagnosed with bipolar I and bipolar II can go on to live a happy, healthy, and productive life with the intervention of modern day mental health treatment. While treatment methods have gotten better and better, the truth is, bipolar is difficult to treat. It requires patient participation.
Medication is one great way to treat the disorder, but psychotherapy is needed too. Psychotherapy usually includes individual talk therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), other forms of therapy, stress management, coping skills, and more. In cases where family therapy is needed, that occurs as well. Bipolar is marked by periods of mania (or hypomania) and periods of depression.
The symptoms of depression, mania, and hypomania get worse with time. These symptoms are very recognizable to the average person. Symptoms of depression are sadness, lack of energy, sleepiness, and weight loss. Symptoms of mania include talkativeness, risk taking, unlimited energy, and increased spending. If you think that you or someone you love is suffering from bipolar disorder, getting help now is crucial.
Someone with bipolar is likely to get worse and worse until mental health intervention is necessary. Mental health therapy and medication are needed in order to treat this disorder. The symptoms of bipolar disorder do not simply “go away.”
They need to be treated in order to be minimized.