Living With Bipolar – How to Deal With Symptoms
Bipolar disorder is an abnormal mental health state that causes drastic changes in someone’s energy and mood. While anyone experiences mood swings and ups and downs, which are normal occurrences, and in some cases, there are more serious mood and behavior shifts which can seriously affect a man or woman’s daily life. Some people with bipolar disorder experience such extreme change in their moods that it is referred to as manic depression, while in other cases, the condition is referred to as bipolar affective disorder (BA). The varying degrees of the condition each require a unique treatment plan for both you and your doctor.
Manic episodes, or mania, are often diagnosed when a person experiences three or more of the following symptoms for at least a week: an unusually high level of self-esteem, extreme optimism, profuse and frequent speaking extents, decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, insomnia, and rapid speech that are emotionally charged. In bipolar I disorder, on the other hand, when there is only one of these symptoms, it is referred to as bipolar II disorder. Bipolar disorder has four common types, which include the depression type, which is marked by severe or chronic sadness, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, and a negative attitude to life; hypomanic disorder, which is marked by overactive symptoms including the need for regular stimulants like caffeine; bipolar affective disorder (BAD), which involves a persistent, ongoing feeling of sadness, anxiety, irritability, or hopelessness; and cyclothymic disorder (CTD), which is marked by the presence of alternating periods of mild moodiness and hyperactivity/overdrive. Someone who is diagnosed with any of these four types of bipolar disorder should seek help, as the disorder has a high likelihood of occurring in people who already have other mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia or post-traumatic stress disorder.
There is also a possibility for genetic bipolar disorder. If someone in your family line history had bipolar disorder or any of the other four types of bipolar disorders, you have a greater likelihood of developing bipolar disorder. This is because genetic wiring of the brain is not set in stone, so it is possible that genetics determine whether someone will develop bipolar disorder or any of the other four types of bipolar disorders. If there is an imbalance of specific chemicals within the brain, it can lead to these conditions, as well. For instance, some studies show that a drop in dopamine levels could lead to depression, mania, or cyclothymia.
Bipolar disorder symptoms are often confused with the symptoms of other mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia or post-traumatic stress disorder. In fact, many psychiatrists think bipolar disorders may actually be a related disorder. Symptoms of bipolar may include impulse responses, such as self-harm, self-injury, suicidal thoughts, or psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations. The manic episodes of bipolar can include very intense and unexpected swings in energy, which can last anywhere from several days to several weeks. Bipolar symptoms may include irritability, restlessness, losing or gaining weight, frequent speech problems, being easily agitated or having trouble with digestion or absorption.
Bipolar I disorder is characterized by at least one major depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode. People with bipolar disorder experience periods of normal behavior followed by periods of either depression or mania. Bipolar I disorder can be split into two main subtypes, namely: rapid cycling bipolar disorder (by dysthymia) and slow-cycling bipolar disorder (ssd). In rapid-cycling bipolar disorder the sufferer experiences mood alternates between elated or depressed states and hyperactive/impulsive behaviors. On the other hand, in the slow-cycling bipolar disorder, the sufferer experiences mixed states of mood alternating between depression and hypomania states.
Bipolar disorder can affect people in different ways. Some respond to medications more favorably than others. There is currently no specific genetic test for the condition, so doctors cannot confirm if a family history of the disorder is present. It is mostly diagnosed when the patient’s partner shows the same symptoms as the patient. A recent study showed that 50% of men suffering from bipolar disorder have been successfully treated with antidepressants.
Bipolar disorder can be effectively treated with psychotherapy and medications. The mood stabilizers (tricyclics) such as Elavil, Pamelor, and Lamotrigine are known to work better in some patients than in others. The mood stabilizers are also used in the maintenance phase, which helps the patients to avoid mania and depression episodes. The different types of antidepressant used in the treatment of bipolar disorder include Tofranil (imipramine), Prozac (fluoxetine), Celexa (citalopramine) and Zoloft (sertraline).
The symptoms of this disorder can be difficult to recognize and it may seem that nothing is wrong with the sufferer. The symptoms of the disorder however can be serious and if they are left uncorrected, the person suffering from it may eventually become unproductive and a burden to the family. It is therefore important that you know about the symptoms and get your loved one diagnosed as soon as possible.