What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar Disorder is a mental health disorder with episodes of mood swings ranging anywhere from depressive lows to manic highs – and everything in between. There are over 3 Million cases diagnosed in the US every year.
The exact cause of bipolar disorder is still yet unknown but science believes it has to do with a combination of genetics, environment, and brain structure and chemicals.
Bipolar Disorder is a chronic mental health disorder that cannot be cured – but it can be treated and managed. There is no magic cure and a person cannot take a pill and make it go away, although, anyone who genuinely has this disorder – or their loved ones who care for them – wishes that there were.
People with this disorder don’t usually start to show signs until they are in their teens or early 20’s. (I, myself, was diagnosed at age 14 and was only starting high school!) However, bipolar disorder can rear its ugly head in children at any age.
Types Of Bipolar Disorder
- A person with this type of bipolar disorder had at least one full-blown manic episode in their lifetime. Most people with this type have had a major disruption in their life during this time and, usually, require some form of hospitalization.
- A person with this type of bipolar disorder is more of the depressive end with bouts of hypomania (a less severe form of mania). It involves at least one depressive episode which lasted at least two weeks and one hypomanic episode that lasted four days.
- This type of bipolar disorder can be in combination with either Bipolar 1 or Bipolar 2. It is defined by having four or more manic, hypomanic, or depressive episodes in a 12-month period. So, one full year. Mood swings rapidly go from low to back and then back again. These episodes can sometimes cycle anywhere from days to a few hours at a time.
Signs Of Mania
- Elevated Mood
- Higher Confidence and Self-Esteem Than Usual
- Less Need For Sleep
- Excessive Spending
- Rapid Speech and Interrupts Others Frequently
- Some Euphoria
- High Energy
- Agitation and Irritability
- Starting Several Projects At Once and Usually Never Finishing Them
- More Social and Talkative Than Normal
- Psychosis and Delusions
- Decrease In Appetite
- Increased Sex Drive
There are more symptoms that differ with every person.
Signs Of Depression
- Extreme Sadness
- Low Energy
- Thoughts Of Suicide
- Decreased Or Increased Appetite
- Less Social
- Lowered Self-Esteem
- Interrupted and Excessive Sleep Or Insomnia
- Self-Injurious Behavior
- Physical Body Aches
- Weight Gain Or Weight Loss
- Less Talkative And/Or Slower Speech
- Obsessive Worrying
- Agitation, Irritability, Anger
- Feelings Of Hopelessness and Helplessness
- Decreased Sex Drive
There are also other symptoms and different people feel their symptoms in varying ways.
There are varying treatment options for Bipolar Disorder and typically more than one form of treatment is used.
- Therapy (Individual, Family, Group)
- Seeing A Psychiatrist
- Hospitalizations (Inpatient or Partial)
- Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
- Maintaining Visits With PCP
Treatment is essential for anyone struggling with Bipolar Disorder. If you suspect you may be bipolar or are experiencing these symptoms, please contact your Primary Care Physician (PCP). Getting diagnosed if the first step to getting treatment and feeling better.
We are always here at My Bipolar Mind if anyone has any questions or even if anyone just needs someone confidential to talk to! Contact us @ ContactMyBipolarMind@gmail.com!
Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog MyBipolarMind.com.