Finding Balance Wherever You Can
When you live with anxiety and bipolar disorder, it can feel difficult to laugh and feel joy when youre unsure of what mental health episode resides around the corner. But finding little ways to embrace fun and humor, whenever possible, may help you manage the anxiety you feel.
Positive forms of humor have been linked to lower levels of worry and increased well-being.
What Are The Side Effects Of Bipolar Disorder Medications
Side effects of bipolar disorder medications are common and vary by medication. Its important to talk with your healthcare provider about what you can expect when taking certain medications. Its also important to tell them if youre experiencing side effects.
Never stop taking your medication unless your healthcare provider tells you to do so. Abruptly stopping medication can cause severe side effects and trigger severe episodes.
The most common side effects of bipolar disorder medications include:
- Weight gain.
- Akathisia feelings of restlessness and agitation with a compelling need to move, rock or pace.
Big Five Personality Trait Differences Among The Three Groups
The results of this study indicate that there was no significant difference in any factor of the NEO-FFI between the typical BD group and the atypical BD group, while all factors of these two groups differed significantly from those of the simple anxiety group. This finding shows that the assessment of personality characteristics can distinguish BD from normal anxiety disorders. This link to personality may be an inherent reason why some patients with anxiety disorders stay at the abnormal rhythm stage rather than progress to a pathological rhythm, namely, BD.
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How Does Being Bipolar Relate To Anxiety
The connection between being bipolar and diagnosed, clinical anxiety is one that is difficult to understand fully. While it has been studied extensively by some of the top medical doctors in the past several decades, there is no consensus as to whether an anxiety diagnosis should even be a separate one from being bipolar. One thing is certain, though. It is possible to have anxiety without being bipolar, but it is a rare person who is bipolar and isn’t frequently anxious.
Manic and Depressive States
Whether a person who is bipolar happens to be in a manic period or a depressed one, anxiety is never going to be far below the surface. When the person is down, the anxiety may be related to what others are saying or thinking about them. They may feel like life is passing them by because they feel too low to get up and engage with it. It might also take the form of paranoia or even a full psychotic break in the most extreme of cases.
When someone who is bipolar is in a manic phase, the anxiety may come from a belief that the people around them are spying on them. It might be due to an idea that other people are trying to keep the individual from accomplishing their goals, or they might be worried that they don’t have enough time to finish whatever project is currently preoccupying them.
The Necessity of Medication for People with Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar Medications and Side Effects
How to Convince Someone with Bipolar Depression to Start Taking Medication
Differences In Endocrine Indicators Among The Three Groups
The results of our study suggest that the differences in the abnormality rates of the HPT and HPA axis indicators between the typical BD group and the atypical BD group were not significant and that these values were all significantly higher in the typical and atypical BD groups than in the simple anxiety group. This lack of separation between typical and atypical BD demonstrates that the patients in the atypical BD group are essentially similar to those of the BD group from an endocrinological perspective. Although most patients with BD have no apparent thyroid disease, subtle changes in thyroid function are often found during examinations , and related studies indicate that HPT axis dysfunction may represent a potential phenotype of BD . The HPA axis is the bodys main neuroendocrine system for coping with stress and adjusting emotions and mood . It is clear that impairment in the function of the HPA axis is closely correlated with mood disorders , which explains why the BD patients and atypical BD patients in our study had higher abnormality rates of HPA axis values. Remlinger-Molenda et al. also speculated that HPA axis dysfunction may be a characteristic of BD patients.
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Dangerous Aggressive And Violent Behavior In Bipolar Disorder
I work with parents and partners of those with bipolar disorder. In the majority of situations, people who are in a strong dysphoric manic episode can be dangerous, aggressive, and violent.
Physical assault and weapons are not uncommon. Many men go to jail because of this behavior when they actually need psychiatric help. People who are mild-mannered and kind when well, both men and women, get superhuman strength along with the aggressionripping a sink out of the wall, punching through windows, throwing chairs, and other dangerous behaviors are not uncommon.
Families and partners suffer in silence because they are scared to tell anyone about what really goes on at home.
I have violent thoughts when dysphoric mania is raging. I used to chase down cars if the driver flipped me off or made a strange face. It is not my goal to scare anyone reading this. Its my goal that we are honest about these hidden and pushed-under-the-rug symptoms of bipolar disorder.
The solution is management. People with bipolar do not have these symptoms unless the mood swings are raging. Prevent the mood swings, and you can prevent the dangerous, aggressive, and violent behavior.
Anxiety Attacks From Medications
Some psychiatric medications can cause anxiety symptoms as a side effect. Whenever you start a new medication, check the literature that accompanies it so you will recognize a side effect if it occurs. If you do experience anxiety symptoms after starting a new treatment, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
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What The Research Says
Anger isnt a symptom of bipolar disorder, but many people who have the disorder, as well as their family and friends, may report frequent bouts with the emotion.
For some people with bipolar disorder, irritability is perceived as anger and may become as severe as rage.
A 2014 study by some members of the same research team found that people with bipolar disorder show greater episodes of aggression than people without bipolar disorder.
People with bipolar disorder who arent receiving treatment or those experiencing a rapid change in mood, or rapid cycling between moods, are more likely to experience periods of irritability too. Anger and rage may follow.
A 2017 analysis of two clinical trials focused in part on remission during bipolar disorder I treatment. Researchers discovered that 62.4 percent of the study participants experienced irritability before starting treatment. An even larger percentage of people experienced agitation.
Overall, 34 percent of people experienced severe anxiety, irritability, and agitation.
The research included 960 people in total: 665 people whod experienced a depressive episode within the past 3 months and 295 people whod experienced a mixed, or manic-depressive, episode.
How Does Anxiety Affect Bipolar Disorder
Both bipolar disorder and anxiety are treatable, manageable conditions. However, it is important to distinguish between the two, as this will affect the type of medication and therapy a healthcare professional will prescribe.
When a person has both conditions, they may find their anxiety affects the symptoms of bipolar disorder. This could
Although anxiety and bipolar disorders have some similarities, they have distinct sets of symptoms and diagnostic criteria.
However, some symptoms suggest a person may have co-occurring anxiety. They include:
- A persistent, intense feeling of nervousness: This can include worrying, anxiety, and panic attacks. A person may also avoid taking part in activities. These symptoms persist during manic and depressive episodes.
- Sleep and anxiety problems: People may find they have issues sleeping even when they are not in a manic state. They may feel persistently anxious despite receiving treatment.
- History of symptoms: Some people may have lived with anxiety and bipolar disorder symptoms from childhood and adolescence.
Learn more about the symptoms of anxiety and bipolar disorder here.
If someone has an anxiety disorder in addition to bipolar disorder, a doctor should diagnose and treat the conditions together.
When a doctor, psychiatrist, or psychologist is developing a persons treatment plan, they will take multiple factors into consideration. Usually, medication and therapy form the basis of the treatment plan.
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Adding An Anxiety Diagnosis To Bipolar Can Feel Like Bad Newsbut Its A Key Step Toward Real Relief
Dave has been through the unshakable weight of depression and the reckless risk-taking of mania. But he says the sudden panic of anxiety is worst of all. Its been a constant in his life as far back as high school, when he remembers freezing in place at the chalkboard in algebra, unable to write the answer to an equation as sweat beaded up.
Rebecca was diagnosed with bipolar at age 21, but her persistent worrying began a decade earlier. Among other things, she was afraid her single mother couldnt afford rent and foodto the point that the youngster spent the allowance her father gave her on milk and eggs. Rebeccas internalized anxieties translated to sleepless nights, painful stomachaches, and bowel problems.
Alan not only couldnt open his mouth around girls in middle school, but his social phobia made him so panicky hed have to leave. I felt like I was crawling out of my skin, he recalls. He turned to street drugs in high school, which he says made everything worse. After two decades in treatment, discovering that he has bipolar as well as an anxiety disorder made a real dent in his symptoms.
Research indicates that more than half of people with bipolar disorder also have an anxiety disorder. Often the anxiety strikes first, suggesting that it could be a risk factor for developing bipolar, says Regina Sala, MD, PhD, of Columbia University.
After 45 years of therapy, he says, I consider myself a coach for the mentally ill.
Lifetime And Current Anxiety
Because of the methodology and reported data categories of the included studies, studies included in the lifetime comorbidity analysis did not overlap with studies included in the current comorbidity analysis. Still, we found very consistent findings showing higher lifetime comorbidity compared to current comorbidity except for current GAD prevalance which was found to be higher than lifetime GAD comorbidity. Heterogeneity, sample size and used structural clinical interviews may have lead to this finding.
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Bipolar Disorder Type I
Bipolar disorder type I also known as bipolar 1 is the most severe form of the two types of manic depression. It is characterized by manic episodes lasting at least one week in duration or episodes that lead to hospitalization or other significant impairments in occupational or social functioning. Depressive episodes must also be present as well however in most cases of bipolar disorder type 1, manic episodes are the mainstay of the presentation.
Bipolar Disorder And Other Mental Illnesses
People with bipolar disorder fluctuate between mania and depression. Because it can look like other illnesses, it can be difficult to diagnose.
Folks diagnosed with BD may experience another mental illness at the same time. Possibilities include eating disorders, anxiety disorders, or substance use disorders.
People with bipolar disorder have an increased risk of developing other chronic medical conditions including diabetes, obesity, migraine headaches, thyroid disease, and heart disease.
Below are just a few of the most common conditions that may look like bipolar disorder or may manifest as additional diagnoses. Anyone who has symptoms of these conditions should seek help from a trained medical professional, mental health professional, or specialist.
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What Is Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong mood disorder and mental health condition that causes intense shifts in mood, energy levels, thinking patterns and behavior. These shifts can last for hours, days, weeks or months and interrupt your ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.
There are a few types of bipolar disorder, which involve experiencing significant fluctuations in mood referred to as hypomanic/manic and depressive episodes. However, people with bipolar disorder arent always in a hypomanic/manic or depressive state. They also experience periods of normal mood, known as euthymia.
A key feature of bipolar I disorder is manic episodes. To meet the criteria for bipolar I disorder, you must have had at least one manic episode in your life for at least a week with or without ever experiencing a depressive episode.
Mania is a condition in which you have a period of abnormally elevated or irritable mood, as well as extreme changes in emotions, thoughts, energy, talkativeness and activity level. This highly energized level of physical and mental activity and behavior is a change from your usual self and is noticeable by others.
People with certain types of bipolar such as bipolar II disorder experience hypomania, which is a less severe form of mania. It doesnt last as long as manic episodes and it doesnt interfere with daily functioning as much.
- Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness.
In Bipolar Disorder Anxiety Often Follows Mania
NEW YORK, NY –Adults with bipolar disorder are just as likely to develop anxiety as depression following an episode of mania, according to data from a national survey of more than 34,000 adults. This finding, published today in Molecular Psychiatry, may expand our understanding of bipolar disorder to include anxiety.
An estimated 5.7 million Americans have bipolar disorder, a serious mental illness that has been characterized by recurrent periods of mania and depression. Because mania, which involves having an elevated or irritable mood, and depression are mood disturbances, bipolar disorder is considered a type of mood disorder.
Study participants were interviewed to determine the incidence of manic episodes. A second interview was conducted three years later to determine the subsequent incidence of depression or anxiety. Participants with mania had an approximately equal risk of developing depression or anxiety . Both conditions were significantly more common among participants with mania than without. In addition, participants with depression had a significantly higher risk of developing mania or anxiety compared with those without depression.
A broader clinical definition of bipolar disorder that includes episodes of mania along with anxiety or depression might lead to earlier identification of individuals with bipolar disorder and different approaches to treatment.
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Clinically Speaking: How Bipolar Disorder And Gad Differ
Sleep issues, mind-racing, and irritability are only a few symptoms in which bipolar disorder and anxiety overlap. How are they different?
For many people, symptoms associated with bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder can feel similar.
Learning the difference between bipolar disorder and GAD can help you find treatment options to address your specific concerns.
At first glance, the two can look similar. After a deeper dive, though, you can see several distinctions:
|Feeling decreased need and thus little to no sleep||Dissatisfied on little to no sleep|
|Energy||Supercharged or functional energy levels, sometimes feeling euphoric||Fatigued, sometimes feeling groggy|
|Creative, innovative, goal-oriented , agitated||Lack of concentration, all-consuming worry, ever mentally replaying interactions|
|More talkative and gregarious than usual||More avoidant of social situations than usual|
|Risk Assessment||High due to fear of the unknown|
|Duration of episode||2-4 months for mania/ hypomania, 2 years for cyclothymia||Chronic|
While anxiety can be ongoing, mania will ebb and is usually followed by an episode of depression.
A person with anxiety often dreads the hypothetical worst-case scenario event. Those managing bipolar II, cyclothymia, or mixed episodes of depression often dread the looming depression bookending an episode of charging full steam ahead.
What Medications Are Used To Treat Bipolar Disorder
Certain medications can help manage symptoms of bipolar disorder. You may need to try several different medications, with guidance from your healthcare provider, before finding what works best.
Medications healthcare providers generally prescribe to treat bipolar disorder include:
- Mood stabilizers.
- Second-generation neuroleptics .
If youre taking medication for bipolar disorder, you should:
- Talk with your healthcare provider to understand the risks, side effects and benefits of the medication.
- Tell your healthcare provider about any prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications or supplements youre already taking.
- Tell your healthcare provider right away if youre experiencing concerning side effects. They may need to change your dose or try a different medication.
- Remember that medication for bipolar disorder must be taken consistently, as prescribed.
Mood stabilizers for bipolar disorder
People with bipolar disorder typically need mood-stabilizing medication to manage manic or hypomanic episodes.
Types of mood stabilizers and their brand names include:
- Lithium .
- Lamotrigine .
Thyroid gland and kidney problems can sometimes develop when taking lithium, so your healthcare provider will monitor the function of your thyroid and kidneys, as well as monitor the levels of lithium in your blood, as levels can easily become too high.
However, other medications, such as olanzapine , risperidone and aripiprazole , are commonly prescribed as well.
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How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed
To diagnose bipolar disorder, your healthcare provider may use many tools, including:
- A physical exam.
- A thorough medical history, which will include asking about your symptoms, lifetime history, experiences and family history.
- Medical tests, such as blood tests, to rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms, such as hyperthyroidism.
- A mental health evaluation. Your healthcare provider may perform the evaluation, or they may refer you to a mental health specialist, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist.
To be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you must have experienced at least one episode of mania or hypomania. Mental health providers use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to diagnose the type of bipolar disorder a person may be experiencing.
To determine what type of bipolar disorder you may have, your mental health provider assesses the pattern of symptoms and how much they affect your life during the most severe episodes.
People with bipolar disorder are more likely to also have the following mental health conditions:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder .
- Substance use disorders/dual diagnosis.
Because of this, as well as the fact that memory is often impaired during mania so people cant remember experiencing it, it can be difficult for healthcare providers to properly diagnose people with bipolar disorder.