How A Person With Bipolar Thinks
Someone who is bipolar can sometimes feel emotions so intensely that it is hard for him to decide what to do. Some people feel more energy and excitement, and some people feel extremely tired and sad. And at the same time, a person with bipolar disorder can experience both of these extremes and all the emotion in between. Someone who is bipolar may have very good days, where he feels positive and shows his best qualities. But he may also have really bad days, where he feels negative and shows his worst qualities..
Bipolar Disorder May Become Easier To Manage In Later Life But Its Important To Stay Alert To Changes In Physical Health And How Well Your Medication Works
One day you notice your smile lines have turned into wrinkles. Or maybe your back and knees creak after a flag football game. Its inevitable: The passage of time brings changes in the body, in relationships, in outlook.
The mantle of maturity often fosters a stronger sense of self, even as midlife marks the creeping arrival of senior moments and medical issues. Parents have to adapt to an empty nest, which can be an emotional challenge even as it leaves more time and freedom to focus on personal pursuits. Ditto for those who step back from the workplace.
How does bipolar play into all of this? Mood shifts may change or intensify. Medications that worked for decades may lose their potency or start contributing to other health conditions. Yet years of accumulated knowledge can yield a better grasp of how to maintain balance.
Of course, everyones journey with bipolar is different. At 69, Dennis hasnt noticed any differences in his bipolar I symptoms.
They always say that as we get older, we change, he says. Ive been doing well on the same dose of medication for 25 years. Maybe these things happen a little later than people think.
Or maybe some credit goes to Denniss daily walks around Boston and longtime involvement with a local Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance chapter.
One of the cornerstones of aging well is nurturing social connections, Forester says: People who maintain relationships with other people tend to do better. Thats really, really important.
What To Ask A Doctor
A doctor cannot offer a cure for bipolar disorder, but they can support a person with the condition to manage their symptoms.
If their current treatment plan is not working, a person should speak to their doctor about trying different:
Working together with a trusted doctor is the best way to find the right combination of treatments. Effective, consistent treatment can reduce the frequency and severity of mood episodes.
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What Is The Treatment For Bipolar
Treatment for bipolar includes medicines and talk therapy. Medicine can help keep moods stable. But by itself, medicine isnt enough. A person with bipolar needs talk therapy, too.
Each persons treatment is tailored to what they need. A type of talk therapy called DBT helps most people. In this therapy, people can learn skills to manage moods. For example, they can learn to:
- become more mindful of their emotions and thoughts
- manage their emotions
- cope with strong emotions in healthy ways
- set up and follow routines that help keep moods stable
- be patient and kind to themselves
- care for themselves in positive ways
- get along better with others
With time and practice, these skills can become part of a persons daily life.
Therapy also includes making goals and working out ways to move toward them. In therapy, people track their progress. Many find strengths they didnt know they had.
When possible, parents take part in treatment. This helps them understand bipolar moods and how to best respond. It can help families have less conflict, relate better, and feel closer.
How Bipolar Disorder Is Diagnosed And Treated
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness. While some people with BD may have a single episode of mania, often people experience more than one mood episode.
If not treated, BD tends to get worse over time with more frequent, more intense episodes.
The key is to treat the symptoms, so episodes can be managed. Between episodes, people with BD may be free from mood changes. Others may have lingering symptoms. By sticking to a well-rounded treatment plan, it is possible to manage symptoms effectively.
To diagnose BD, a doctor may perform a physical exam and ask questions to rule out other illnesses that may resemble bipolar disorder. To be diagnosed, a person must have at least one episode of mania and one episode of depression. A mental health professional will assess symptoms, patterns in symptoms, and their severity to determine the type of bipolar disorder it may be.
Similar to other mental health issues, bipolar disorder is treated through a combination of things, including medication, therapies, or a variety of other activities. In addition, developing healthy routines including regular sleep, exercise, and avoiding substance use are helpful for people with BD.
The foundation of successful BD treatment involves prescription medications and therapy. The vast majority of people who seek appropriate medical care make some degree of meaningful recovery.
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Does Bipolar Get Worse Without Treatment
Even for individuals who may learn to cope with bipolar episodes on their own, it is difficult to say they ever improve or make progress in achieving a state of well-being without treatment. Medication is almost always critical to effectively manage the fluctuating moods and episodes of an individual diagnosed as bipolar. However, individuals often experience setbacks in therapy when they assume theyre better during a manic episode and stop taking their medication, triggering a depressive state.
Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator
This online resource, provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration , can help you locate mental health treatment facilities and programs. Find a facility in your state by searching SAMHSAs online Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator. For additional resources, visit NIMH’s Help for Mental Illnesses webpage.
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When Does Bipolar Development Begin
Bipolar tendencies can develop during early adolescence, as a teenager, or later on as a young adult. However, it can be difficult to make an early diagnosis since many of the symptoms of bipolar overlap with the natural tendencies of hormone fluctuations and puberty that occur at those ages. Negative symptoms may also seem to get better or go away for extended periods. As a result, bipolar is often diagnosed later in life after it has already fully developed into a more acute form. At that point, the individual can try to cope with episodes, but mood fluctuations may increase in intensity until one has no choice but to seek professional treatment.
Can Bipolar Go Into Remission For Years
Yes, many people with bipolar disorder suffer from remissions. When a person is in remission, he or she no longer displays symptoms of the illness. There are two types of remissions: full remission, in which the person shows no signs of illness, and partial remission, in which the person experiences fewer symptoms than before..
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Treatments For Bipolar Disorder
The high and low phases of bipolar disorder are often so extreme that they interfere with everyday life.
But there are several options for treating bipolar disorder that can make a difference.
They aim to control the effects of an episode and help someone with bipolar disorder live life as normally as possible.
The following treatment options are available:
- medicine to prevent episodes of mania and depression these are known as mood stabilisers, and you take them every day on a long-term basis
- medicine to treat the main symptoms of depression and mania when they happen
- learning to recognise the triggers and signs of an episode of depression or mania
- psychological treatment such as talking therapy, which can help you deal with depression, and provides advice about how to improve your relationships
- lifestyle advice such as doing regular exercise, planning activities you enjoy that give you a sense of achievement, as well as advice on improving your diet and getting more sleep
It’s thought using a combination of different treatment methods is the best way to control bipolar disorder.
Help and advice for people with a long-term condition or their carers is also available from charities, support groups and associations.
This includes self-help and learning to deal with the practical aspects of a long-term condition.
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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Can You Fully Recover From Bipolar Disorder
There are many people with bipolar disorder who have fully recovered and you can too! Recovery means that your moods are stable and you do not experience any symptoms from bipolar disorder. It also means that you feel well, function well and are happy. Recovery is a process and not an event. It is a series of many small steps forward and sometimes small steps back. It is a process that takes time, effort, support and patience. You will need to visit your healthcare provider for help and treatment for bipolar disorder. The most important thing that you can do for yourself is to work with your healthcare provider. This is the person who will help you figure out and obtain the treatments that your body best responds to. You may want to use the mood chart to help you keep track of your moods and your symptoms..
What Are The Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder
Symptoms of bipolar disorder can vary. An individual with the disorder may have manic episodes, depressive episodes, or mixed episodes. A mixed episode has both manic and depressive symptoms. These mood episodes cause symptoms that last a week or two, or sometimes longer. During an episode, the symptoms last every day for most of the day. Feelings are intense and happen with changes in behavior, energy levels, or activity levels that are noticeable to others. In between episodes, mood usually returns to a healthy baseline. But in many cases, without adequate treatment, episodes occur more frequently as time goes on.
|Symptoms of a Manic Episode||Symptoms of a Depressive Episode|
|Feeling very up, high, elated, or extremely irritable or touchy||Feeling very down or sad, or anxious|
|Feeling jumpy or wired, more active than usual||Feeling slowed down or restless|
|Racing thoughts||Trouble concentrating or making decisions|
|Trouble falling asleep, waking up too early, or sleeping too much|
|Talking fast about a lot of different things||Talking very slowly, feeling unable to find anything to say, or forgetting a lot|
|Excessive appetite for food, drinking, sex, or other pleasurable activities||Lack of interest in almost all activities|
|Feeling able to do many things at once without getting tired||Unable to do even simple things|
|Feeling unusually important, talented, or powerful||Feeling hopeless or worthless, or thinking about death or suicide|
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Bipolar Disorder In Children And Teens Is Not Uncommon
Bipolar disorder is typically diagnosed during later teen years or early adulthood. However, symptoms of BD can often show up in young children.
It can be difficult to tell whether teens are experiencing normal mood swings or showing signs of a serious mental health condition.
Its important for parents, caregivers, friends, and family members to watch for mood swings that differ from typical behavior. Behavioral changes can be a sign of the onset of a mental health concern.
The most important thing to do if you are concerned is to ask for help. Even if the child is not diagnosed with bipolar disorder, there may be another mental health issue that needs to be addressed.
Tip : Develop An Active Daily Routine
Your lifestyle choices, including your sleeping, eating, and exercise patterns, have a significant impact on your moods. There are many things you can do in your daily life to get your symptoms under control and to keep depression and mania at bay.
Build structure into your life. Developing and sticking to a daily schedule can help stabilize the mood swings of bipolar disorder. Include set times for sleeping, eating, socializing, exercising, working, and relaxing. Try to maintain a regular pattern of activity even through emotional ups and downs.
Exercise frequently and avoid sitting for long periods of time.Exercise has a beneficial impact on mood and may reduce the number of bipolar episodes you experience. Aerobic exercise such as running, swimming dancing, climbing or drumming all activities that keep both arms and legs active are especially effective at treating depression. Try to incorporate at least 30 minutes of activity into your daily routine. Ten minutes here and there is just as effective as exercising for longer periods of time. Walking is a good choice for people of all fitness levels.
Keep a strict sleep schedule. Getting too little sleep can trigger mania, so its important to get plenty of rest. For some people, losing even a few hours can cause problems. However, too much sleep can also worsen your mood. The best advice is to maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
Healthy sleep habits for managing bipolar disorder
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How Do Doctors Diagnose Bipolar Disorder
Theres no blood test or medical test for bipolar disorder. To diagnose bipolar, a mental health doctor meets with you. They ask questions about your moods, thoughts, feelings, and health. They ask about how youre doing in your life and problems youre having. They listen and talk with you, and with your parent. They also check for other conditions that can cause mood symptoms. This can take a few visits.
If a doctor finds that you have bipolar, they will talk more about it with you. They will explain the treatment plan that can help you.
Tip : Monitor Your Symptoms And Moods
In order to stay well, its important to be closely attuned to the way you feel. By the time obvious symptoms of mania or depression appear, it is often too late to intercept the mood swing, so keep a close watch for subtle changes in your mood, sleeping patterns, energy level, and thoughts. If you catch the problem early and act swiftly, you may be able to prevent a minor mood change from turning into a full-blown episode of mania or depression.
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Can Bipolar Go Away On Its Own
Bipolar disorder is known as manic-depressive illness or manic depression. The difference between bipolar disorder and general depression is the presence of highs or manic episodes. Bipolar is less common than depression, affecting about 2.4 million American adults, or about 1.4% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. It is about 4 times more common in women than men. The cause of bipolar disorder is not completely understood. It appears that a combination of genetic vulnerability and environmental factors play a role in its development. Bipolar disorder seems to run in families, and several genes have been linked to the disorder..
Study Suggests Bipolar Disorder May Cause Progressive Brain Damage
A study by researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center indicates that people with bipolar disorder may suffer progressive brain damage.
For the first time, our study supports the idea that there may be on-going damage to certain regions of the brain as the illness progresses, said the studys lead author Raymond Deicken, MD. Deicken is the medical director of the Psychiatric Partial Hospital Program at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and UCSF associate professor of psychiatry.
The study appears in the May issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.
More than 2 million Americans suffer from bipolar disorder, commonly known as manic depression. To date, there are no physiological markers used to diagnose the disease. Instead, it is identified by behavioral symptoms, including frequent mood swings between high-energy mania and severe depression.
Deicken and his colleagues compared brain scans of 15 non-symptomatic male patients with familial bipolar I disorder to those of 20 healthy male comparison subjects. Male subjects were chosen to control for the effects of gender. In addition, test subjects were chosen based on several previous studies showing -that patients who have inherited the disorder have more prominent changes in brain structure and function.
The hippocampus is also important from a therapeutic standpoint since it is one of two brain regions where new neuronal growth, or neurogenesis, can occur, offering hope for reversal of damage.
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Natural Remedies For Treating Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder involves extreme shifts in mood, energy, and levels of activity. Medications can help people manage symptoms, but these can have adverse effects. A number of natural remedies may also help.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimate that around 2.6 percent of people in the United States have bipolar disorder, and nearly 83 percent of cases are severe. On average, it starts when a person is 25 years old.
A person with bipolar disorder experiences times of severe depression and times of mania, or high mood. The risks during a low mood include an inability to function at work and in other areas of life.
During mania, the person may be at risk of making reckless decisions. If the mood becomes too high or low, psychosis can develop.
There is no cure for bipolar disorder, but treatment enables people to manage it. Some lifestyle adaptations can also help, alongside the medication.