Are There Different Types Of Bipolar Disorder
There are a few types of bipolar disorder, including:
Bipolar I disorder: With this type, you have extreme erratic behavior, with manic âupâ periods that last at least a week or are so severe that you need medical care. There are also usually extreme âdownâ periods that last at least 2 weeks.
Bipolar II disorder: With this type, you also have erratic highs and lows, but it isnât as extreme as bipolar I.
Cyclothymic disorder: This type involves periods of manic and depressive behavior that last at least 2 years in adults or 1 year in children and teens. The symptoms arenât as intense as bipolar disorder I or bipolar disorder II.
“Unspecified” or “other specified” bipolar disorder is now used to describe conditions in which a person has only a few of the mood and energy symptoms that define a manic or hypomanic episode, or the symptoms may not last long enough to be considered as clear-cut “episodes.”
Rapid cycling is not a type of bipolar disorder, but a term used to describe the course of illness in people with bipolar I or II disorder. It applies when mood episodes occur four or more times over a 1-year period. Women are more likely to have this type of illness course than men, and it can come and go at any time in the course of bipolar disorder. Rapid cycling is driven largely by depression and carries an increased risk for suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
How Can You Help Someone With Bipolar Disorder
Dealing with the ups and downs of bipolar disorder can be difficultand not just for the person with the illness. The moods and behaviors of a person with bipolar disorder affect everyone aroundespecially family members and close friends. It can put a strain on your relationship and disrupt all aspects of family life.
During a manic episode, you may have to cope with reckless antics, outrageous demands, explosive outbursts, and irresponsible decisions. And once the whirlwind of mania has passed, it often falls on you to deal with the consequences. During episodes of depression, you may have to pick up the slack for a loved one who doesnt have the energy to meet responsibilities at home or work.
The good news is that most people with bipolar disorder can stabilize their moods with proper treatment, medication, and support. Your patience, love, and understanding can play a significant part in your loved ones treatment and recovery. Often, just having someone to talk to can make all the difference to their outlook and motivation.
But caring for a person with bipolar disorder can also take a toll if you neglect your own needs, so its important to find a balance between supporting your loved one and taking care of yourself.
Do People With Bipolar Know They Have It
Bipolar disorder is a pretty common mental health condition. About 1 in 40 American adults live with it. Its common in children and adolescents, but it usually doesnt get diagnosed until adulthoodit can take up to ten years from the time a person experiences symptoms to the time they actually get diagnosed!
So no, not everyone who has bipolar disorder knows they have it. There are lots of reasons why someone with bipolar disorder might not realize itor why they might deny having it even if they do. If you think someone you know might have untreated bipolar disorder, there are a few things you can do to help.
Bipolar Disorder And The Family
Living with a person who has bipolar disorder can cause stress and tension in the home. On top of the challenge of dealing with your loved ones symptoms and their consequences, family members often struggle with feelings of guilt, fear, anger, and helplessness. Ultimately, the strain can cause serious relationship problems. But there are better ways to cope.
The first step to successfully dealing with bipolar disorder is for families to learn to accept the illness and its difficulties. When youre feeling frustrated or guilty, remember that bipolar disorder isnt anyones fault. Accepting bipolar disorder involves acknowledging that things may never again be normal.
Treatment can make a huge difference for your loved one, but it may not take care of all symptoms or impairments. To avoid disappointment and resentments, its important to have realistic expectations. Expecting too much of your family member can be a recipe for failure. On the other hand, expecting too little can also hinder their recovery, so try to find a balance between encouraging independence and providing support.
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Overview Of Bipolar Disorder
If you want to know how to support a friend or loved one with bipolar disorder, learning more about the condition can be a helpful first step. Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by extreme fluctuations in mood. These shifts in mood make it difficult for a person to function in their daily life including at work, at home, and in relationships.
The mood fluctuations that people experience can include mania, hypomania, depression, and mixed episodes. It is also important to recognize that bipolar disorder is strongly influenced by genetics, but environmental factors, such as poor social support and trauma, are also thought to play a role in triggering the onset of the condition.
Statistics suggest that around 4.4% of adults in the U.S. have bipolar disorder.
Some things that you should never say to someone who has bipolar disorder include the following.
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Dealing With These Bipolar Thoughts
People with bipolar disorder are constantly trying to figure out what a normal and reasonable thought process and reaction would be in any given situation. Were constantly trying to overcome how our bipolar brain naturally thinks in order to have healthy interactions and healthy relationships. Were constantly trying to deal with the extremeness of our thoughts internally so we dont thrust them on the external world.
And this is beyond difficult. Trying to defeat the way a bipolar brain thinks is nigh-on impossible. Dealing with bipolar thoughts is a full-time gig and an exhausting one at that. But it is important. Because if we dont moderate our own thoughts and deal with them appropriately, we cant hope to have healthy relationships with others. And if that happens then all those pesky catastrophes we worried needlessly about will have come true.
Is A Bipolar Person Conscious About What Is Right And Wrong At The Time They Do Something Wrong
The answer is a YES and NO depends on the person, and how severely ill they might have been at the time the behaviour happened. For many of us living with bipolar disorder, we can experience psychotic episodes at some point during our illness. Psychosis involves loss of touch with reality. So during that time, someone with bipolar disorder may be acting under the hallucinations or delusions. Under these circumstances, we arent aware of our actions.
Bad sleeping patterns or insomnia, is a common problem for people with bipolar disorder. Sleep is extremely important, and sleep disturbance most often triggers mood episodes. I monitor my sleeping, and over the years have learned that on my 3rd night of disruptive sleep or lack of sleep I should start to worry and also mention it to a family member. Its also important to distinguish what kind of sleeping problem you are having, is it trying to fall asleep but unable to? Or is it that feeling of not needing to sleep, or is it just feeling tired constantly That feeling of tiredness is usually linked to the depressive side of bipolar whereas the not needing to sleep can be linked to the mania side.
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Treating Bipolar Disorder And Lying
Cognitive behavioral therapy, known as CBT, could help your loved one identify the lying behavior, as well as what triggers the lying. CBT can teach someone how to overcome lying and develop healthier behaviors, all while in a structured environment.
Talk therapy may also help your loved one work through what theyre experiencing and learn effective coping skills. Find out about more treatments for bipolar disorder.
Burden Of Bipolar Disorder
The lifetime prevalence range for bipolar disorder is 1.4 to 6.4 percent worldwide.57 Bipolar disorder is considered both chronic and disabling,8 with significant risk of mortality as the lifetime risk of suicide is 20 times that of the general population.9 This illness also carries significant economic costs and was ranked as the sixth leading contributor to disability in 1990 World Health Organization figures.10 One study reported a seven-fold increase in the likelihood of missed work in people diagnosed with bipolar disorder.6 Another study concluded that when a woman is diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 25, she might lose nine years of life, 12 years of normal health, and 14 years of effective functioning.11
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I Wish I Was Manic So I Could Get Things Done
That’s not all there is to mania. There are many symptoms of mania, and comments like this not only trivialize a person’s experience with mania but also demonstrate a harmful lack of understanding of what mania actually is. While a person may indeed have a lot of energy during a manic episode, they can also experience racing thoughts, trouble sleeping, and impulsive behavior among other challenges.
What Are The Causes Of Bipolar Disorder
There is no single cause of bipolar disorder. Researchers are studying how a few factors may lead to it in some people.
For example, sometimes it can simply be a matter of genetics, meaning you have it because it runs in your family. The way your brain develops may also play a role, but scientists arenât exactly sure how or why.
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Bipolar Disorder Deserves To Be Taken As Seriously As Any Other Chronic Health Condition
Bipolar disorder is a disease that is serious and deadly just like cancer and heart disease. People dont understand that and dismiss the disorder as something that is easy to fix or get overits not, Mike says.
A recent example of this is a man saying to me, Watch a good movie and youll feel better, Mike recalls. My dad would say to me when I was in my teens and 20s and showing symptoms of bipolar disorder to find yourself a new girlfriend and youll feel better. This is a complex disorder and difficult to manage, but that does not register with people.
What You Can Do To Get The Proper Diagnosis
Being correctly diagnosed is an important step toward getting the right treatment for your bipolar disorder so you can manage your condition and live a healthy, active, and fulfilling life.
One of the most important things you can do to increase your chances of receiving an accurate diagnosis is to talk with your doctor about all of your symptoms and emotions both the good and the bad says Schwartz. It helps to create a fuller picture of your experience, he explains.
Once you receive your diagnosis, you can always ask your doctor about their reasoning, especially if you have any doubts or questions, notes Zimmerman. Ask the doctor why they have made the diagnosis, he says. A good doctor should be willing to discuss the reasons and to explain if theyre uncertain about it. If you dont receive satisfactory answers, he adds, an opinion from another doctor may be in order.
Additional reporting by Deborah Shapiro and Jessica Migala
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Bipolar Disorder Is Something You Have To Learn To Manage For The Rest Of Your Life
Bipolar is a lifelong diagnosis that starts usually in the late teens or early 20s, Dr. Marsh says. And, ideally, very soon after those first mood-elevated episodes, that person is getting word from the appropriate experts and clinicians that they are at risk for the rest of their lives of having another .
So, a person with bipolar will very likely be on medication and working with a therapist all throughout their life. The symptoms don’t magically disappear because I go to therapy and I have medication and I’ve taken the time and effort to develop coping mechanisms, Emma says. Having a mental health disorder is like having a cold, but the cold is in your head. Sometimes I need to sleep a little more. Sometimes my appetite isn’t there. And I need my medication to help the process along.
What If Im Not Happy With My Treatment
If you arent happy with your treatment you can:
- talk to your doctor about your treatment options,
- ask for a second opinion,
- get an advocate to help you speak to your doctor,
- contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service , or
- make a complaint.
There is more information about these options below.
How can I speak to my doctor about my treatment options?
You can speak to your doctor about your treatment. Explain why you arent happy with it. You could ask what other treatments you could try.
Tell your doctor if there is a type of treatment that you would like to try. Doctors should listen to your preference. If you arent given this treatment, ask your doctor to explain why it isnt suitable for you.
Whats a second opinion?
A second opinion means that you would like a different doctor to give their opinion about what treatment you should have. You can also ask for a second opinion if you disagree with your diagnosis.
You dont have a right to a second opinion. But your doctor should listen to your reason for wanting a second opinion.
What is advocacy?
An advocate is independent from the mental health service. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard.
There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like. NHS complaints advocates can help you if you want to complain about the NHS.
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And It Can Take Clinicians A Long Time To Diagnose Bipolar Disorder Properly
It can take 10 years in some cases to diagnose bipolar disorder correctly, Dr. Galynker says. Especially if you have someone who has subclinical symptoms, oftentimes in cases of bipolar II, when hypomania isnt affecting a persons ability to function.
Mike, 66, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1988, but he remembers recognizing his mood swings as early on as 1980, he tells SELF. I recall keeping a calendar at work where I logged how I felt, he says. I was trying to track my own rhythmmy up and down time, so I knew when to plan events, like vacations.
Emma says she was originally diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and mild depression. Then, last year, she was diagnosed with bipolar II. We get help when we’re at our worst, so you get diagnosed based on the symptoms you’re evincing, she explains. But the thing about bipolar disorder is that it’s all dependent on patterns. If no one asks you to work backwards in your own timeline, you can’t figure out those patterns.
How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed
If you or someone you know has symptoms of bipolar disorder, talk to your family doctor or a psychiatrist. They will ask questions about mental illnesses that you, or the person you’re concerned about, have had, and any mental illnesses that run in the family. The person will also get a complete psychiatric evaluation to tell if they have likely bipolar disorder or another mental health condition.
Diagnosing bipolar disorder is all about the person’s symptoms and determining whether they may be the result of another cause . How severe are they? How long have they lasted? How often do they happen?
The most telling symptoms are those that involve highs or lows in mood, along with changes in sleep, energy, thinking, and behavior.
Talking to close friends and family of the person can often help the doctor distinguish bipolar disorder from major depressive disorder or other psychiatric disorders that can involve changes in mood, thinking, and behavior.
If you have just been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you might feel frightened. The future may seem terribly uncertain. What will this mean for your life, your family, and your job?
But getting an accurate diagnosis is actually good news. It means you can finally get the treatment you need. People with bipolar disorder usually go about 10 years before being accurately diagnosed.
If you think your child might have bipolar disorder, ask your doctor for a referral to a child psychologist whoâs familiar with bipolar disorder.
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How Getting The Wrong Diagnosis Can Be Harmful
For individuals who are misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder, one potential pitfall may involve health problems that result from taking the prescription drugs used to treat the condition, according to Zimmerman. He notes that some medications, including atypical antipsychotics, can increase the risk for high cholesterol and diabetes, while others, such as lithium, have been linked to thyroid and kidney problems.
Conversely, up to 20 percent of people with bipolar disorder may be mistakenly diagnosed with depression by their primary care doctors, according to a study published in July 2011 in the British Journal of Psychiatry. And another study, published in August 2017 in the journal Bipolar Disorders, analyzed the delay in diagnosis of 382 people with bipolar disorder and found that 90 of those individuals initially received a diagnosis of depression before being correctly diagnosed. According to the study, the lag between diagnoses was about nine years. The patients who were originally diagnosed with depression tended to be younger, have more manic symptoms, and have better coping skills, which perhaps helped them function throughout the day and contributed to the delay in getting the correct diagnosis.
These findings arent surprising, says Jeremy Schwartz, a psychotherapist in Brooklyn, New York. Bipolar disorder can be hard to diagnose, he says, because people often seek professional help only during their down periods and neglect to mention their up, or manic, periods.