How To Get A Bipolar Diagnosis
If you suspect that you have bipolar disorder, or you’re displaying common symptoms, Madan recommends making an appointment with your primary care physician or a psychiatrist as soon as possible.;;
Additionally, he says to go directly to the emergency room if you’re ever strongly considering harming yourself or another person. You can also call a free, confidential hotline like the National Suicide Prevention lifeline or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s helpline.;
A doctor will evaluate you for bipolar disorder by reviewing your symptoms and asking questions about your personal and family history. They may also run a few medical tests to rule out any other problems that might be causing your symptoms, including diagnostic and lab tests like blood tests, x-rays, MRI scans, and other physical scans.;
Mental health conditions that have some symptoms in common with bipolar disorder include:
- Borderline Personality Disorder . Symptoms of BPD include mood swings and impulsive behavior, both of which are seen in bipolar disorder as well.;
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder . Symptoms of ADHD include periods of hyperactivity, which could be conflated with mania.;;;
How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed
Bipolar disorder is diagnosed through a clinical interview with a licensed mental health professional, explains Simon A. Rego, PsyD, Chief Psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
Sometimes, the mental health professional will also ask the person to complete some assessment measures to aid in the diagnosis, Rego says. They may also ask to speak with a family member or partner, or other significant person in the persons life, in order to get additional information about the impact the disorder has had on the person and their relationships.
What Should You Do If You Suspect Someone Has Bipolar Disorder
Now that you know the major signs to look for, it is important to know what to do with this information. After all, this knowledge is most useful as a platform to act.
If you suspect someone you know has bipolar disorder, the first thing to do is to recognize that only a trained mental health professional can make a diagnosis. Youre not here to diagnose or judge you are here to help and support the ones you care about.
One of the best things you can do upfront is to learn more about bipolar disorder. Our website is a great start, especially for gaining a first-person perspective. You can also look into professional resources from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Alliance of Mental Illness, and the American Psychiatric Association.
Open a Line of Communication
Once you are ready, you can start a conversation with the person in question. Keep in mind that bipolar does not mean unaware they may have the same suspicions as you, or they may not. As such, it is important to approach them with compassion, kindness, and sensitivity. Do not force them into an intervention or press the issue if they are unreceptive.
Find Them Help
Find Them Help and ResourcesWhen they are ready, you can encourage your loved one to seek professional help. If you are willing and able, you can mention that you will help them do research or make an appointment with a doctor or psychiatrist.
Be Prepared With Alternatives
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Signs The Man Youre Dating Has Bipolar Disorder
Signs of bipolar in a man can are hugely variable, and they won’t be the same for everyone. While it’s true that men and women experience bipolar disorder in similar ways, the effects of the condition may be different depending on hormones, brain chemicals and environmental factors. Men often exhibit symptoms of bipolar differently than women, so it helps to know what to look out for. With this in mind, what are the signs the man you’re dating has bipolar, and what should you do if you spot them?
Bipolar Disorder In Children And Teens
Does your child go through extreme changes in mood and behavior? Does your child get much more excited or much more irritable than other kids? Do you notice that your child goes through cycles of extreme highs and lows more often than other children? Do these mood changes affect how your child acts at school or at home?
Some children and teens with these symptoms may have bipolar disorder, a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and day-to-day functioning. With treatment, children and teens with bipolar disorder can get better over;time.
You Dont Have To Go Through A Depressive Episode To Be Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder
One of the myths about this mental issue is that you HAVE to feel depressed once in a while. However, thats not correct. According to Dr. Sportell, some patients only undergo the manic phases, which are the opposite of depressive episodes.
Taking the AM I DEPRESSED quiz is a better idea if you constantly feel hopeless and down.
The Keys To Bipolar Disorder Self
Get educated. Learn as much as you can about bipolar disorder. The more you know, the better youll be at assisting your own recovery.
Get moving. Exercise has a beneficial impact on mood;and may reduce the number of bipolar episodes you experience. Aerobic exercise that activates arm and leg movement such as running, walking, swimming, dancing, climbing or drumming may be especially beneficial to your brain and nervous system.
Keep stress in check. Avoid high-stress situations, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and try relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.
Seek support. Its important to have people you can turn to for help and encouragement. Try joining a support group or talking to a trusted friend. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness and it wont mean youre a burden to others. In fact, most friends will be flattered that you trust them enough to confide in them, and it will only strengthen your relationship.
Stay closely connected to friends and family. Nothing is as calming to the nervous system as face-to-face contact with caring supportive people who can just listen to you talk about what youre experiencing.
Make healthy choices. Healthy sleeping and eating habits can help stabilize your moods. Keeping a regular sleep schedule is particularly important.
Monitor your moods. Keep track of your symptoms and watch for signs that your moods are swinging out of control so you can stop the problem before it starts.
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Reason #: More People Are In Danger These Days
According to Statista, 0.59 percent of the population suffered from Bipolar Disorder from 1990 to 2013. However, the number of patients has increased by 0.01 during the last seven years. That means more people are ending up struggling with this condition. So, its best to be cautious rather than ignorant.
Taking the am I Bipolar quiz can lead to an early diagnosis and proper treatments.
Reason #2: People with This Disorder Have Shorter Lifespan
Dr. Sportell says, the numbers suggest that people with this condition have shorter lifespan by fifteen years. So, ignoring your symptoms could be terminal in some way. However, by taking the am I Bipolar quiz, you can notice the possibilities before its too late.
Bipolar Disorder And Substance Abuse Can Go Hand In Hand
Substance abuse often complicates the diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder. Substance abuse is bipolar disorder’s partner in crime. Some studies show that as many as 60% of people with bipolar disorder also abuse drugs or alcohol. Untreated substance abuse can make it virtually impossible to manage the mood symptoms of bipolar disorder if both disorders are present. It can also be hard to make a confident diagnosis of bipolar disorder when someone is actively abusing substances that cause mood swings.
Substances such as alcohol and cocaine can also cloud the picture in bipolar disorder. For example, people high on cocaine can appear manic when they’re actually intoxicated,Ã or have a depression “crash” when the drug wears off. Some people with bipolar disorder use drugs and alcohol as a part of the impulsivity and recklessness of mania. Others may have an independent substance use disorder, which requires its own treatment. Substance abuse may make bipolar episodes more frequent or severe, and medicines used to treat bipolar disorder are usually less effective when someone is using alcohol or illicit drugs.
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Depressive Symptoms In Children
Symptoms of a childs depressive episode caused by bipolar disorder can include:
- moping around or acting very sad
- sleeping too much or too little
- having little energy for normal activities or showing no signs of interest in anything
- complaining about not feeling well, including having frequent headaches or stomachaches
- experiencing feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- eating too little or too much
- thinking about death and possibly suicide
What Is Rapid Cycling
Some people with bipolar disorder develop rapid cycling where they experience four or more episodes of mania or depression within a 12-month period. Mood swings can occur very quickly, like a rollercoaster randomly moving from high to low and back again over a period of days or even hours. Rapid cycling can leave you feeling dangerously out of control and most commonly occurs if your bipolar disorder symptoms are not being adequately treated.
The different faces of bipolar disorder
Bipolar I Disorder This is the classic manic-depressive form of the illness, characterized by at least one manic episode or mixed episode. Usuallybut not alwaysBipolar I Disorder also involves at least one episode of depression.
Bipolar II Disorder In Bipolar II disorder, you dont experience full-blown manic episodes. Instead, the illness involves episodes of hypomania and severe depression.
Cyclothymia Cyclothymia is a milder form of bipolar disorder that consists of cyclical mood swings. However, the symptoms are less severe than full-blown mania or depression.
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Keep Taking Your Medication
Dont stop your bipolar medication because of sexual side effects. Stopping your bipolar medication can trigger a manic or depressive episode.
Talk with your doctor if you think your medication is lowering your sex drive too much. They may be able to adjust your dosage or help you choose a different medication.
Tips On How To Tell Someone You Have Bipolar Disorder
At some point, those of us with bipolar need to tell others we have bipolar disorder; but the question is, how do you tell someone you have bipolar disorder in a way that avoids negative outcomes? This is something I have wrestled with and its something I get asked about a lot. Here are some tips on how to tell someone you have bipolar disorder.
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How Does It Affect People
Bipolar disorder affects both men and women. For many people, the first symptoms show up in their early twenties. However, research has shown that the first episode of bipolar disorder is occurring earlier: It often shows up in adolescence, and even children can have the disorder.
Recent research suggests that kids and teens with bipolar disorder don’t always have the same behavioral patterns that adults with bipolar disorder do. For example, kids who have bipolar disorder may experience particularly rapid mood changes and may have some of the other mood-related symptoms listed below, such as irritability and high levels of anxiety. But they may not show other symptoms that are more commonly seen in adults.
Because brain function is involved, the ways people with bipolar disorder think, act, and feel are all affected. This can make it especially difficult for other people to understand their condition. It can be incredibly frustrating if other people act as though someone with bipolar disorder should just “snap out of it,” as if a person who is sick can become well simply by wanting to.
Bipolar disorder isn’t a sign of weakness or a character flaw; it’s a serious medical condition that requires treatment, just like any other condition.
What Should I Know About Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so that others may be better helped in the future.
Researchers at NIMH and around the country conduct clinical trials with patients and healthy volunteers. Talk to your health care provider about clinical trials, their benefits and risks, and whether one is right for you. For more information, visit the NIMH Clinical Trials webpage.
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Severe Fluctuations In Mood
Bipolar children are more likely to have rapid cycling, moving back and forth between a depressed mood and a manic mood over a shorter period of time or even within the same day. Its common to see a pattern of severe fluctuations in mood, energy, and daily routines, which lead to difficulty in functioning in school, with friends, or at home, says Helena Verdeli, PhD, assistant professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University.
Can People Tell They Are Bipolar
People can often tell that something is wrong , but may not always be able to accurately label it as bipolar. For example, it is frequently easy for people to know when they are depressed, but sometimes symptoms of mania go unnoticed, or feel good, so they are not as easily seen as an issue, says Simon A. Rego, PsyD, Chief Psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
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Signs Of Bipolar Disorder In Men
Bipolar signs in men, outlined by the DSM-5, are the same as they are for women. However, the symptoms of bipolar disorder may present differently according to gender.
The most common signs of bipolar disorder in men include:
Cycles of mania and depression: Defined by a state of euphoria, fast speech, lots of different ideas or intense anger or irritability, mania affects people with bipolar I disorder. People with bipolar II disorder typically experience cycles of hypomania and major depression.
High self-esteem: High self-esteem or extreme confidence often presents in mania. However, these symptoms can be conflated with expressing masculinity, so it can be difficult to differentiate this from “normal” behavior.
Denial anything is wrong: Some men struggle to admit that anything is wrong when theyre experiencing mental health issues, particularly if they exist in a society where theyre expected not to show emotion.
Poor decision-making and reckless behavior: Risk-taking behavior in men might include hyperactivity, sleeplessness, hypersexuality, abusing alcohol or drugs, excessive spending and other pleasure-seeking behaviors.
Symptom Awareness & Management Can Lead To Bipolar Stability
If you recognize yourself in these symptoms, write them down. Memorize them. When they show up again, you will be able to stop yourself from acting on the symptoms.
I was rude to someone during the episode that compelled me to write this list, and I felt terrible. I knew I was sick, and I knew I needed to be careful, but this illness is strong! I apologized and went into management mode; the episode was gone by the evening.
I believe that the secret to stability is the awareness and management of symptoms.
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Information For Family Carers And Friends
How can I get support?
You can speak to your GP. You should be given your own assessment through NHS mental health services to work out what effect your caring role is having on your health. And what support you need. Such as practical support and emergency support.
These are some other options for you:
- Join a carers service
- Join a carers support group
- Ask your local authority for a carers assessment
- Read about the condition
- Apply for welfare benefits for carers
Rethink Mental Illness run carers support groups in some areas. You can also search for groups on the Carers Trust website:
- Rethink Mental Illness: www.rethink.org/about-us/our-support-groups
- Carers Trust: www.carers.org/search/network-partners;
How can I support the person I care for?
You might find it easier to support someone with bipolar disorder if you understand their symptoms, treatment and self-management skills.
You should be aware of what you can do if you are worried about their mental state. It can be helpful to know contact information for their mental health team or GP.
You could find out from your relative if they have a crisis plan. You could help your relative to make a crisis plan if they dont have one.
As a carer you should be involved in decisions about care planning. But you dont have a legal right to this. The medical team should encourage the person that you care for to allow information to be shared with you.
You can find out more information about:
When Youre Married To Someone With Bipolar Disorder
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Learn more about bipolar disorder and relationships by reading our relationship blogs.
Bipolar disorder wears many faces. There are as many experiences with bipolar disorder as there are people with bipolar. These experiences run the gamut from wonderful and exciting to confusing, disappointing and devastating. This article addresses some of the issues that can arise when dealing with a spouse with bipolar disorder.
Like all individuals, people with bipolar disorder have many good attributes, but at times, they also display less desirable qualities, such as being withdrawn, irritable, moody, and depressed. ;They may be affectionate and loving sometimes and then cold and distant at other times. The person may welcome and enjoy sex one day, while rejecting affection the next day. These erratic behaviors can be quite challenging for all concerned, especially spouses. ;
At times the person with bipolar disorder may experience manic or hypomanic episodes during which they can be fun, interesting, talkative, upbeat and full of energy. At other times, the person may experience depression that effects them physically, spiritually and soulfully. The spouse might feel confused, not knowing how to deal with certain behaviors.;
- Academic struggles
- Reckless behavior
- Extreme defiance
- Controlling behaviors
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
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