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:
Reason #: You Might Unintentionally Hurt You
Manic episodes in people with these conditions can be dangerous. Sometimes the over excitement levels require hospitalization. Thats because the patient becomes likely to hurt themselves as well as others. For instance, Kevin Hines, a best-selling writer, jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge in the act of committing suicide. He is diagnosed with BD.
So, taking the am I Bipolar quiz shows you are a responsible personwho cares not only about themselves but also others.
Conditions That Can Co
Many people with bipolar disorder also may have other mental health disorders or conditions such as:
- Psychosis. Sometimes people who have severe episodes of mania or depression also have psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions. The psychotic symptoms tend to match the persons extreme mood. For example:
- Someone having psychotic symptoms during a manic episode may falsely believe that he or she is famous, has a lot of money, or has special powers.
- Someone having psychotic symptoms during a depressive episode may believe he or she is financially ruined and penniless or has committed a crime.
Some bipolar disorder symptoms are like those of other illnesses, which can lead to misdiagnosis. For example, some people with bipolar disorder who also have psychotic symptoms can be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia. Some physical health conditions, such as thyroid disease, can mimic the moods and other symptoms of bipolar disorder. Street drugs sometimes can mimic, provoke, or worsen mood symptoms.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms
A person with bipolar disorder will go through episodes of mania and at other times experience episodes of depression . These aren’t the normal periods of happiness and sadness that everyone experiences from time to time. Instead, the episodes are intense or severe mood swings, like a pendulum that keeps arcing higher and higher.
Symptoms of mania include:
- anger, worry, and anxiety
- thoughts of death or suicide
In adults, episodes of mania or depression usually last for weeks or months, although they can be shorter in length. In children and adolescents, though, these episodes can be much shorter, and a kid or teen can even go back and forth between mania and depression throughout the day.
Episodes of mania or depression may happen irregularly and follow an unpredictable pattern or they may be linked, with a manic episode always following a period of depression, or vice versa. Sometimes episodes have a seasonal pattern. Mania in the spring, for example, may be followed by depression in the winter.
Between episodes, someone with bipolar disorder usually returns to normal functioning. For some people, though, there is little or no “break period” between their cycles. These mood swing cycles can change slowly or rapidly, with rapid cycling between mania and depression being much more common in women, children, and adolescents.
What Can I Do If I Think A Loved One Has Bipolar Disorder
If you suspect that a loved one has bipolar disorder, talk with the person about your concerns. Ask if you can make a doctorâs appointment for the person and offer to accompany the person to the visit. Here are some tips:
Bring with you a summary of all medications that you are taking. Some medicines can have negative effects on mood and could play a part in understanding your symptoms.
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How Do You Know What Type Of Bipolar You Have
The best way to know which type of bipolar disorder you have is, of course, to get a formal diagnosis from a psychotherapist or psychiatrist. But if youre looking at the issue on your own, keep in mind that one of the main differences is psychosis. If you experience psychosis, then youd likely be diagnosed with bipolar disorder type I. If your elevated moods are less than a week, then you likely would be diagnosed with bipolar disorder type II. If you dont quite fit the diagnostic criteria for major depression or hypomania/mania, then you would likely be diagnosed with cyclothymia.
No matter what version of bipolar disorder you have, its important to take it seriously and get treatment. The most effective way of treating bipolar disorder is with both therapy and medication combined.
Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.
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What Can I Expect After Treatment
For most people, a good treatment program can stabilize severe moods and provide effective symptom relief. Treatment that is continual has proven more effective in preventing relapses. Those who also have a substance abuse problem may need more specialized treatment.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/27/2018.
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What Is The Treatment For Mania Hypomania And Depression
You can check what treatment and care is recommended for bipolar disorders on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence website.
NICE produce guidelines for how health professionals should treat certain conditions. You can download these from their website at:
The NHS doesnt have to follow these recommendations. But they should have a good reason for not following them.
What medications are recommended?
Mood stabilisers are usually used to manage mania, hypomania and depressive symptoms.
The mood stabilisers we talk about in this factsheet are:
- Certain benzodiazepine medication
Mania and hypomaniaYou should be offered a mood stabiliser to help manage your mania or hypomania. Your doctor may refer to your medication as antimanic medication.
If you are taking antidepressants your doctor may advise you to withdraw from taking them.
You will usually be offered an antipsychotic first. The common antipsychotics used for the treatment of bipolar disorder are:
If the first antipsychotic you are given doesnt work, then you should be offered a different antipsychotic medication from the list above.
If a different antipsychotic doesnt work, then you may be offered lithium to take alongside it. If the lithium doesnt work you may be offered sodium valproate to take with an antipsychotic. Sodium valproate is an anticonvulsive medication.
Sodium Valproate shouldnt be given to girls or young women who might want to get pregnant.
Children With Adhd And Bipolar Disorder
Although symptoms of bipolar disorder typically donât emerge until early adulthood, children can receive a diagnosis. A child with both ADHD and bipolar disorder will have behavioral outbursts, experience severe mood swings, and act impulsively. If your child with ADHD exhibits an inflated sense of self, demonstrates risky sexual behavior, engages in self-harm, and has little need for sleep, then he or she also may be experiencing mania associated with bipolar disorder.6 A child psychiatrist can help rule out other diagnoses and suggest treatment options.
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Bipolar Disorder Type I
Bipolar disorder type I is what people tend to think of when they imagine bipolar disorder . It is made of up a very elevated mood known as mania and a very low mood called depression.
A person with bipolar disorder type I experiences these moods episodically. He or she may experience a manic episode for two months followed by a three-month depression followed by a symptom-free period .
Manic episodes feature at least one week of profound mood disturbance characterized by elation, irritability, or expansiveness . At least three of the following symptoms must also be present:
- Increased level of goal-focused activity at home, at work or sexually
- Excessive pleasurable activities, often with painful consequences
The mood disturbance is sufficient to cause impairment at work or endanger the person or others. The mood is not the result of substance abuse or a medical condition.
Bipolar depression has the same criteria as major depressive disorder. Major depressive episodes are characterized as: for the same two weeks, the person experiences five or more of the following symptoms, with at least one of the symptoms being either a depressed mood or characterized by a loss of pleasure or interest:
- Depressed mood
- Loss of energy or fatigue
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
- Preoccupation with death or suicide the person has a plan or has attempted suicide
Bipolar Disorder and Psychosis
Engaging In Risky Behavior
A person with bipolar disorder may engage in different risky acts. As mentioned previously, they may leave their job in a manic phase.
Sometimes the behaviors can be even more risky than that. Roughly half of bipolar patients engage in risky sexual behavior during their manic periods. They may have sex without protection and with multiple partners, increasing their risk of getting an STD.
Perhaps this person may start gambling or spending a lot of money. They may buy things they dont need, or they may start drinking alcohol and taking drugs. They may become an adrenaline junkie, engaging in dangerous activities like skydiving.
A persons family members or friends may not notice the risky behaviors. They may only surface when strangers appear at a persons house or after a lot of money has been spent. It is important to keep an eye on a person before they engage in risks.
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Why Do I Need To Take The Am I Bipolar Quiz
People dont google am I Bipolar out of a sudden. You must have felt or observed something. Taking the test is a proper way to look deeper into yourself. Of course, only a trained medic can diagnose your condition. However, a quick quiz could help you figure out whether or not its time to visit a psychiatrist.
Other reasons to take the am I Bipolar quiz are listed below.
How To Get Help
About 2.6% of the U.S. population have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. It usually comes on at about age 25, but it can happen earlier. There are different types, too. Symptoms can happen — or not happen — along a wide spectrum.
A âlife chartâ is a good way to track your moods and help your doctor diagnose whether you have bipolar disorder. Youâll record details about your moods, sleep patterns, and events in your life. If youâre on a manic swing, you might feel âupâ and capable, but a look at the big picture will show you how a âdownâ will follow. The info also will give your doctor a window into your day-to-day — even hour-to-hour — life to decide how best to proceed with treatment if needed.
Special phone apps can help you keep up, too. There are quite a few available to help you track your moods, medications, sleep patterns, and more. One even analyzes how you type on your phone: your rhythm and speed, mistakes, corrections, and other dynamics, but not your content. It then uses this data to gauge your mood and predict bipolar episodes. Just remember that these apps donât take the place of following a treatment plan under your doctorâs care.
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Is There A Difference Between Bipolar Disorder And Bipolar Depression
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by episodes of mania and depression. Depression is unipolar, there is no episode of mania. The term bipolar depression could be used to describe the depressive episodes of someone who experiences both highs and lows of bipolar disorder but is not a clinical diagnosis itself.
Types Of Bipolar Disorders
Bipolar disorder, as discussed in this quiz, is often characterized by extreme moods, they will often come in waves or episodes, the “high” episodes are known as manic episodes, and the “low” episodes are called depressive episodes. Although this quiz is testing for general symptoms of bipolar disorder, there are two types of bipolar disorder, bipolar disorder 1 and bipolar disorder 2.
Bipolar disorder 1 is characterized by at least one manic episode, but no occurrence of a major depressive episode is required for diagnosis with type 1 bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder 1 is often more extreme in the manic episode that it may require hospitalization for full treatment.
Bipolar disorder 2, on the other hand, is characterized by a major depressive episode that lasts at least two weeks and at least one manic episode. However, manic episodes with bipolar disorder are often not as severe as they are with bipolar 1, they are sometimes referred to as hypomanic episodes, and do not usually result in hospitalization.
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How To Know If You Have Bipolar Disorder
If you think you may have bipolar disorder, its important to look at how this mental health condition might be impacting your daily life. While getting a professional diagnosis is the best way to truly determine if you do have bipolar disorder, there are some things you can look for on your own.
In bipolar disorder, mania and depression can act together to create a constant rollercoaster of emotions that most people find difficult to deal with.
To find out how to know if you are bipolar, you can first ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have symptoms of mania and/or symptoms of depression?
- Do you experience episodes of psychosis that are related to another illness?
- Does your depression and/or mania frequently occur in cycles?
- Does your depression and/or mania affect your daily life?
Its important to remember that depression and sadness are two different emotions, and mania and happiness are different as well.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder can often mimic other illnesses like ADHD, major depressive disorder, and schizophrenia. Perhaps surprisingly, they can also mimic non-psychiatric diseases such as syphilis, HIV, and lupus.
These are all reasons that seeking professional help is so essential in getting a diagnosis. Talk to your doctor or a mental health care professional for more about how to know if you are bipolar.
Brain Structure And Function
Researchers are learning that the brain structure and function of people with bipolar disorder may be different from the brain structure and function of people who do not have bipolar disorder or other psychiatric disorders. Learning about the nature of these brain changes helps doctors better understand bipolar disorder and may in the future help predict which types of treatment will work best for a person with bipolar disorder. At this time, diagnosis is based on symptoms rather than brain imaging or other diagnostic tests.
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Mental Health Treatment Locator
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides this online resource for locating mental health treatment facilities and programs. The Mental Health Treatment Locator section of the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator lists facilities providing mental health services to persons with mental illness. Find a facility in your state at www.nimh.nih.gov/findhelp.
Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder
During a depressive episode, a person may experience irritability, persistent sadness, or frequent crying. He or she may have thoughts of death or suicide and lose interest in activities that were previously enjoyable. Other signs include a low energy level, fatigue, poor concentration, and a change in eating or sleeping habits.
During a manic episode, a person may seem unusually happy or excited. He or she may also talk too much and too fast or appear distracted or overly confident and ambitious.
Mania may also involve psychosis, or being out of touch with reality. This symptom can be characterized by hallucinations, which involve hearing or seeing things that arent there, or delusions, which involve believing things that arent supported by evidence.
Other symptoms of mania include experiencing increased energy despite a lack of sleep, driving recklessly, being sexually promiscuous, and engaging in risky behavior, such as abusing drugs or alcohol.
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