Improving Bipolar Symptoms Due To A Medication Change
About two months ago I changed up my bipolar medication slightly. Honestly, no part of me thought it was going to help. Ive had such a bad go of it that I figured a tweak here and a tweak there would amount to nothing in a brain as messed up as mine.
And when I saw my doctor last week I didnt have anything major to report. But then, when I thought about it, I realized that I hadnt been spending my nights sobbing and warding off suicidal and self-harm urges. I told him that my nights were pretty uneventful, actually. And he said, Well, we did change you medication last time.
Thats right. We did. I had actually been so convinced that it would do nothing that when it did do something, I didnt even notice.
What Does It Mean If Your Partner Is Bipolar
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition marked by intense mood changes. People with the illness switch back and forth from mania or hypomania to having episodes of depression.
The lifelong condition tends to run in families, although the cause of bipolar disease is unknown. However, it can often be successfully managed through treatment. There are two primary types of bipolar disorder:
Someone In Your Family Also Has Bipolar Disorder
It is believed there is a genetic component to developing bipolar disorder.
“While scientists have not figured out the exact genes responsible for passing bipolar disorder to children, genetics are considered to be a significant factor in the risk of developing it,” Madan explains.
A 2012 Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience found that people who have a first-degree relative with bipolar disorder have a 15% to 35% greater risk of developing the condition themselves. The likelihood increases to 75% if an individual has two first-degree relatives who have bipolar disorder.
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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.
You Have Another Illness Such As Psychosis Anxiety Adhd Or A Drug Or Alcohol Addiction
Some bipolar disorder symptoms are a lot like other conditions. They can be hard to separate and diagnose.
For example, mania can feature psychotic symptoms. You might think youâre famous or have superpowers. On the flip side, with manic depression, you might think youâve ruined your life in some dramatic way.
People with bipolar disorder also can have:
- A physical disorder such as diabetes, obesity, migraines, or thyroid or heart disease
- Substance abuse problems
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Learn The Differences Between These Two Disorders How To Spot The Signs Of Each And How To Treat Them
Life is turbulent, and changing moods can often be a natural response to stressful situations.
But for some, mood shifts are so extreme that they could be a sign of more serious conditions such as borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder, both of which are characterized in part by major mood swings, according to Frank Yeomans, M.D., Ph.D., director of training at the NewYork-Presbyterian Borderline Personality Disorder Resource Center, an internationally recognized center for the study of personality disorders, and a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine Department of Psychiatry.
This partial similarity in mood shifts, going from an extremely high mood to a very low mood, causes many people, including some clinicians, to confuse the two disorders, says Dr. Yeomans, who is also an adjunct associate professor of psychiatry at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. Yet they are two distinct and serious diagnoses with different symptoms that require different methods of treatment.
Both illnesses affect millions of Americans. Bipolar disorder is estimated to affect 2.8 percent, or roughly 6.5 million adults, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The prevalence of borderline personality disorder is estimated to range from 1.6 to 5.9 percent of the American adult population.
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.
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Can Anxiety Turn Into Bipolar
There is no research evidence that suggests that anxiety can turn into bipolar disorder, 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. People with bipolar disorder may experience feelings of anxiety, however, and may also confuse some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder for symptoms of anxiety.
In addition, some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder can also be associated with some of the anxiety disorders, Rego says. And some people may have both an anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder.
So it’s not always so easy to sort these things out, Rego says. It is much more important to seek professional help if youre experiencing symptoms that are causing you distress or interference in your ability to function in life.
What Are The Long
Bipolar disorder is a life-long and often recurring illness. You may need long term support to help manage your condition.
What medication options are there?
Your doctor will look at what medication worked for you during episodes of mania or depression. They should ask you whether you want to continue this treatment or if you want to change to lithium.
Lithium usually works better than other types of medication for long-term treatment. Your doctor should give you information about how to take lithium safely. If lithium doesn’t work well enough or causes you problems, you may be offered:
- Olanzapine, or
Your doctor should monitor your health. Physical health checks should be done at least once a year. These checks will include:
- measuring your weight,
- checking your liver and heart, and
- checking your pulse and blood pressure.
What psychological treatments are recommended?
You should be offered a psychological therapy that is specially designed for bipolar disorder. You could have individual or group therapy.
The aim of your therapy is to stop you from becoming unwell again. This is known as relapse. Your therapy should help you to:
If you live with your family or are in close contact with them, you should also be offered family intervention.
Family intervention is where you and your family work with mental health professionals to help to manage relationships. This should be offered to people who you live with or who you are in close contact with.
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What Is Bipolar
Before we dive in, lets review the basics of bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder comes in three distinct types:
- Bipolar I is characterized by up to a week of mania, followed by at least two weeks of depression. Bipolar I can also present with mixed episodes wherein symptoms of depression and mania mingle together.
- Bipolar II is marked by periods of depression and hypomania. This type of mania is less severe than the mania of bipolar I. To outsiders, a hypomanic episode may look like being more productive than usual, without many of the usual negative side effects.
- Cyclothymia is characterized by depression lasting at least two years, with periods of hypomania mixed in.
There is also a fourth diagnosis, often called bipolar not otherwise specified . Individuals with bipolar NOS often have symptoms of bipolar in the wrong time frames or with less severity than a normal bipolar diagnosis.
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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How Accurate Is It
This quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by a licensed mental health professional or doctor.
Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns arent legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.
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.
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Understanding Different Forms Of Bipolar Disorder
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.
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Bipolar Disorder Or Depression
Doctors sometimes find it hard to distinguish between bipolar disorder and depression, and this can lead to misdiagnosis. People with bipolar disorder are more likely to seek help during a low mood because depression is more likely to have a negative impact on their health and wellbeing. During a high mood, they may feel exceptionally well.
Factors that increase the chance of this happening include the following:
- Depression is the dominant mood.
- Depression is the first episode you have.
- You have experienced mania or hypomania but not realized it could be significant.
Its essential to get an accurate diagnosis in order to work out a treatment plan. Antidepressants may not be effective in treating bipolar disorder.
In addition, some antidepressant medications can trigger a first manic or hypomanic episode if youre susceptible to them, and this could complicate both treatment and the outcome.
If you go to see your doctor with depression, be sure to tell them about any of the following, as these can help get an accurate diagnosis:
- a family history of bipolar disorder or other mental health conditions
- any other conditions that affect your mental or physical wellbeing
- any medications, drugs, or other substances youre taking or have used in the past
- if youve already tried antidepressants and they did not help
Is Bipolar Disorder Treatable
Figuring out if you have bipolar disorder is just the first step. The next is learning about how and where to get treatment. The good news is this: bipolar disorder is a treatable condition. Like many other mental health conditions, with the help of experienced and skilled professionals, you can find a way to live a full life after a bipolar disorder diagnosis.
We feel its important to acknowledge that a bipolar disorder diagnosis can be frightening, especially at the beginning of the journey when so much is unknown. Its also important for you to understand that if left untreated, bipolar disorder can have serious consequences. Its essential to learn more about how you can recognize symptoms so you can focus on how to treat them.
If youre asking yourself, how do I know if I have bipolar disorder, youre well on your way to a positive path toward finding treatment and learning how to move forward. And if youve recently found out that you have bipolar disorder, its time to start the process of beginning to look at bipolar disorder treatment options and learning how to handle bipolar disorder in relationships.
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You’re Acting Like A Maniac
Though the historical definition of “maniac” referred to someone experiencing mania, today the term carries with it a host of extremely negative and misleading connotations.
Maniacs are often portrayed as violent and deranged in popular culture. Experiencing bipolar mania does not automatically mean that a person will be dangerous. Bipolar disorder is also not the same thing as antisocial personality disorder or psychopathy.
You should also be wary of any language that defines a person by their disorder. A person is much more than a disease or illness.
How Do I Get Help If I Think I Have Bipolar Disorder
The usual first step to getting help is to speak to your GP.
It can help to keep a record of your moods. This can help you and your GP to understand your mood swings. Bipolar UK have a mood diary and a mood scale on their website. You can find their details in the Useful contacts section at the bottom of this page.
Your GP cant diagnose bipolar disorder. Only a psychiatrist can make a formal diagnosis. Your GP may arrange an appointment with a psychiatrist if you have:
- depression, and
- ever felt very excited or not in control of your mood or behaviour for at least 4 days in a row.
They might refer you to a psychiatrist at your local NHS community mental health team .
Your GP should make an urgent referral to the CMHT if they think that you might have mania or severe depression. Or there is a chance that you are a danger to yourself or someone else.
Your GP should refer you to your local NHS early intervention team if you have an episode of psychosis and its your first one.
Bipolar disorder can be difficult to diagnose because it affects everyone differently. Also, the symptoms of bipolar disorder can be experienced by people who have other mental illness diagnoses. It can take a long time to get a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
You can find more information about:
- NHS mental health teams by clicking here.
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