Preparing For An Adult Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis
If you think you may have bipolar disorder, you can start by visiting a healthcare professional. They will likely do a physical examination, discuss your medical history, and ask you some basic questions about your symptoms, family history, and life experiences.
If your healthcare professional believes you may have bipolar disorder, they will probably refer you to a psychiatrist who will do a more detailed mental health evaluation. Some of the questions a psychiatrist may ask include:
- What symptoms are you experiencing?
- What are your thoughts and feelings like during a manic or depressive episode?
- Do you feel in control of your mania or how long an episode lasts?
- When did you first start experiencing these symptoms?
- Do you ever have suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm?
- Do you have a history of substance misuse?
- Did anyone in your family have similar symptoms or a diagnosis of bipolar disorder?
They might also ask your permission to ask friends and family about your behavior.
The diagnosis for bipolar disorder requires at least one depressive and one manic or hypomanic episode. Any diagnosis will take into account other aspects of your medical history and the medications youve taken.
- emotional outbursts
- periods of sadness
- How often does your child have emotional outbursts?
- How many hours does your child sleep a day?
- How often does your child have periods of aggression and irritability?
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.
Who Is At Risk From Developing A Mental Disorder
At any one time, a diverse set of individual, family, community, and structural factors may combine to protect or undermine mental health. Although most people are resilient, people who are exposed to adverse circumstances including poverty, violence,disability, and inequality are at higher risk. Protective and risk factors include individual psychological and biological factors, such as emotional skills as well as genetics. Many of the risk and protective factors are influencedthrough changes in brain structure and/or function.
What Happens After A Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis
You may experience a mix of emotions if you receive a bipolar disorder diagnosis, including shock and sadness, but also relief and hope. Bipolar disorder is considered a lifelong condition, but there are effective treatments available for you to live a full life.
Can Bipolar Disorder Run In The Family
Yes, a family history of bipolar disorder is the most influential risk factor for bipolar disorder. If youre concerned about your mental health symptoms, make sure to ask grandparents or older family members if they remember anyone else in the family facing similar struggles.
Your doctor will ask about your familys history of mental health during your diagnosis.
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Profound Bipolar Disorder Suicide Statistics
Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes someone to experience sharp shifts in mood, energy, and levels of activity. Sometimes it makes it impossible for someone to even completed their daily tasks. The symptoms of this disorder are severe and is considered a medical emergency. Everyone experiences some good days and bad days. With bipolar disorder, these mood swings are magnified by 1000x or more.
Bipolar Disorder Fact Sheet
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a psychiatric disease that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels and the ability to conduct daily life activities. Severe bipolar disorder was estimated in 2020 to affect 2.3 percent of the population or approximately 5.9 million adults in the United States aged 18 or older. An estimated 51% of individuals with this condition are untreated in any given year. Suicide is the number one cause of premature death among people with bipolar disorder, with 15 percent to 17 percent taking their own lives.
The National Institute of Mental Health describes bipolar disorder as “a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out daily tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder can be severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.
From the NIMH: “Bipolar Disorder in Adults: What is bipolar disorder?”
Signs and Symptoms of bipolar disorder
From the NIMH: Bipolar Disorder in Adults. Visit “What are the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder?” at the NIMH for more about symptoms.
Diagnosing bipolar disorder
Treating bipolar disorder
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Bipolar Disorder And Relationships
Bipolar disorder can affect any of your relationships. But these effects might show up most clearly in your closest relationships, like those with family members and romantic partners.
When it comes to managing a relationship while living with bipolar disorder, honesty can always help. Being open about your condition can help your partner better understand your symptoms and how they can offer support.
You might consider starting with a few basic details, including:
- how long youve had the condition
- how episodes of depression usually affect you
- how episodes of mania usually affect you
- your treatment approach, including therapy, medication, and coping strategies
- anything they can do to help
Want more tips on maintaining a healthy relationship when you or a partner has bipolar disorder? Our guide can help.
Link Between Mental Health And Suicide
The link between mental health and substance use disorders and suicide is well-documented.37 It is however true that not all suicides or suicide attempts are attributed to underlying mental health or substance use disorders as shown in the chart, there is not a direct relationship between mental health prevalence and suicide rates.38
We cover suicide statistics more broadly in our full entry on Suicide, however here we attempt to distil the key findings on the links between mental health and substance use and suicide. Although mental health and substance use disorders is within the top-five causes of disease burden globally , accounting for approximately 7 percent of the burden, several authors have highlighted that such figures since they do not include suicide DALYs underestimate the true cost of mental health disorders.39
Providing a more accurate estimate of total mental health burden therefore requires some understanding of the connection between these disorders and suicide.
Meta-analyses of psychological autopsy studies of suicide across high-income countries suggest that up to 90 percent of suicides occur as a result of an underlying mental health or substance use disorder.40
While available data and studies are more scarce across lower-to-middle income countries, evidence across countries including China, Taiwan and India suggest that this proportion is significantly lower elsewhere.41
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After Searching 12 Years For Bipolar Disorders Cause A Team Concludes It Has Many
A long-term study in more than 1,100 people yields a new seven-factor framework that could help patients, clinicians and researchers.
Nearly 6 million Americans have bipolar disorder, and most have probably wondered why. After more than a decade of studying over 1,100 of them in-depth, a University of Michigan team has an answer or rather, seven answers.
In fact, the team says, no one genetic change, chemical imbalance or life event lies at the heart of every case of the mental health condition once known as manic depression.
Rather, every patients experience with bipolar disorder varies from that of others with the condition. But all of their experiences include features that fall into seven classes of phenotypes, or characteristics that can be observed, the team reports in a new paper in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
The team, from U-Ms Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program, collected and analyzed tens of thousands of data points over years about the genetics, emotions, life experiences, medical histories, motivations, diets, temperaments and sleep and thought patterns of research volunteers. More than 730 had bipolar disorder, and 277 didnt. Three-quarters were active research participants in the Longitudinal Study of Bipolar Disorder.
The Prechter program is named for a Detroit automotive pioneer who fought bipolar disorder even as he built a successful business.
Facts About Bipolar Disorder Suicides
Also known as manic-depressive disorder, this mental illness invariably results in negative outcomes for the individual. The rapid changes in mood and behavior can damage relationships beyond repair, create a poor job performance that leads to a termination, or reduce a students grades at school. When left untreated, there is also an increase in the risks of suicide.
The good news is that bipolar disorder can be treated. Many people with this mental illness go on to continue living lives that are very fulfilling.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Bipolar Ii Disorder
During a hypomanic episode, elevated mood can manifest itself as either euphoria or as irritability.
Symptoms during hypomanic episodes include:
- Flying suddenly from one idea to the next
- Having exaggerated self confidence
- Rapid, “pressured” and loud speech
- Increased energy, with hyperactivity and a decreased need for sleep
People experiencing hypomanic episodes are often quite pleasant to be around. They can often seem like the “life of the party” — making jokes, taking an intense interest in other people and activities, and infecting others with their positive mood.
What’s so bad about that, you might ask? Hypomania can also lead to erratic and unhealthy behavior. Hypomanic episodes can sometimes progress onward to full manias that affect a person’s ability to function . In mania, people might spend money they don’t have, seek out sex with people they normally wouldn’t, and engage in other impulsive or risky behaviors with the potential for dangerous consequences.
The vast majority of people with bipolar II disorder experience more time with depressive than hypomanic symptoms. Depressions can occur soon after hypomania subsides, or much later. Some people cycle back and forth between hypomania and depression, while others have long periods of normal mood in between episodes.
Untreated, an episode of hypomania can last anywhere from a few days to several months. Most commonly, symptoms continue for a few weeks to a few months.
Mental Health As A Risk Factor For Substance Abuse
Mental health is known to be an important risk factor for the development of substance use disorders . The increased risk of a substance use disorder varies by mental health disorder type:
- for alcohol dependency the risk is highest in individuals with intermittent explosive disorder, dysthymia, ODD, bipolar disorder and social phobia. This is discussed in our entry on Alcohol Consumption.
- for illicit drug dependency the risk is highest for individuals with intermittent explosive disorder, ADHD, and bipolar disorder. This is discussed in our entry on Substance Use.
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A Story Of Misdiagnosis
“Home from a weeks vacation in Costa Rica, I was at the office of my general practitioner to get a prescription for a different medication for my depression. I told the doctor that I had spent my vacation entirely in my hotel room ‘maniacally writing.’ While my wife went to the beach, explored neighborhoods, and visited my family who lived there, I just wrote. And wrote. And wrote. I wrote so much that I came home with seven chapters of what would become my first book.
“I needed a new prescription because my first prescription for depression, Prozac, had made me irritable. I also could not concentrate, couldn’t sleep, and my language was coarse. These symptoms had been taken by the doctor to indicate a deeper depression, and so she had originally increased the dosage. But a new problem, a side effect of diarrhea, pushed me to noncompliance. I quit taking the medication, and went to Costa Rica during the period needed to wash it out of my system before getting a different medication.
“But now, at this appointment, my use of the word ‘maniacally’ caused my doctor to pause. Antidepressants can cause people with bipolar disorder to ‘flip’ into mania or hypomania. So she screened me by asking just one question, ‘Are you manic?’
“I answered, ‘No. I’m not manic, I’m excited!’ With that, she gave me the next antidepressant.
Depressive Symptoms In Children
With bipolar disorder, symptoms of depressive episodes in children can include:
- moping around, acting very sad, or crying frequently
- sleeping too much or too little
- having little energy for usual activities or showing no signs of interest in anything
- complaining about not feeling well, including having frequent headaches or stomachaches
- feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- eating too little or too much
- thoughts of death or suicide
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What Medications Are Used To Treat Bipolar Disorder
Certain medications can help manage symptoms of bipolar disorder. You may need to try several different medications, with guidance from your healthcare provider, before finding what works best.
Medications healthcare providers generally prescribe to treat bipolar disorder include:
- Mood stabilizers.
- Second-generation neuroleptics .
If youre taking medication for bipolar disorder, you should:
- Talk with your healthcare provider to understand the risks, side effects and benefits of the medication.
- Tell your healthcare provider about any prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications or supplements youre already taking.
- Tell your healthcare provider right away if youre experiencing concerning side effects. They may need to change your dose or try a different medication.
- Remember that medication for bipolar disorder must be taken consistently, as prescribed.
Mood stabilizers for bipolar disorder
People with bipolar disorder typically need mood-stabilizing medication to manage manic or hypomanic episodes.
Types of mood stabilizers and their brand names include:
Thyroid gland and kidney problems can sometimes develop when taking lithium, so your healthcare provider will monitor the function of your thyroid and kidneys, as well as monitor the levels of lithium in your blood, as levels can easily become too high.
Bipolar Disorder In The United States
In this section, you will learn about various bipolar disorder statistics exclusive to the United States and the groups that make up its population.
Each year it is estimated that around 5.7 million adult Americans are struggling with bipolar disorder. This equates to about 2.6 percent of the adult population. Approximately 4.4 percent of them will develop this disorder at some point in their lives.
The majority of those diagnosed with bipolar disorder are within the 18 to 29 range, followed by those 30 to 44, then the 45 to 59 years of age. Nearly 83 percent of adults in the U.S. will experience severe impairment from the disorder.
Although the median age of onset for bipolar disorder is about 25 years old, the condition can appear at any age, and it is quite common among those aged 13 to 18 years old.
The adolescent group rivals the adults in terms of percentages. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, around 2.9 percent of adolescents had bipolar disorder.
However, because there arent as many adolescents as there are adults in the U.S., naturally, there will be fewer numbers overall.
In Men & Women
Males and females in the United States suffer from bipolar disorder at the same rates, which are at 2.9 and 2.8 percent, respectively.
Therefore, even though the figures are very close between males and females, it can present themselves and affect others differently.
In Ethnic Groups & Social Classes
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Types Of Bipolar Disorder
The three primary types of bipolar disorders are bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, and cyclothymic disorder. Anna Hindell, LCSW-R, a psychotherapist based in New York, explains the difference between each type of bipolar disorder.
- Bipolar I: Characterized by episodes of mania that last at least seven days and may require hospitalization. Depressive episodes that follow can last up to two weeks. If these symptoms happen simultaneously, its called a mixed episode.
- Bipolar II:Defined by a pattern of depressive and hypomanic episodes. Hypomania is a mood elevation that increases energy, agitation, and pressured speech. The mania is not as intense as bipolar 1 but the depressive episodes are severe and may last longer.
- Cyclothymic disorder:More frequent shifts between mood swings, which is called rapid cycling. The highs are consistent with hypomania symptoms and the lows are mild to moderate depression. With cyclothymia, the ups and downs are more frequent and can have these swings for a longer period of time, diagnostically two years, says Hindell.
When they are in the manic stage being around them can be rather exhausting, says David Ezell, LMHC, the CEO and founder of Darien Wellness. They tend to have endless energy, set a vast number of goals, and have beliefs about themselves that arent true or are even impossible for humans to achieve.