What Causes Bipolar Disorder
The cause of bipolar disorder isnt clear. Research suggests that a combination of different things can make it more likely that you will develop bipolar disorder.
There is a 13% chance you will develop bipolar disorder if someone in your immediate family, like a parent, brother or sister has bipolar disorder.
This risk is higher if both of your parents have the condition or if your twin has the condition.
Researchers havent found the exact genes that cause bipolar disorder. But different genes have been linked to the development of bipolar disorder.
Brain chemical imbalance
Different chemicals in your brain affect your mood and behaviour. Too much or too little of these chemicals could lead to you developing mania or depression.
Stressful life events can trigger symptoms of bipolar disorder. Such as childhood abuse or the loss of a loved one. They can increase your chances of developing depressive episodes.
You can find more information about Does mental illness run in families? by clicking here.
Bipolar Disorder And Sexual Health
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder. People who have bipolar disorder experience high levels of both euphoria and depression. Their moods can go from one extreme to the other.
Bipolar disorder can also affect your sexuality and sexual activity.
During a manic episode, you may experience hypersexuality, or an increase in sexual activity. It may place you at an increased risk for actions that may have negative effects, such as contracting a sexually transmitted infection .
During a depressive episode, you may lose interest in sex. These sexual issues can create problems in relationships and may lower your self-esteem.
During a manic episode, your sex drive and sexual impulses can often lead to sexual behavior thats atypical for you when you arent experiencing episodes of mania.
Examples of hypersexuality during a manic episode can include:
- greatly increased sexual activity without a feeling of sexual satisfaction
- sex with multiple partners, including strangers
Hypersexuality can be a challenging symptom if you have bipolar disorder.
More studies that look at prevalence of this condition are needed.
A 2016 study published in Psychiatry Journal compared the sexual behavior of two groups:
- people with bipolar disorder who were treated as outpatients in private practice
- people treated as outpatients who didnt have affective disorder or schizophrenia
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.
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Bipolar Disorder: What Does It Feel Like
Bipolar disorder is an illness that produces dramatic swings in mood . A person with bipolar disorder will alternate between periods of mania and periods of depression . In between these two extremes, a person will have periods of normal mood. To help gain a better understanding of what it feels like, mania and depression are described below.
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Depression And Bipolar Disorder Treatment
There are a variety of effective treatment options available for depression and bipolar disorder, including medication, psychotherapy and holistic therapies. If you believe you have depression, its important see a mental health professional who specializes in mood disorders so that youre properly diagnosed. Bipolar depression is treated differently than regular depression, so misdiagnosis can potentially lead to dangerous problems, including the fact that antidepressants can actually make bipolar disorder worse.
At Casa Palmera, we believe in treating depression, bipolar disorder and other mood disorders with traditional treatments like therapy and medications, but we also believe in a holistic approach that includes alternative methods of treatment such as yoga, acupuncture and herbal medicine. Call Casa Palmera today and ask how our holistic depression and bipolar disorder treatment program can return you to a healthy mind, body and emotional state of well-being.
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How Does Bipolar Disorder Affect Caregivers And Families
Caring for a child or teenager with bipolar disorder can be stressful for parents and families. Coping with a childs mood episodes and other problemssuch as short tempers and risky behaviorscan challenge any caregiver.
It is important that caregivers take care of themselves, too. Find someone you can talk to or consult your health care provider about support groups. Finding support and strategies for managing stress can help you and your child.
How Can I Help My Teen Live With Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder has no cure. But over time, your teens symptoms will get better. Being supportive and patient can help. Here are things you can do to help:
Keep all appointments with your teens healthcare provider.
Take part in family therapy as needed.
Talk with your teens healthcare provider about other providers who will be involved in your teens care. Your teen may get care from a team that may include school staff, counselors, therapists, social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Your teens care team will depend on his or her needs and how serious the depression is.
Tell others about your teens bipolar disorder. Work with your teens healthcare provider and schools to create a treatment plan.
Reach out for support. Being in touch with other parents who have a teen with bipolar disorder may be helpful. If you feel overwhelmed or stressed out, talk with your teens healthcare provider about a support group for caregivers of people with bipolar disorder.
Take all symptoms of depression, mania, and suicide very seriously. Get treatment right away. Suicide is a health emergency. Talk with your teens healthcare provider for more information. Find out who to contact, and what to do if your teen has suicidal thoughts. Have an emergency plan in place.
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What Do You Do To Keep Well
Keeping well when you have bipolar is an interesting concept. For some it revolves exclusively around manging moods. For others it means fitting life around moods.
For me, and others like me who are deep into a recovery that seems to be holding, its about keeping an eye, and investing in the things that help us all boost our mental health.
For many, if not most people with bipolar, life and keeping well includes taking medication.
Blogger Tanya said:
The thing I most prioritise with keeping myself well is to be strict in taking my medication. Missing doses or tweaking them without professional help can be devastating.
Again, Im going to buck the trend and say I dont take medication routinely. I took lithium for a decade, and then wanted, once I knew myself and had done my research, to try tapering off. That was eight years ago, and Ive managed it. I did it carefully, over two years, with support, whilst learning other techniques.
For 13 years, I took medication, but in the past six months, I’ve been trying to cope without it. So I have to be super careful, and alas, super boring. I don’t drink a lot, I have relatively early nights when I can.
Bipolar can also be triggered by trauma, or other life events and sometimes part of therapy is addressing underlying concerns to get someone to a point where they can start to see a life worth living.
Hannah has a rigid menu:
What Is Bipolar Disorder In Teens
Bipolar disorder is a type of depression.
There are 3 main types of depression:
Persistent depressive disorder
A teen with bipolar disorder often has extreme mood swings. These mood swings go beyond the days normal ups and downs. A teen may have times of great elation, happiness, elevated mood, or irritability. This is called mania. These episodes are countered by periods of major depression. That is why this disorder has two poles or symptoms.
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Bipolar Disorder In Children
Diagnosing bipolar disorder in children is controversial. This is largely because children dont always display the same bipolar disorder symptoms as adults. Their moods and behaviors may also not follow the standards doctors use to diagnose the disorder in adults.
Many bipolar disorder symptoms that occur in children also overlap with symptoms from a range of other disorders that can occur in children, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder .
However, in the last few decades, doctors and mental health professionals have come to recognize the condition in children. A diagnosis can help children get treatment, but reaching a diagnosis may take many weeks or months. Your child may need to seek special care from a professional trained to treat children with mental health issues.
Like adults, children with bipolar disorder experience episodes of elevated mood. They can appear very happy and show signs of excitable behavior. These periods are then followed by depression. While all children experience mood changes, changes caused by bipolar disorder are very pronounced. Theyre also usually more extreme than a childs typical change in mood.
Bipolar Disorder In Teens
Angst-filled behavior is nothing new to the average parent of a teenager. The shifts in hormones, plus the life changes that come with puberty, can make even the most well-behaved teen seem a little upset or overly emotional from time to time. However, some teenage changes in mood may be the result of a more serious condition, such as bipolar disorder.
A bipolar disorder diagnosis is most common during the late teens and early adult years. For teenagers, the more common symptoms of a manic episode include:
- being very happy
- taking part in risky behaviors
- abusing substances
- thinking about sex more than usual
- becoming overly sexual or sexually active
- having trouble sleeping but not showing signs of fatigue or being tired
- having a very short temper
- having trouble staying focused, or being easily distracted
For teenagers, the more common symptoms of a depressive episode include:
- sleeping a lot or too little
- eating too much or too little
- feeling very sad and showing little excitability
- withdrawing from activities and friends
- thinking about death and suicide
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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.
This test is based on the bipolar screening questionnaire created by Dr. Ivan Goldberg. If you think you may be suffering from Bipolar Disorder or any other mental health condition, PsyCom strongly recommends that you seek help from a doctor in order to receive a proper diagnosis and support.
What Does A Mood Episode Looks Like With Bipolar Disorder
Those with bipolar disorder experience periods of unusually intense emotions, per the NIMH. These periods are known as “mood episodes”typically categorized as manic episodes or depressive episodes. The mood episodes can last as long as several days to a few weeks, with symptoms presenting every day for most of the day.
Manic episodes specifically can make a person feel “up” or “high,” per the NIMH. When in a manic episode, a person may also feel a decreased need for sleep they may start talking too fast or they may feel distracted, agitated, or engage in risky behavior, Ashraf Elmashat, MD, a psychiatrist with Keck Medicine of USC, tells Health. Technically speaking, “to be considered mania, symptoms need to last for at least seven days,” says Dr. Elmashat.
When a person is experiencing a depressive episode, they may feel “down,” or hopeless, the NIMH says. Depressive episodes can also impact a person’s behavior, causing changes in sleep, appetite, and loss of enjoyment in normal activities.
It’s also possible for a person with bipolar disorder to experience both manic and depressive feelings in the same episodethat’s known as an episode with mixed features. People going through this type of episode “may feel very sad, empty, or hopeless, while, at the same, time feeling extremely energized,” the NIMH says.
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How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed In A Teen
Bipolar disorder can be hard to spot. Thats because it may look like other health problems, such as depression. A teen must have both depressive and manic symptoms to a varying degree to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
A mental health provider will ask about your teens health history and symptoms. He or she will also do a mental health evaluation before making a diagnosis.
Warning Signs Of Bipolar Disorder
We all have ups and downs. But the steep climbs and sudden plunges of bipolar disorder can lead to life-threatening situations.
Shirley Rogerson thought her husband of 40 years was simply prone to dark moods. At other times, he was the life of the party, telling jokes that had everyone in stitches. But as years passed, his behavior became frightening. He threatened to kill himself and had hallucinations, says Rogerson, an author and library information specialist. Once, he saw visions of killing me and the dogs. Her husband was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
This serious mental illness affects about 6 million women and men in the U.S., according to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance . And it can be harrowing and dangerous for people around them. In the manic phase, sufferers often dont think anythingâs wrong. Theyre hyper-energized and brimming with confidence. But theyre not as invincible as they feel. Eventually, people almost always make a big mistake, such as a foolish investment or an ill-advised affair. When they realize what theyve done, they can crash into really bad depression, says psychiatrist Igor Galynker, MD, PhD, director of the Family Center for Bipolar Disorder at Beth Israel Medical Center, in New York City.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?This complex mental condition comes in various forms. These are the most common:
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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
Symptoms And Diagnosis Of Bipolar Disorder
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Information presented in this article may be triggering for some people. If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
Bipolar disorder isnt just about having mood swings. Its a serious mental health condition that used to be referred to as manic depression.
According to the DSM-5, the guide used to diagnose mental illnesses, there are two main types of bipolar disorder that can be diagnosed based on the severity and nature of their symptoms:
- Bipolar I Individuals with bipolar I experience at least one manic episode in their lives. Although not required for the formal diagnosis, the vast majority will also experience major depressive episodes during the course of their lives.
- Bipolar II Individuals with bipolar II have at least one hypomanic episode and at least one major depressive episode.
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