What Is A Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that causes extreme shifts in moods and energy levels, often with periods of depression and mania.
The manic episodes are characterized by elevated mood, decreased need for sleep, increased talkativeness, and other changes in behavior. It is a medical condition that affects a persons mood, energy levels, sleep patterns, ability to function in daily activities, and thoughts. The exact cause of this condition is not known however, genetics may play a role.
Some researchers believe that certain genes may predispose someone to develop bipolar disorder. Other factors that could contribute to the development of bipolar disorder include brain injury, environmental factors like stress, substance abuse and family history.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by periods of extreme highs and lows. These episodes are called manic and depressive states. A person who experiences one or both of these states is said to have bipolar disorder. It is often misunderstood as merely experiencing wild mood swings. Unfortunately, this type of misconception can make it difficult to research how to determine whether you are bipolar or not.
An individual with bipolar disorder experiences high periods of mania and low periods of depression .
In contrast, the depressive episodes are marked by feelings of sadness, lethargy, loss of interest in activities, appetite change, and suicidal thoughts. These episodes can last weeks, months, or even years at a time.
Bipolar I And Bipolar Ii Are The Most Common Types With Two Main Differentiators:
- Bipolar I: A person may experience a manic episode of extreme highs lasting around seven days or requiring hospitalization. This may or may not be followed by an extremely depressed period lasting around two weeks.
- Bipolar II: A person may experience a less-intense version of mania called hypomania, which is not as severe as bipolar I. A depressive episode may occur before or after the hypomania. This depressive state can be severe and one condition of bipolar is not more or less serious than another.
- Cyclothymic disorder. This type of disorder can occur when the mania or depression episode lasts longer than two years.
- Other: This type of disorder could be rooted in substance use disorder affecting mood or other health concerns.
How Do I Know If I Have Bipolar Disorder
Symptoms of bipolar disorder vary among individuals. Symptoms typically begin between ages 15 and 25. They usually last several years before disappearing completely. However, some people continue to experience symptoms throughout their lives.
If you recently found that you have bipolar disorder, its time to start exploring effective treatment options and learning how to deal with bipolar disorder in relationships.
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How To Know If You Have Bipolar Disorder
This article was co-authored by Trudi Griffin, LPC, MS. Trudi Griffin is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Wisconsin specializing in Addictions and Mental Health. She provides therapy to people who struggle with addictions, mental health, and trauma in community health settings and private practice. She received her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marquette University in 2011.There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 82% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 371,529 times.
Bipolar More Common In Younger
In terms of ages and percentages experiencing bipolar, 2.6% of males ages 13-18 are diagnosed as bipolar, with the most common ages being 16-18.
In men ages 18 and older, 2.9% are diagnosed as bipolar, with the most common occurrence of 4.7% for ages 18-29, dropping exponentially in older age groups.
The number of people in their 30s to early 40s is 3.5% experiencing bipolar, dropping to 2.2% of those ages 45-59. Fewer than 1% of those older than 60 experience bipolar.
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Is This Quiz Accurate
This online screening is not a definitive tool. It will not conclusively guarantee that you may be diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
However, it can be useful if youre experiencing symptoms and want to determine if additional help or support from a mental health professional is the right option for you.
Only a trained medical professional, such as a doctor or mental health professional, can help you determine the next best steps for you.
Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified
Bipolar disorder not otherwise specified is a general category for a person who only has symptoms of bipolar disorder that dont match the three other categories. The symptoms are not enough to make a diagnosis of one of the other three types.
The signs of bipolar disorder can generally be divided into those for mania, and those for depression.
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Can Bipolar Disorder Be Prevented
There is no known method to prevent bipolar disorder. Because its exact cause has not yet been determined, it is especially important to know its symptoms and seek early intervention. Regular and continued use of medication can help reduce episodes or mania and depression. Some people who experience bipolar disorder may become suicidal. By knowing how to recognize these symptoms, there is a better chance for effective treatment and finding coping methods that may prevent long periods of illness, extended hospital stays, and suicide.
What About Psychotic Episodes
Concerning bipolar disorder, a psychotic episode sometimes become present when in a manic state. We describe psychosis as a person who has a loss of contact with reality.
During psychosis the individuals thoughts and perceptions will be disturbed, making it hard for them to tell what is real and what is not:
- Psychosis includes delusions and hallucinations
- An individual may have incoherent or nonsensical speech
- Showing behavior that is inappropriate for the situation they are in
- The person can also experience social withdrawal and difficulty functioning
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Why Does Depression Happen
Many people living with depression question why they feel this way and want to know what is behind their sadness. Researchers are trying to understand why depression occurs. Various potential causes and risk factors may contribute to the onset of symptoms. As we learn more about depression, depression symptoms may occur for reasons such as:
- Stress or trauma. Life changes, unexpected loss, feeling burned out, or overwhelmed are changes that may trigger depressive episodes.
- Hormone changes or imbalance. Women may experience postpartum depression after childbirth due to body changes. Menopause and menstruation are other situations that may include hormonal imbalance.
- Family genes. A person may have depression if there is a family history or be at risk of developing it if it runs in their immediate family.
- Chemical differences. Physical or biological imbalances in the brain may increase the chances of developing depression.
- Medical conditions or illness. Certain medications, physical or mental conditions could increase depression risk.
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What Are The Different Types Of Bipolar Disorder
There are different types of bipolar disorder.
What is bipolar disorder I disorder?
A diagnosis of bipolar I disorder means you will have had at least 1 episode of mania that lasts longer than 1 week. You may also have periods of depression. Manic episodes will generally last 3-6 months if left untreated. Depressive episodes will generally last 6-12 months without treatment.
What is bipolar II disorder?
A diagnosis of bipolar II disorder means it is common to have symptoms of depression. You will have had at least 1 period of major depression. And at least 1 period of hypomania instead of mania.
What is bipolar I or II disorder with mixed features?
You will experience symptoms of mania or hypomania and depression at the same time. You may hear this being called mixed bipolar state. You may feel very sad and hopeless at the same time as feeling restlessness and being overactive.
What is bipolar I or II disorder with rapid cycling?
Rapid cycling means you have had 4 or more depressive, manic or hypomanic episodes in a 12-month period.
What is bipolar I or II with seasonal pattern?
Seasonal pattern means that either your depression, mania or hypomania is regularly affected in the same way by the seasons. For example, you may find that each winter you have a depressive episode, but your mania doesnt regularly follow a pattern.
There can be some similarities between bipolar I or II with seasonal pattern and another conditional called seasonal affective disorder.
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How Is Bipolar Disorder Treated In A Teen
Treatment will depend on your teens symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Treatment can often help a teen with bipolar disorder get better. But it will take time. Treatment may include one or more of the following:
Mood-stabilizing medicines or antidepressants
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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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Does This Latest Study Offer A Conclusive Test For Bipolar Disorder
It may seem like an exciting development that a simple blood test can potentially diagnose bipolar disorder. But when asked if a blood test can provide conclusive evidence of bipolar disorder, Dr. Jeffrey Ditzell, a psychiatrist in private practice in New York City, answers in the negative.
Not yet. The test assay is currently being used to differentiate proBDNF that is potentially neuroinflammatory, from mBDNF that is considered neuroprotective, Ditzell told Healthline.
The test uses a cutoff for serum mBDNF levels of fewer than 12.4 nanograms per milliliter. This represents progress from previous tests, offering support for a clinical diagnosis of MDD or bipolar disorder.
However, Ditzell goes on to say that the blood test is unlikely to shift the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder in the near future.
The BDNF levels can be helpful, but the diagnosis of the condition of bipolar disorder remains a clinical one, and the tests, though supportive, should not be considered as confirmatory, at this time.
What Are The Treatment Options For Bipolar Disorder
The first step is to determine if you have bipolar disorder.
After that, you need to find out what treatment plan is available. This condition can be managed with the help of skilled and experienced professionals. It is no doubt terrifying to receive a diagnosis of bipolar disease, especially at the beginning of the journey when so much remains unknown.
However, you also need to understand that it can lead to severe consequences if not treated. To learn how to treat these symptoms, its essential to recognize them first.
Getting an accurate diagnosis of bipolar disorder need not be frightening.
When youre ready to start exploring bipolar disorder treatment options, a doctor, therapist, or psychiatrist may recommend starting with any of the following bipolar disorder treatment:
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Living With Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a condition of extremes. A person with bipolar disorder may be unaware they’re in the manic phase.
After the episode is over, they may be shocked at their behaviour. But at the time, they may believe other people are being negative or unhelpful.
Some people with bipolar disorder have more frequent and severe episodes than others.
The extreme nature of the condition means staying in a job may be difficult and relationships may become strained. There’s also an increased risk of suicide.
During episodes of mania and depression, someone with bipolar disorder may experience strange sensations, such as seeing, hearing or smelling things that are not there .
They may also believe things that seem irrational to other people . These types of symptoms are known as psychosis or a psychotic episode.
What Can I Do To Manage My Symptoms
You can learn to manage your symptoms by looking after yourself. Selfcare is how you take care of your diet, sleep, exercise, daily routine, relationships and how you are feeling.
What lifestyle changes can I make?
Making small lifestyle changes can improve your wellbeing and can help your recovery.
Routine helps many people with their mental wellbeing. It will help to give a structure to your day and may give you a sense of purpose. This could be a simple routine such as eating at the same time each day, going to bed at the same time each day and buying food once per week.
Your healthcare professionals should offer you a combined healthy eating, exercise and sleep programme.
You can find more information about wellbeing any physical health at:www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/living-with-mental-illness/wellbeing-physical-health/.
What are support groups?
You could join a support group. A support group is where people come together to share information, experiences and give each other support.
You might be able to find a local group by searching online. The charity Bipolar UK have an online support group. They also have face to face support groups in some areas of the country. Their contact details are in the Useful contacts at the bottom of this page.
What are recovery colleges?
Unfortunately, recovery colleges arent available in all areas. To see if there is a recovery college in your area you can use a search engine such as Google.
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Can Bipolar Disorder Get Worse With Age
Bipolar disorder may get worse with agebut this is generally the case over time if it is left untreated, 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. If treated with a combination of medication and therapy, people have a much better chance of managing their bipolar disorder, Rego says. Even then, its important for people to monitor their symptoms and seek help right away if they start to feel a change in their mood, he says.
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:
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How Long Does It Take To Diagnose Bipolar Disorder
Diagnosing the disorder can be done in one or two assessment sessions, 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. However, because bipolar disorder can be confused with other disorders such as depression and borderline personality disorder, getting the correct diagnosis can take some time.
For example, some research suggests that it takes an average of three and a half years to confirm a diagnosis of bipolar disorder after the first major mood episode, with other research suggesting it can take even longer, Rego says.
Getting Help For Your Bipolar Teen
If you suspect your teen has bipolar disorder, you’ll want to get a professional diagnosis and start treatment right away.
Patients who start treatment at onset of the disorder have better outcomes than those who wait.
At Houston Behavioral Healthcare Hospital, we have an entire team of adolescent mental health professionals standing by to help your teen manage their bipolar disorder.
If your child is experiencing an acute episode of bipolar disorder, he or she may be a candidate for our Adolescent Inpatient Treatment Program.
We provide round-the-clock care in a safe and secure environment that focuses on patient stabilization and improvement of overall functioning.
Our state-of-the-art program combines group therapy and medication management along with an assessment that will help us meet the needs of your child and your family in a focused and therapeutic environment.
Don’t delay your child’s recovery.
Contact us on our website or call today to put your teen on the road to wellness.
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