When To See A Doctor
People with bipolar disorder may not realize that their moods and behavior are disrupting their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
Because of this, people who have bipolar disorder often do not get the medical attention and treatment they require. This is especially true during their euphoric manic periods.
People with bipolar disorder are more likely to seek help when they experience a depressive episode.
Because of this, the doctor may incorrectly diagnose the person with depression instead.
Once a doctor diagnoses someone with bipolar disorder, they should see their doctor often to evaluate how well any prescription medications are working. Also, a doctor may recommend that a person with bipolar disorder talk regularly with a mental health professional.
Who Does Bipolar Disorder Affect
Bipolar disorder can affect anyone. The average age of onset is 25 years, but, more rarely, it can start as early as early childhood or as late as in your 40s or 50s.
Although bipolar disorder affects people assigned female at birth and people assigned male at birth in equal numbers, the condition tends to affect them differently.
People AFAB with bipolar disorder may switch moods more quickly. When people with bipolar disorder experience four or more manic or depressive episodes in a year, this is called rapid cycling. Varying levels of sex hormones and thyroid hormones, together with the tendency for people AFAB to be prescribed antidepressants, may contribute to the more rapid cycling in this population.
People AFAB with bipolar disorder may also experience more periods of depression than people AMAB.
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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Do People With Bipolar Know They Have It
Bipolar disorder is a pretty common mental health condition. About 1 in 40 American adults live with it. Its common in children and adolescents, but it usually doesnt get diagnosed until adulthoodit can take up to ten years from the time a person experiences symptoms to the time they actually get diagnosed!
So no, not everyone who has bipolar disorder knows they have it. There are lots of reasons why someone with bipolar disorder might not realize itor why they might deny having it even if they do. If you think someone you know might have untreated bipolar disorder, there are a few things you can do to help.
Who Is This Quiz For
This brief, time-saving questionnaire is designed for anyone who thinks they may benefit from an evaluation for bipolar disorder.
The items below will help you determine whether you may need additional help and professional support for the symptoms youve been experiencing.
A mental health professional can also help figure out if your issues might be a symptom of bipolar or another mental health condition and recommend treatment if needed.
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Talking To A Health Care Provider About Your Mental Health
If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org. You can also contact the Crisis Text Line . For medical emergencies, call 911.
Communicating well with a health care provider can improve your care and help you both make good choices about your health. Find tips to help prepare for and get the most out of your visit. For additional resources, including questions to ask a provider, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website.
Bipolar Disorder Signs And Symptoms List
According to the fifth and most recent edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” , which is prepared by the American Psychiatric Association and contains the formal requirements for diagnosing mental illnesses, there are certain diagnostic criteria for bipolar episodes.
According to the DSM-5, tell-tale signs of bipolar disorder symptoms include:
- Extremely high self-esteem or grandiosity
- Reduced need for sleep
- Talking more than usual, often loudly and quickly
- Becoming distracted easily
- Doing too many activities at once
- Risky behavior, such as spending sprees, substance abuse, hypersexuality and reckless driving
- Racing thoughts
According to the DSM-5 bipolar disorder symptoms list, a hypomanic episode is similar to a manic episode except the symptoms are milder, usually lasting a maximum of four days in a row. Most people in hypomania are still able to function perfectly well and do not require hospitalization.
Major depressive episodes
Major depressive episodes are periods of two weeks or more in which a person has at least five of the following symptoms, including one of the first two:
- Intense sadness or despair, including feeling helpless and hopeless
- Loss of interest and pleasure in usual activities
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- Sleep problems, such as sleeping too little or too much
- Feeling restless or agitated
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
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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.
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.
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Tips On How To Tell Someone You Have Bipolar Disorder
At some point, those of us with bipolar need to tell others we have bipolar disorder but the question is, how do you tell someone you have bipolar disorder in a way that avoids negative outcomes? This is something I have wrestled with and its something I get asked about a lot. Here are some tips on how to tell someone you have bipolar disorder.
Go To Couples Counseling
Couples counseling is essential for working through upset over a bipolar partners actions. Its common for someone with bipolar disorder to hurt and offend their partner. When someone is first diagnosed, there are often relationship issues that need to be addressed. Couples counseling can help you:
- Understand that theres an illness involved in the hurtful behavior.
- Forgive the behavior that happened during an altered mood state.
- Set boundaries with a partner about maintaining treatment.
What Causes Bipolar Disorder
Experts dont know for sure why some people experience bipolar disorder. Your genetics can play a part and your experiences too.
If any of your family members have experienced bipolar disorder, youve more change of developing it too. But scientists say no single gene can be linked to bipolar disorder.
Someone in your immediate family might live with bipolar disorder, like a parent, brother, or sister. If they do, theres a 13 in 100 chance you will develop it too. The risk is higher if both of your parents or your twin live with the condition.
For some people symptoms of bipolar disorder can be triggered by stressful things in their lives. These things can include:
- relationship problems,
- being in debt or money issues.
You can find more information about Does mental illness run in families by clicking here.
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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Are There Clinical Trials Studying Bipolar Disorder
NIMH supports a wide range of research, including clinical trials that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditionsincluding bipolar disorder. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge to help others in the future. Researchers at NIMH and around the country conduct clinical trials with patients and healthy volunteers. Talk to a health care provider about clinical trials, their benefits and risks, and whether one is right for you. For more information, visit the NIMH clinical trials webpage.
How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed
To diagnose bipolar disorder, a health care provider may complete a physical exam, order medical testing to rule out other illnesses, and refer the person for an evaluation by a mental health professional. Bipolar disorder is diagnosed based on the severity, length, and frequency of an individuals symptoms and experiences over their lifetime.
Some people have bipolar disorder for years before its diagnosed for several reasons. People with bipolar II disorder may seek help only for depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes may go unnoticed. Misdiagnosis may happen because some bipolar disorder symptoms are like those of other illnesses. For example, people with bipolar disorder who also have psychotic symptoms can be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia. Some health conditions, such as thyroid disease, can cause symptoms like those of bipolar disorder. The effects of recreational and illicit drugs can sometimes mimic or worsen mood symptoms.
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Brain Structure And Function
Research shows that the brain structure and function of people with bipolar disorder may differ from those of people who do not have bipolar disorder or other mental disorders. Learning about the nature of these brain changes helps researchers better understand bipolar disorder and, in the future, may help predict which types of treatment will work best for a person with bipolar disorder.
Signs Of Bipolar Disorder
- Unpredictable and extreme mood swings
- Going from being wired, talkative, and jumpy , to feeling melancholy and depressed
- Co-occurring disorders, such as alcohol or drug abuse, eating disorders, anxiety issues, and ADHD
What To Remember When Considering How To Tell Someone You Have Bipolar Disorder
Remember that the person likely has little-to-no knowledge about the facts around bipolar disorder. The person probably only knows what he has seen on TV or in the movies. Remember, you were once in that situation, too. Consider what you would have wanted to know when you were in that situation and let that help guide this new conversation.
Also, remember that telling someone you have bipolar disorder is scary for him and not just for you. Finding out that someone you care about has a possibly-lethal diagnosis is frightening. Let the person have that feeling. Honor it. Its real too.
Additionally, consider that when you tell someone you have bipolar disorder, his reaction may not be ideal. For example, once you tell the person you have bipolar, he might say, No you dont!
That really happens. It sounds crazy, but its just a part of the acceptance process for the other person. This is just the shock of the moment talking. This information will be very surprising to telling the person. Its understandable that he is going to act shocked and this may prevent the person from being supportive in the way you would want. Understand this going in. When you tell someone, for the moment, it is about the other person and not you. Acceptance of bipolar disorder is a process for you and for him.
Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator
This online resource, provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration , can help you locate mental health treatment facilities and programs. Find a facility in your state by searching SAMHSAs online Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator. For additional resources, visit NIMH’s Help for Mental Illnesses webpage.
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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.
Should I See A Doctor
It is always a good idea to speak with a doctor when there is concern about severe mood swings that seem to come and go or make it difficult to work.
The best person to start with may be a primary care physician or family doctor. However, they will likely refer someone with these symptoms to a psychiatrist, or a specialist who cares for people with mental health disorders.
Someone who notices these symptoms in a friend or loved one can also speak with their doctor about their concerns. The doctor can help find local support groups or other mental health resources.
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Major Depressive Episode Characteristics
There are many symptoms that are linked to a major depressive disorder. The symptoms that characterize a major depressive episode will be noticeable and will likely disrupt daily life. According to Mayo Clinic, a major depressive episode will include 5 or more of the following symptoms.
- Fatigue or energy loss
- Excessive sleep or insomnia
- Noticeable loss of interest or pleasure in all activities
- Depressed mood, characterized by feeling sad, tearful, hopeless, and/or empty. In children and teens, this can also manifest as irritability.
- Significant weight loss when not dieting, weight gain, noticeable increase or decrease in appetite. In children, this may manifest as a failure to gain weight.
- Feelings of excessive or inappropriate guilt
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Abnormal upbeatness, jumpiness, or appearing wired
- Increased energy, activity, or agitation
- An exaggerated sense of self-confidence and well-being
- Poor decision-making, such as engaging in risky sexual behavior, going on a shopping spree, or making irrational judgments in financial matters
Coping With Bipolar Disorder
Living with bipolar disorder can be challenging, but there are ways to help yourself, as well as your friends and loved ones.
- Get treatment and stick with it. Treatment is the best way to start feeling better.
- Keep medical and therapy appointments and talk with your health care provider about treatment options.
- Take medication as directed.
- Structure activities. Keep a routine for eating, sleeping, and exercising.
- Try regular, vigorous exercise like jogging, swimming, or bicycling, which can help with depression and anxiety, promote better sleep, and is healthy for your heart and brain.
- Keep a life chart to help recognize your mood swings.
- Ask for help when trying to stick with your treatment.
- Be patient. Improvement takes time. Social support helps.
Remember, bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness, but long-term, ongoing treatment can help manage symptoms and enable you to live a healthy life.
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