Understanding Different Forms Of Bipolar Disorder
Celebrate The Improving Bipolar
And just a little note here: its important to see these small bipolar improvements because they are things to celebrate. Yes, it would be great to wake up one morning and be asymptomatic but thats not likely to occur. So, note the small changes note the small wins pat yourself on the back and celebrate. Something is going right.
Recovering From A Manic Episode
In the recovery period, its time to start regaining control over your life and schedule. Discuss with your mental health provider and loved ones what youve learned from the episode, such as possible triggers. You can also start reestablishing a schedule for sleeping, eating, and exercising.
Its important to think about what you can learn from this episode and how you can help yourself in the future. This will help you engage later in mania prevention.
Following a manic episode, many people gain insight into what may lead to their episodes. Examples of common mania triggers can include:
- drinking alcohol or abusing illegal drugs
- staying up all night and skipping sleep
- hanging out with others known to be an unhealthy influence
- going off your regular diet or exercise program
- stopping or skipping your medications
- skipping therapy sessions
Keeping yourself on a routine as much as possible can help reduce manic episodes. But keep in mind that it wont prevent them altogether.
If you or a loved one has bipolar disorder, there are certain key preparations you may wish to make.
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Whats The Screening Test For Bipolar Disorder Like
Current screening tests for bipolar disorder dont perform well. The most common report is the Mood Disorder Questionnaire .
In a 2019 study, results indicated that people who scored positive on the MDQ were as likely to have borderline personality disorder as they were to have bipolar disorder.
You can try some online screening tests if you suspect you have bipolar disorder. These screening tests will ask you a variety of questions to determine if youre experiencing symptoms of manic or depressive episodes. However, many of these screening instruments are home grown and may not be valid measures of bipolar disorder.
Symptoms for shifts in mood include:
|Mania, or hypomania||Depression|
When getting a diagnosis for bipolar disorder, the usual method is to first rule out other medical conditions or disorders.
Your healthcare provider will:
- order tests to check your blood and urine
- ask about your moods and behaviors for a psychological evaluation
If your healthcare provider doesnt find a medical cause, they may refer you to a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist. A mental health professional may prescribe medication to treat the condition.
You may also be referred to a psychologist who can teach you techniques to help recognize and manage shifts in your mood.
Even in the case of rapid cycling or mixed episodes, a bipolar diagnosis requires someone to experience:
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.
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How Do I Know If I Have Bipolar Disorder
If you have symptoms that resemble bipolar disorder, such as intense mood swings, you might be wondering if you have the disorder. Perhaps others have suggested that you have some signs of bipolar disorder. Either way, you want to know whether you could possibly have bipolar disorder, and if so, what might happen next.
Lets take a look at what bipolar disorder looks like for different people, how to find out if you have it, and how bipolar disorder is usually treated.
Can You Share Your Experience With Medication Adherence
Megan: I take my medication every day and I dont mess around with it. I learned my lesson. I dont want to live my life being stable and then unstable and stable and then unstable. I just want to continue on this good path. And a huge way that Ive done that is by removing alcohol from my life, which is literally the hardest thing Ive ever done.
Kyle: I live a primarily sober lifestyle, but maybe two or three times a year, Ill have a beer. We have a conversation about it beforehand. And I wouldnt do it in front of her.
Megan: I just want to give him a lot of respect. I hope that his example might inspire other people. You know, its so important for my health that I dont drink, and he has gone above and beyond to support me. If you want to have a healthy marriage and live with a mental illness, its very important to be a team and stick together and communicate.
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What If Im Not Happy With My Treatment
If you arent happy with your treatment you can:
- talk to your doctor about your treatment options,
- ask for a second opinion,
- get an advocate to help you speak to your doctor,
- contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service , or
- make a complaint.
There is more information about these options below.
How can I speak to my doctor about my treatment options?
You can speak to your doctor about your treatment. Explain why you arent happy with it. You could ask what other treatments you could try.
Tell your doctor if there is a type of treatment that you would like to try. Doctors should listen to your preference. If you arent given this treatment, ask your doctor to explain why it isnt suitable for you.
Whats a second opinion?
A second opinion means that you would like a different doctor to give their opinion about what treatment you should have. You can also ask for a second opinion if you disagree with your diagnosis.
You dont have a right to a second opinion. But your doctor should listen to your reason for wanting a second opinion.
What is advocacy?
An advocate is independent from the mental health service. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard.
There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like. NHS complaints advocates can help you if you want to complain about the NHS.
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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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.
What Will My Doctor Ask Me
To make a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, your doctor will ask you about:
- How many symptoms you experience
- Which types of mood episodes you experience
- How long your mood episodes last for
- How many mood episodes you’ve had
- How often your mood episodes occur
- How your symptoms impact your life
- Your family history
They may also:
- Ask you to keep a diary of your moods to help you both identify patterns and triggers.
- Check up on your physical health. For example, some conditions like thyroid problems can cause mania-like symptoms.
Only a mental health professional like a psychiatrist can give you a bipolar disorder diagnosis not your GP.
However, if you’re experiencing bipolar moods and symptoms, discussing it with your GP can be a good first step. They can refer you to a psychiatrist, who will be able to assess you.
For more information see our pages on seeking help for a mental health problem.
Once properly diagnosed, I knew the cause. I understood that I was someone with an illness. I was not a failure, not a bad person.
When Should I Call My Teens Healthcare Provider
Feels extreme depression, fear, anxiety, or anger toward him or herself or others
Feels out of control
Hears voices that others dont hear
Sees things that others dont see
Cant sleep or eat for 3 days in a row
Shows behavior that concerns friends, family, or teachers, and others express concern about this behavior and ask you to seek help
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.
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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.
What Have You Learned As A Result Of Your Experiences
Living with bipolar, often for years, teaches you a lot about yourself, mental health services, medicationand sadly, often about stigma, shame, and discrimination.
Id say for me, it was a key driver for learning about mebut also a red herring as I feel I vested too much of my own identity in clinging to the life-raft of the diagnosis as an explanation of my life in my early 20sagain though, there is a range of perspectives.
Recovery is possible despite what others may tell you or what you believe. I never thought I could be a worthwhile human being and have something meaningful to offer. That’s just illness speak and the effects of learned stigma. It doesn’t need to be that way.
I have learnt that I am more resilient than I could have ever imagined. I have discovered that there is more to life than getting a degree or a good job. I have learnt that I have amazing friends who never stopped believing in me, even when I couldn’t believe in myself.
I feel like I’m riding a constant rollercoaster of moods. There are people who are too scared to come to the theme park, those that will hop on rides with you, and those that watch sensibly in awe and sickness from a distance minding your bags. All of those people have a valid and useful part to play in your life.
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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.
Why Is Bipolar Disorder No Longer Called Manic
In the last few decades, the medical world, especially the field of psychiatry, has intentionally made a shift from using manic-depressive illness or manic depression to describe bipolar disorder. There are several reasons for this shift, including:
- Healthcare providers used to use manic depression to describe a wide range of mental health conditions. As mental health condition classification systems, including the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , have become more sophisticated, the new term bipolar disorder allows for more clarity in diagnosis.
- Theres a lot of stigma and negativity associated with the terms manic and mania, especially due to the use of maniac. Similarly, people use the term depression casually to describe periods of sadness that dont qualify as clinical depression. Using bipolar disorder takes the focus away from these two words. Bipolar disorder is more of a clinical, medical term and less emotionally loaded than manic depression.
- The term manic depression excludes the cyclothymic or hypomanic versions of the condition.
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Can Brain Scans Or Imaging Tests Help With The Bipolar Diagnosis
While doctors donât rely on brain scans or imaging tests for making a bipolar diagnosis, some high-tech neuroimaging tests may help doctors make specific neurologic diagnoses that can account for psychiatric symptoms. An MRI or CT scan is therefore sometimes ordered in patients who have had a sudden change in thinking, mood, or behavior to assure that a neurological disease is not the underlying cause.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, studies are underway to examine whether electroencephalograms and magnetic resonance imaging studies of the brain can reveal differences between bipolar disorder and related behavioral syndromes. But bipolar disorder remains a clinical diagnosis, and no imaging study or other lab test has yet been established to confirm its diagnosis or guide its treatment.