How To Use Bipolar Mood Charts
Each of the versions included here comes with instructions.
All you need to do is download a free copy of the blank mood chart and then print it and make as many photocopies as you need.
Samples of completed charts are also included to help you understand the process and get started.
These particular Bipolar charts have been chosen because they are professional versions that have been tested and validated, and are used and recognized by leading clinicians and researchers. Just choose the one that you like best.
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.
Symptoms That Lead To A Diagnosis
If youre suffering from any kind of mental health disorder, its important that you identify and understand your symptoms in order for our doctors to correctly diagnose you. Bipolar disorder consists of both manic and depressive episodes that create an unstable mood.
Mania can be extreme changes in mood, or you can have hypomania which is typically less severe. Symptoms of mania include:
Difficulty sleeping Extreme energy Increased self-esteem Difficulty concentrating Racing thoughts
On the opposite end of the spectrum, depression can change your emotional highs to hopeless lows. If you have bipolar disorder with depression, symptoms you may experience include:
Fatigue Sadness Decreased energy Overeating or loss of appetite Suicidal thoughts
Our team at Boston MindCare take a detailed history to decipher your symptoms and give you a definitive diagnosis. With that, we can also form a customized treatment plan for you.
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What Are The Long
Bipolar disorder is a life-long and often recurring illness. You may need long term support to help manage your condition.
What medication options are there?
Your doctor will look at what medication worked for you during episodes of mania or depression. They should ask you whether you want to continue this treatment or if you want to change to lithium.
Lithium usually works better than other types of medication for long-term treatment. Your doctor should give you information about how to take lithium safely. If lithium doesn’t work well enough or causes you problems, you may be offered:
- Olanzapine, or
Your doctor should monitor your health. Physical health checks should be done at least once a year. These checks will include:
- measuring your weight,
- checking your liver and heart, and
- checking your pulse and blood pressure.
What psychological treatments are recommended?
You should be offered a psychological therapy that is specially designed for bipolar disorder. You could have individual or group therapy.
The aim of your therapy is to stop you from becoming unwell again. This is known as relapse. Your therapy should help you to:
If you live with your family or are in close contact with them, you should also be offered family intervention.
Family intervention is where you and your family work with mental health professionals to help to manage relationships. This should be offered to people who you live with or who you are in close contact with.
Symptoms Of Manic Episodes
Episodes of mania and hypomania are prevalent features of bipolar disorder. While the signs of mania may at first be a pleasant diversion from the dark depressive episodes, the manic phase can also be destabilizing and self-destructive.
- Racing thoughts and difficulty staying focused, easily distracted
- Rapid speech
- Impulsive behaviors, using poor judgment
- Risky behaviors, such as substance use or sexual promiscuity
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Brain Structure And Function
Researchers are learning that the brain structure and function of people with bipolar disorder may be different from the brain structure and function of people who do not have bipolar disorder or other psychiatric disorders. Learning about the nature of these brain changes helps doctors better understand bipolar disorder and may in the future help predict which types of treatment will work best for a person with bipolar disorder. At this time, diagnosis is based on symptoms rather than brain imaging or other diagnostic tests.
Signs And Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder can look very different in different people. The symptoms vary widely in their pattern, severity, and frequency. Some people are more prone to either mania or depression, while others alternate equally between the two types of episodes. Some have frequent mood disruptions, while others experience only a few over a lifetime.
There are four types of mood episodes in bipolar disorder: mania, hypomania, depression, and mixed episodes. Each type of bipolar disorder mood episode has a unique set of symptoms.
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List Of Mental Disorders
The following is a list of mental disorders as defined by the DSM and ICD.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the American Psychiatric Association‘s standard reference for psychiatry, which includes over 450 different definitions of mental disorders. The International Classification of Diseases published by the World Health Organization is the international standard system for classifying all medical diseases. It also includes a section on mental and behavioral disorders.
The diagnostic criteria and information in the DSM and ICD are revised and updated with each new version. This list contains conditions which are currently recognized as mental disorders as defined by these two systems. There is disagreement in various fields of mental health care, including the field of psychiatry, over the definitions and criteria used to delineate mental disorders. Of concern to some professionals is whether certain mental disorders should be classified as “mental illnesses” or whether they would be better described as neurological disorders, or in other ways.
Major Depressive Episode Symptoms
Periods of mania alternate with episodes of depression. For a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, symptoms of a major depressive episode must last at least two weeks and include five or more of these symptoms :
Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
Persistent sadness and/or despair
Physical symptoms, such as headaches and body aches
Sleep abnormalities, such as insomnia or a desire to sleep all the time
Strong feeling of guilt, helplessness, hopelessness and/or worthlessness
Thoughts of self-harm, including suicide. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact your doctor or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Trouble focusing and concentrating
Some people with bipolar disorder may experience what is called a mixed state, which is a combination of symptoms of mania and depression that occur at the same time. In addition, some people with bipolar disorder can experience a rapid shifting from symptoms of mania to symptoms of depression called rapid cycling.
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Treatment For Bipolar Disorder
If you spot the symptoms of bipolar disorder in yourself or someone else, dont wait to get help. Ignoring the problem wont make it go away in fact, it will almost certainly get worse. Living with untreated bipolar disorder can lead to problems in everything from your career to your relationships to your health. But bipolar disorder is highly treatable, so diagnosing the problem and starting treatment as early as possible can help prevent these complications.
If youre reluctant to seek treatment because you like the way you feel when youre manic, remember that the energy and euphoria come with a price. Mania and hypomania often turn destructive, hurting you and the people around you.
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 Are The Signs And Symptoms
A person with bipolar disorder will go through episodes of mania and at other times experience episodes of depression . These aren’t the normal periods of happiness and sadness that everyone experiences from time to time. Instead, the episodes are intense or severe mood swings, like a pendulum that keeps arcing higher and higher.
Symptoms of mania include:
- anger, worry, and anxiety
- thoughts of death or suicide
In adults, episodes of mania or depression usually last for weeks or months, although they can be shorter in length. In children and adolescents, though, these episodes can be much shorter, and a kid or teen can even go back and forth between mania and depression throughout the day.
Episodes of mania or depression may happen irregularly and follow an unpredictable pattern or they may be linked, with a manic episode always following a period of depression, or vice versa. Sometimes episodes have a seasonal pattern. Mania in the spring, for example, may be followed by depression in the winter.
Between episodes, someone with bipolar disorder usually returns to normal functioning. For some people, though, there is little or no “break period” between their cycles. These mood swing cycles can change slowly or rapidly, with rapid cycling between mania and depression being much more common in women, children, and adolescents.
What Are The Symptoms Of Common Mood Disorders
Symptoms depend on the type of mood disorder that is present.
Symptoms of major depression may include:
- Feeling sad most of the time or nearly every day
- Lack of energy or feeling sluggish
- Feeling worthless or hopeless
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Gaining weight or losing weight
- Loss of interest in activities that formerly brought enjoyment
- Sleeping too much or not enough
- Frequent thoughts about death or suicide
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing
Symptoms of bipolar disorder may include both depression and mania. Symptoms of hypomanic or manic episodes include:
- Feeling extremely energized or elated
- Rapid speech or movement
- Risk-taking behavior, such as spending too much money or driving recklessly
- Unusual increase in activity or trying to do too many things at once
- Racing thoughts
- Feeling jumpy or on edge for no apparent reason
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Where Do I Go From Here
The best first step is always to talk to your doctor. They can help you decide which, if any of the above treatments would be best for you. If you think you have bipolar disorder, its important to see a doctor first to rule out other explanations for your symptoms. If you go to your doctor when youre depressed, its important to also mention if you have other moods as well. This is because some treatments like antidepressants that are very helpful for depression can actually trigger a manic episode if youve had one before. So its important to give your doctor the full picture of how youre feeling, even if the mania distresses you less. This will help them prescribe the best treatments to prevent both depression and mania. In addition to talking to your family doctor, check out the resources below for more information on bipolar disorder:
Other helpful resources, available in English only, are:
Mood Disorders Association of BCVisit www.mdabc.net or call 604-873-0103 or 1-855-282-7979 for resources and information on mood disorders. Youll also find more information on support groups around the province.
Canadian Mental Health Association, BC DivisionVisit www.cmha.bc.ca or call 1-800-555-8222 or 604-688-3234 for information and community resources on mental health or any mental illness.
What Are Your Treatment Options
Treatment will depend on which type of bipolar disorder you have, and what your symptoms are. Most of the time, youll need medication to manage your symptoms, along with therapy. Medications that may be used include:
Antidepressants Antipsychotics Mood stabilizers Anti-anxiety medications
Sometimes traditional medication therapy isnt enough. At Boston MindCare, our doctors offer a unique treatment option when nothing else has worked. Ketamine infusion therapy can help the symptoms of depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder. It works by inhibiting glutamate in your brain to stabilize your mood.
Like many of the other medications used to treat this disorder, ketamine comes with some side effects, so its important to talk to our doctors to see if this treatment is right for you.
You dont need to deal with bipolar disorder on your own. If youre looking for help, call our office at 701-207-9841 or book an appointment online today.
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Tips For Coping And Support
If youve noticed symptoms of bipolar disorder, a good first step involves reaching out to a doctor or therapist as soon as possible.
Similarly, if its a friend or loved one who has symptoms, consider encouraging them to connect with a therapist as soon as possible. It never hurts to remind them that they have your understanding and support, either.
The Keys To Bipolar Disorder Self
Get educated. Learn as much as you can about bipolar disorder. The more you know, the better youll be at assisting your own recovery.
Get moving. Exercise has a beneficial impact on mood and may reduce the number of bipolar episodes you experience. Aerobic exercise that activates arm and leg movement such as running, walking, swimming, dancing, climbing or drumming may be especially beneficial to your brain and nervous system.
Keep stress in check. Avoid high-stress situations, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and try relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.
Seek support. Its important to have people you can turn to for help and encouragement. Try joining a support group or talking to a trusted friend. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness and it wont mean youre a burden to others. In fact, most friends will be flattered that you trust them enough to confide in them, and it will only strengthen your relationship.
Stay closely connected to friends and family. Nothing is as calming to the nervous system as face-to-face contact with caring supportive people who can just listen to you talk about what youre experiencing.
Make healthy choices. Healthy sleeping and eating habits can help stabilize your moods. Keeping a regular sleep schedule is particularly important.
Monitor your moods. Keep track of your symptoms and watch for signs that your moods are swinging out of control so you can stop the problem before it starts.
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Symptoms Of Depressive Episodes
Depressive episodes can also emerge without warning. Some of the triggers for these depressive periods include lack of sleep, excessive stress, or a negative life event, but often there is no known cause for the depression. The depressive episodes must be carefully monitored, as there is an increased risk of suicidal behavior during these phases.
- Feelings of despair and hopelessness
- Intense fatigue
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Chronic pain with no known medical cause
- Trouble concentrating
- Suicidal thoughts
How Is It Treated
Bipolar disorder is treatable. With treatment, which includes medicines and counselling, you can feel better.
You may need to try several medicines to
find the combination that works for you.
- Most people with bipolar disorder need to take a medicine called a mood stabilizer every day.
- Medicines called antipsychotics can help get a manic phase under control.
- Antidepressants are used carefully for episodes of depression, because they cause some people to move into a manic phase.
Counselling for you and your family is also an important treatment. It can help you cope with some of the work and relationship issues that the illness may cause.
You can do a few things on your own to help deal with bipolar disorder. These include regular activity, getting enough sleep, and learning to recognize early signs of highs and lows.
People often stop taking their medicines during a manic phase because they feel good. But this is a mistake. You must take your medicines regularly, even if you are feeling better.
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Depression And Bipolar Disorder
We all experience changes in our mood. Sometimes we feel energetic, full of ideas, or irritable, and other times we feel sad or down. But these moods usually dont last long, and we can go about our daily lives. Depression and bipolar disorder are two mental illnesses that change the way people feel and make it hard for them to go about their daily routine.
Reduce Stress Get Rest
- Try to control the amount of stress in your life. Techniques to relieve stress include physical activity and exercise, breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, and counselling and support groups.
- Get enough sleep. Keep your room dark and quiet, and try to go to bed at the same time every night. If you plan to travel into other time zones, ask your doctor if you should make any changes in your medicines. And ask what to do if you have a manic or depressive episode while you are away.
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