Understand Sexual Health Issues
Understanding what can happen as a result of sexual activities is important, as it relates to events that may be unintended, such as an unplanned pregnancy.
This is especially important during periods of hypersexuality.
Differences In Similar Illnesses
Mental health professionals may need to sift out bipolar disorder from other look-alike symptoms of illnesses. For example, if a child with ADD has insomnia, they will be tired the next day a child with bipolar wont feel a need for sleep, explains Benjamin Goldstein, MD, PhD, a psychiatrist at the Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto. Hypersexuality is another bipolar marker, as it is a symptom of mania but not characteristic of ADD.
What The Research Says
The researchers found that people who took the anticonvulsants valproate or lamotrigine had better sexual function scores than people who took lithium or a combination of lithium and benzodiazepines.
In comparison with people who took anticonvulsants alone:
- People who took lithium or a combination of lithium and benzodiazepines had worse sexual desire.
- People who took lithium had worse sexual arousal.
- People who took a combination of lithium and anticonvulsants, or lithium and benzodiazepines had worse sexual orgasm.
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What Should I Know About Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. 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 so that others may be better helped in the future.
Researchers at NIMH and around the country conduct clinical trials with patients and healthy volunteers. Talk to your 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.
Know The Signs And Symptoms Of Bipolar
These symptoms may come before or after a hypomanic episode in bipolar II disorder.
A bipolar disorder diagnosis may be delayed because those closest to the individual didnt realize the behavior indicated a bigger issue or the first diagnosis of another condition was inaccurate. Pregnancy and seasonal affective disorder might be considered as causes for symptoms.
A mental health professional will determine if a manic or depressed episode has previously been experienced, and will also ask about the individuals behaviors and experiences over a course of time. A mood-disorder questionnaire with 13 questions is often used as an important diagnostic tool to assess symptom clusters and to avoid misdiagnosis.
In a survey by the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association , 69% of patients with bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed initially and more than one-third remained misdiagnosed for 10 years or more.
As you learn more about the whys, whos, and whats, its important to remember that although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, you can manage your mood swings and other symptoms by following a treatment plan. In most cases, bipolar disorder is treated with medications and psychological counseling .
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Treatments For Older Age Bipolar Disorder
A treatment plan for bipolar disorder may include a combination of therapy and medication.
Although older adults will receive the same, or very similar, medications as younger adults, a healthcare professional may need to adjust the dosage to prevent side effects. They may also need to consider the other medications a person is taking to avoid potentially harmful drug interactions.
The following sections look at some treatment options for bipolar disorder in more detail.
How Is Nimh Addressing Bipolar Disorder
The National Institute of Mental Health conducts and supports research on bipolar disorder that increases our understanding of its causes and helps develop new treatments. Researchers continue to study genetics and bipolar disorder, brain function, and symptoms in children and teens who have bipolar disorder, as well as family history in health and behavior.
Learn more about NIMHs research priorities and current studies.
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Conditions That Can Co
Many people with bipolar disorder also may have other mental health disorders or conditions such as:
- Psychosis. Sometimes people who have severe episodes of mania or depression also have psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions. The psychotic symptoms tend to match the persons extreme mood. For example:
- Someone having psychotic symptoms during a manic episode may falsely believe that he or she is famous, has a lot of money, or has special powers.
- Someone having psychotic symptoms during a depressive episode may believe he or she is financially ruined and penniless or has committed a crime.
Some bipolar disorder symptoms are like those of other illnesses, which can lead to misdiagnosis. For example, some people with bipolar disorder who also have psychotic symptoms can be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia. Some physical health conditions, such as thyroid disease, can mimic the moods and other symptoms of bipolar disorder. Street drugs sometimes can mimic, provoke, or worsen mood symptoms.
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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The Role Of Mitochondria
Experts also believe mitochondria which you may remember from science class as the cells that generate energy, aka the powerhouse of the cell may have something to do with the development of mood disorders.
When cells dont produce or metabolize energy as they typically would, the resulting imbalances in brain energy could lead to the changes in mood and behavior often seen with bipolar disorder.
Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder In Children
Kids might find it hard to express what they are experiencing and adults may not understand a complicated disorder like manic depression. However there are certain signs which may indicate that a child is beginning to develop bipolar disorder and needs to receive psychiatric attention. Manic symptoms can differ greatly from depression so it is important to know the difference.
Manic symptoms in children include:
- Severe mood swings that are different from their normal mood changes
- Hyperactive behavior and increased energy
- Impulsive or aggressive behavior
- Distracted and having trouble focusing on one thing
- Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
- Involvement in risky behaviors or activity
Depressive symptoms include
- Physical complaints about aches and pains
- Significant change in appetite or body weight
- Loss of energy
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Bipolar Disorder: What Causes Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that results in extreme changes of mood, energy and ability to function. Although research has improved our understanding of why someone might develop bipolar disorder, the exact cause is still not known.
Scientists believe that bipolar disorder is the result of a complicated relationship between genetic and environmental factors. Research suggests that a person is born with a “vulnerability” to bipolar illness, which means that they are more prone to developing the disorder. However, this is not the only factor in determining whether a person will become ill. Environmental factors such as stressful life events also appear to play a role in that they can lead to the onset of the illness or “trigger” a relapse of symptoms.
Family, twin and adoption studies show that bipolar disorder can run in families although not everyone with a family history will develop this disorder. People who have first-degree relatives with a mood disorder are more likely to have a mood disorder. For example, a person with one parent who has bipolar has a 15 to 30% risk for developing the disorder.
It is important to remember that what is stressful to one person may not be stressful to another.
A person’s coping skills or their “resiliency” will also impact on how stressful the event is to that person.
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Symptoms Of A Mixed Episode
A mixed episode of bipolar disorder features symptoms of both mania or hypomania and depression. Common signs of a mixed episode include depression combined with agitation, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, distractibility, and racing thoughts. This combination of high energy and low mood makes for a particularly high risk of suicide.
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When Does Bipolar Disorder Develop
People often describe themselves or others as bipolar when theyre happy one moment and sad the next. As with other mental health issues, the words are overused and often ascribed to regular everyday emotions and experiences.
However, theres more to bipolar disorders than mood swings. Bipolar disorder is a psychological disorder thats characterized by periods of extreme depression, manic episodes, and normal moods. Sometimes you may cycle through these episodes throughout a month, a few days, or even in a single 24-hour period.
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder, which means it affects the way you feel and how your brain regulates your moods. Mental health issues like bipolar disorder are complex, and they can be difficult to diagnose. However, detecting the signs and symptoms early can help you get the treatment you need and to avoid some of the worst consequences of the disorder. But whos at risk, and when does bipolar disorder start? Learn more about bipolar disorder, who it affects, and when you should look for the signs.
Information For Family Carers And Friends
How can I get support?
You can speak to your GP. You should be given your own assessment through NHS mental health services to work out what effect your caring role is having on your health. And what support you need. Such as practical support and emergency support.
These are some other options for you:
- Join a carers service
- Join a carers support group
- Ask your local authority for a carers assessment
- Read about the condition
- Apply for welfare benefits for carers
Rethink Mental Illness run carers support groups in some areas. You can also search for groups on the Carers Trust website:
- Rethink Mental Illness: www.rethink.org/about-us/our-support-groups
- Carers Trust: www.carers.org/search/network-partners
How can I support the person I care for?
You might find it easier to support someone with bipolar disorder if you understand their symptoms, treatment and self-management skills.
You should be aware of what you can do if you are worried about their mental state. It can be helpful to know contact information for their mental health team or GP.
You could find out from your relative if they have a crisis plan. You could help your relative to make a crisis plan if they dont have one.
As a carer you should be involved in decisions about care planning. But you dont have a legal right to this. The medical team should encourage the person that you care for to allow information to be shared with you.
You can find out more information about:
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What Age Does Bipolar Start
Most cases of bipolar disorder commence when individuals are aged 1519 years. The second most frequent age range of onset is 2024 years. Some patients diagnosed with recurrent major depression may indeed have bipolar disorder and go on to develop their first manic episode when older than 50 years.
Can Environmental Stress Increase The Risk Of Bipolar Disorder
People are sometimes diagnosed with bipolar following a stressful or traumatic event in their lives. These environmental triggers can include seasonal changes, holidays, and major life changes such as starting a new job, losing a job, going to college, family disagreements, , or a death in the family. Stress, in and of itself, does not cause bipolar disorder , but in people with the biological vulnerability to bipolar disorder, having effective skills for managing life stresses can be critical to a healthy lifestyle in order to avoid things that can aggravate the illness .
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How Do Medications Factor In
Treating bipolar disorder with medication can be something of a delicate balance. Antidepressants that help ease depressive episodes can sometimes trigger manic episodes.
If your healthcare provider recommends medication, they might prescribe an antimanic medication such as lithium along with an antidepressant. These medications can help prevent a manic episode.
As you work to develop a treatment plan with your care provider, let them know about any medications you take. Some medications can make both depressive and manic episodes more severe.
Also tell your care provider about any substance use, including alcohol and caffeine, since they can sometimes lead to mood episodes.
Some substances, including cocaine, ecstasy, and amphetamines, can produce a high that resembles a manic episode. Medications that might have a similar effect include:
- high doses of appetite suppressants and cold medications
- prednisone and other steroids
- thyroid medication
If you believe youre experiencing a mood episode or other symptoms of bipolar disorder, its always a good idea to connect with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Brain Chemistry And Biology
Bipolar disorder also has a neurological component.
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in the brain. They help relay messages between nerve cells throughout the body. These chemicals play an essential role in healthy brain function. Some of them even help regulate mood and behavior.
Older links three main neurotransmitters to bipolar disorder:
Imbalances of these brain chemicals may prompt manic, depressive, or hypomanic mood episodes. This is particularly the case when environmental triggers or other factors come into play.
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When To Seek Help
Children and adolescents with bipolar disorder experience severe mood and behavior changes that are extreme and represent a major change from their typical mood and behavior. It might be difficult to know when the symptoms are severe enough to warrant evaluation and, potentially, diagnosis, so consider these three basic factors: functioning, feeling, and family.
Medications For Bipolar Disorder
Certain medications help with managing symptoms of bipolar disorder. Psychopharmaceuticals, for example, are used to help balance mood and can be used immediately after diagnosis. Some treatment plans may target sleep and anxiety, while others may seek to treat depressive episodes. This process may take some time, and a person might need to try several different medications before finding the ones that work best. Before starting a medication, it is important to:
- Understand the risks and benefits of the medication
- Report side effects to your doctor right away
- Tell the doctor about any other prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, or supplements being taken
Once prescribed, the medication shouldnt be stopped without first consulting a health care provider first. Medications for bipolar disorder are meant to be taken consistently, as prescribed, even once a person starts feeling better. If an individual stops taking a prescribed medication, it may actually lead to a worsening of bipolar symptoms.
Depending on a persons situation and unique needs, in addition to medications, symptoms of bipolar disorder can be managed with the following treatment options:
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How Do Doctors Treat It
Although there’s no cure for bipolar disorder, treatment can help stabilize moods and help the person manage and control symptoms. Like other teens with long-lasting medical conditions , teens with bipolar disorder need to work closely with their doctors and other medical professionals to treat it.
This team of medical professionals, together with the teen and family, develop what is called a treatment plan. Teens with bipolar disorder will probably receive medication, such as a mood stabilizer, from a psychiatrist or other medical doctor. A psychologist or other type of counselor will provide counseling or psychotherapy for the teen and his or her family. Doctors will watch the symptoms closely and offer additional treatment advice if necessary.
What Is Rapid Cycling
Some people with bipolar disorder develop rapid cycling where they experience four or more episodes of mania or depression within a 12-month period. Mood swings can occur very quickly, like a rollercoaster randomly moving from high to low and back again over a period of days or even hours. Rapid cycling can leave you feeling dangerously out of control and most commonly occurs if your bipolar disorder symptoms are not being adequately treated.
The different faces of bipolar disorder
Bipolar I Disorder This is the classic manic-depressive form of the illness, characterized by at least one manic episode or mixed episode. Usuallybut not alwaysBipolar I Disorder also involves at least one episode of depression.
Bipolar II Disorder In Bipolar II disorder, you dont experience full-blown manic episodes. Instead, the illness involves episodes of hypomania and severe depression.
Cyclothymia Cyclothymia is a milder form of bipolar disorder that consists of cyclical mood swings. However, the symptoms are less severe than full-blown mania or depression.
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