What Causes Bipolar Disorder
Experts do not know what causes bipolar disorder. Some possible causes include:4
- Biology. The way the brain is shaped and how it functions may be different in people with bipolar disorder.5
- Chemistry. In people with bipolar disorder, levels of brain chemicals may not be balanced correctly. These chemicals usually help regulate thoughts, moods, and behaviors so that a person does not feel so high or low.
- Family history. Bipolar disorder is more common in people who have a sibling, parent, or child with the condition. Certain genes may be involved in causing bipolar disorder.
What Risks And Complications Can Bipolar Disorder Cause
There can be complications and risks for people who live with bipolar disorder. But these risks can be lessened with the right support and treatment.
What about suicide and self-harm?
You might have an illness where you experience psychosis, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Your risk of suicide is estimated to be between 5% and 6% higher than the general population.
You are more likely to try to take your own life if you have a history of attempted suicide and depression. It is important that you get the right treatment for your symptoms of depression and have an up to date crisis plan.
There is also research that suggests you are 30% – 40% more likely to self-harm if you live with bipolar disorder.
What about financial risk?
If you have mania or hypomania you may struggle to manage your finances. You may spend lots of money without thinking about the effect that it may have on your life.
You could make a Lasting Power of Attorney. This is a legal process. This means that you pick someone that you trust to manage your finances if you lack mental capacity to manage them by yourself.
You can work with your carer and mental health team. You can form an action plan. This can say what they can do if you have a period of mania or hypomania and you start to make poor financial decisions.
What about physical health risk?
What about alcohol and drugs risk?
If you want advice or help with alcohol or drug use contact your GP.
What about driving risk?
Women With Bipolar Disorder More Likely To Have Co
Another area where women with bipolar experience challenges are substance use disorders. AJournal of Clinical Psychologystudy that examined gender differences looked at comorbidity rates with alcohol and other substance use disorders between men and women with bipolar illness.
Of the two groups, women with bipolar disorder are at particularly high risk for comorbidity with these conditions, researchers found. The drugs and alcohol women use to self-medicate to deal with bipolar disorders physically affect them differently from men with the disorder who might use them for the same purpose.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that womens biology and gender also influence how their experiences with substance use and addiction differ from mens.
First, women who use substances may find it affects their menstrual cycle, hormones, fertility rates, and pregnancy. It can also affect breastfeeding, menopause, and more.
NIDA also writes about other challenges substance use can pose for women, including:
- Increasing their cravings for addictive substances
- Changing their brains in ways that men do not experience
- Creating physical changes in their heart and blood vessels
- Affecting their sex hormones, which can increase their sensitivity to some drugs and their effects
- Raising their risks of developing cancer, including breast cancer
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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.
Specifiers Of Bipolar Disorder
Specifiers are additional characteristics the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition uses to describe various mental health conditions beyond what the diagnostic criteria already tells us.
Common specifiers among women include rapid cycling, psychosis, and mixed features.
If you have bipolar disorder with rapid cycling, you may move through mood episodes quickly.
Rapid cycling involves having 4 or more episodes of mania, hypomania, or depression within a 12-month period.
Women are more likely to experience rapid cycling.
Psychosis is often described as a break with reality. While people do experience psychosis in different ways, it usually involves hallucinations or delusions altered perceptions of reality that feel very real to whoever is having them.
From an outside perspective, someone may notice disorganized thoughts or speech.
Some people with bipolar disorder but not all may have psychosis symptoms at some point. If it occurs, it often happens during mood episodes, especially mania, and is more often seen in people with bipolar I.
Mixed features describes someone having mixed episodes symptoms of depression along with mania or hypomania occurring at the same time or in rapid succession.
Its estimated that around 40% of people with bipolar disorder have mixed episodes, but theyre seen more often in women.
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What Does It Mean If Your Partner Is Bipolar
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition marked by intense mood changes. People with the illness switch back and forth from mania or hypomania to having episodes of depression.
The lifelong condition tends to run in families, although the cause of bipolar disease is unknown. However, it can often be successfully managed through treatment. There are two primary types of bipolar disorder:
Bipolar Disorder Has Different Symptoms In Women
Bipolar disorder looks different in women than men starting from when symptoms first appear. According to the Office on Women’s Health, women are usually diagnosed with bipolar I disorder later in life than men, and women are more often diagnosed with bipolar II disorder than men. These changes could be due to misdiagnosis. However, research suggests that women often experience different symptoms of bipolar disorder.
According to a 2021 International Journal of Bipolar Disorders article, women with bipolar disorder are more likely to have depressive symptoms and rapid cycling, in which four or more episodes of mania or depression occur in a year. The authors also noted women are more often reported to have mixed mania .
“Nobody really knows why some people with bipolar disorder present with mixed mania, or why women are more likely to experience this condition than men. Bipolar symptoms in women may overlie a baseline demonstrative mood and temperament, and this may in part explain their increased prevalence of mixed mania,” Dr. Burt said. In other words, women may have more mixed mania because they tend to feel and express more anxiety even while depressed.
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Can I Take Medicine For Bipolar Disorder While Breastfeeding
Yes. Certain medicines to treat bipolar disorder are safe to take while breastfeeding.7 Talk to your doctor about what medicines you can take after giving birth.
Learn more about medicines and breastfeeding in our Breastfeeding section. You can also enter your medicine into the LactMed® database to find out whether your medicine passes through your breastmilk and, if so, any possible side effects for your nursing baby.
Im No Longer The Emotional Equivalent Of Earthquakes And Monsoons
My current diagnosis classifies my illness as “bipolar type 1, in remission.” So while my mood varies at least a little from day to day, depending on both external circumstances and my own physiology, I don’t experience the extremes of mood that I did years ago, when my bipolar was less effectively managed. In fact, I haven’t had a major episode of depression or mania for at least a decade. I probably experience a greater range of highs and lows than people without a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and the shifts in my mood can happen quickly, but nowadays I’m quite acclimated to it. It’s no longer the emotional equivalent of earthquakes and monsoons now it’s more like the regular shifts in weather.
I want people to know that bipolar is not a dead end or a death sentence. Our bodies and brains, as well as our emotional lives and mental states, are always changing, always in flux there is always something more we can do to take care of ourselves. Just as we have the capacity for disorder, we have the capacity to attain balance, wellness, and heath. , author of Madness: A Bipolar Life
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Bipolar Disorder Drugs Pregnancy And Side Effects
Treatment for bipolar disorder can also be affected by your biological sex. Bipolar disorder is mainly treated through medication, but those drugs have been linked to birth defects and complications. For example, the Food and Drug Administration has warned that taking Valproate during pregnancy could impair children’s cognitive development and cause birth defects of the brain, spine, or spinal cord.
On the other hand, not treating bipolar disorder could be harmful both to you and your unborn child. In a 2014 Drug, Healthcare, and Patient Safety article, researchers found that the risk of bipolar disorder relapse was much higher for people who stopped taking their medication during pregnancy. Depending on your symptoms, an untreated disorder can prevent you from taking care of yourself or your child.
According to Dr. Burt, healthcare providers recommend staying on mood stabilizers throughout your pregnancy, especially if you have severe bipolar I disorder. Their goal is to keep patients stable and well while choosing the safest medication for the developing fetus. However, if you have milder symptoms, you may be able to stop medication for your first trimester or the whole pregnancy. Ask your healthcare provider about the best options for your health and your child’s.
Perimenopause Menopause And Late Life
Cerebrovascular disease and dementia are common neurologic conditions in late-life that bring changes in mood and behavior in bipolar patients. Even though menopause is defined by an elevated follicular stimulating hormone level with low estradiol levels and both perimenopause and menopause have been associated with bipolar exacerbations,110 agitated depression and psychotic mood episodes,129131 the correlation between gonadal hormones and bipolar mood symptoms is unclear. Therefore, research is essential to explore the effect of gonadal hormones on BD.
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Bipolar Disorder Symptoms In Women
Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition characterized by intense mood swings. While its experienced in similar ways for both men and women, there are some distinct differences when it comes to symptoms. Lets take a look at the unique ways that bipolar disorder affects women.
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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Signs Of Bipolar Disorder In Women
Bipolar disorder in women can be a frightful condition. Sudden changes in mood and the mental instability that comes with this mental disorder can be unpleasant.
You may find that you go from a happy state of mind toward the inability to cope with your own emotions in a matter of seconds. Understanding this condition and recognizing the signs of bipolar disorder in women early can help you get the treatment you need.
The July issue of the Psychiatry Research published results of the study, which showed that men and women experience bipolar disorder differently.
Penn State scientists discovered that men and women react differently to compounds linked with immune system response to bipolar disorder. As a result, biomarkers of the disorder vary between genders.
This major discovery could help improve the way bipolar disorder is diagnosed today. This article will focus on bipolar disorder in women and provide a useful insight into signs to look for you or some other ladys behavior.
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.
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A Higher Risk Of Depression
In females with bipolar disorder generally, depressive symptoms are more likely to be dominant. In fact, females with the condition are twice as likely to experience depression as males. Females are also more likely to experience psychosis with depression.
Because depressive symptoms tend to be dominant, females with bipolar disorder often receive an incorrect diagnosis of depression.
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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I See Manic Symptoms Being Praised In Our Work Culture
I’m 31 years old and was diagnosed on the bipolar spectrum when I was 28. I specifically have Cyclothymia, a milder form of bi-polar. I worked in tech startups for the past 10 years and my manic tendencies earned me much praise and promotion in that stressful, 24/7 environment. For example, my ability to get angry about business setbacks showed how seriously I was taking my job and helped me develop camaraderie with my coworkers. For the first five years, I didn’t seem to notice the pain. The high of success numbed me to the physical downsides I was experiencing. After my first major setback, the pain really set in. I wasn’t able to bounce back after a demotion. I struggled to work under a new authority figure and my bitter attitude kept me from thriving at the company. My sense of failure felt unbearable.
If Your Spouse Has Undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder
Its sometimes possible for a person to have bipolar disorder and be unaware of their condition, particularly during a manic episode. One reason is that symptoms may be confused with other conditions, such as ADHD, anxiety, substance use, and more.
If you believe your spouse might have undiagnosed bipolar disorder, you might be noticing the following behaviors.
- Lack of interest in daily activities
- Thoughts about death or suicidal ideation
If you observe some of these symptoms in your spouse, talk to them about what youre seeing and see if they are open to seeking help.
If they are open to the conversation, make sure that you:
- Let your spouse know what youve noticed without being judgmental.
- Let your partner know that your concern comes from a loving and caring place.
- Ask them about how theyve been feeling and if theyve noticed changes in their mood as well.
- Listen to what they think and what this might mean for them.
- Inquire about their thoughts on seeking help.
If your spouse is open to seeking treatment, let them know they have your support. If they are not open, you can let them know you want to support them, and ask how you can provide support or at what point they might realize its time to seek help.
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