What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder
The defining sign of bipolar I disorder is a manic episode that lasts at least one week, while people with bipolar II disorder or cyclothymia experience hypomanic episodes.
But many people with bipolar disorder experience both hypomanic/manic and depressive episodes. These changing mood states dont always follow a set pattern, and depression doesnt always follow manic phases. A person may also experience the same mood state several times with periods of euthymia in between before experiencing the opposite mood.
Mood changes in bipolar disorder can happen over a period of weeks, months and sometimes even years.
An important aspect of the mood changes is that theyre a departure from your regular self and that the mood change is sustained for a long time. It may be many days or weeks in the case of mania and many weeks or months in the case of depression.
The severity of the depressive and manic phases can differ from person to person and in the same person at different times.
Signs and symptoms of manic episodes
Some people with bipolar disorder will have episodes of mania or hypomania many times throughout their life others may experience them only rarely.
Signs and symptoms of a manic episode include:
Most of the time, people experiencing a manic episode are unaware of the negative consequences of their actions. With bipolar disorder, suicide is an ever-present danger some people become suicidal in manic episodes, not just depressive episodes.
Monitor Your Moods Symptoms And Triggers
Managing a condition like bipolar disorder 2 is not a one-and-done situation. Over time, you will go through periods where stressors in your life, changes in your body, and many other variables will alter how effective your treatment plan is.
If you develop a practice of kind and respectful self-monitoring, you may be able to keep symptoms from escalating into a full-blown hypomanic or depressive episode. Here are a few areas to watch:
- Keep track of your feelings. You can use a journal, a mood chart or calendar, an app, or any other method that allows you to take a frequent inventory of your emotions. What are you looking for? Any change in your mood or outlook that feels like a familiar sign of a mood shift. Electronic and digital methods of tracking mood are also increasingly being
- show that IPSRT reduces anxiety, hypomania, and depression symptoms in people with bipolar disorder.
How Is Bipolar Ii Diagnosed
Diagnosing bipolar II disorder requires thorough physical and psychological evaluation. Your behavioral health physician will use the criteria for bipolar II disorder listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , published by the American Psychiatric Association, to determine if your symptoms indicate the condition.
Diagnostic tests include:
Physical examination: Your physician will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your health to determine if your symptoms could be linked to an underlying physical health problem.
Psychiatric evaluation: Your behavioral health physician will ask about your symptoms, thoughts, feelings and behavior patterns. You will be asked about your personal and family history of mental illness, bipolar disorder and other mood disorders as bipolar disorder often has a genetic component. Your behavioral health physician may also ask questions to test your reasoning, memory and ability to express yourself.
Read Also: How Does Hydroxyzine Work For Anxiety
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.
What Types Of Bipolar Disorder Are There
Bipolar disorder is often broken down into types and subtypes.
Not all medical professionals agree on how to classify or diagnose bipolar disorder. More research in this area is needed.
You may hear several different words or phrases used to describe types of bipolar. This can be confusing and frustrating. Especially if you feel that your experiences are not being fully understood. Or if you are being told different things by different people.
This page covers:
You may get a diagnosis of bipolar 1 if you have experienced:
- At least one episode of mania which has lasted longer than a week.
- Some depressive episodes too, although not everyone does.
Read Also: Is Alcohol A Stimulant Or Depressant
Can Hypomania Be Prevented
Episodes of hypomania cant always be prevented. However, you can learn ways to better manage your symptoms and prevent them from getting worse.
Suggestions on your to-do list might include:
- Keeping a mood diary to become more self-aware of events that trigger an oncoming episode of hypomania. These events are unique to you. Sometimes you cant recognize your own triggers. Ask your trusted, close family and friends to help identify when they see changes in your mood, behavior and energy level that is different from your usual self.
- Following other coping strategies.
Preventing Bipolar 2 Episodes
Many people with bipolar disorder find that a straighter lifestyle can also help flatten the peaks and valleys of their mood swings. This means they stick to a healthy sleep schedule, exercise regularly, eat well, avoid abusing drugs and alcohol, monitor caffeine intake, and try to minimize the stress in their lives.
If their daily habits change, they might start noticing changes in their mood. These can serve as warning signs so the person knows they need to reset their routine or or take other steps to stabilize. This kind of self-awareness and self-monitoring can also lead someone with bipolar 2 to know when they need extra support from friends and family, or from a mental health professional.
Don’t Miss: How Does An Anxiety Attack Feel
Get Involved With Treatment
Ask if you can be involved with your partners treatment, which may include occasionally going to the psychiatrist together. Being a part of your partners treatment has multiple benefits, including:
- Gaining a better understanding of the illness.
- Providing additional insight for the psychiatrist.
- Learning to spot signs of impending episodes.
- Alerting the psychiatrist about mood changes.
Even if your partner hasnt signed off on you exchanging information with their psychiatrist, you can still report worrisome signs . This gives the doctor a chance to make quick medication changes that may help your partner avoid being hospitalized.
How Is Hypomania Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will ask about your medical history, family medical history, current prescriptions and non-prescription medications and any herbal products or supplements you take. Your provider may order blood tests and body scans to rule out other conditions that may mimic mania. One such condition is hyperthyroidism. If other diseases and conditions are ruled out, your provider may refer you to a mental health specialist
To be diagnosed with hypomania, your mental health specialist may follow the criteria of the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-5. Their criteria for manic episode is:
- You have an abnormal, long-lasting elevated expression of emotion along with a high degree of energy and activity that lasts for at least four consecutive days and is present most of the day, nearly every day.
- You have three or more symptoms to a degree that theyre a noticeable change from your usual behavior .
- The hypomanic episode is not severe enough to significantly interfere with your social, work or school functioning and theres no need for hospitalization.
- The hypomanic episode cant be caused by the effects of a substance or another medical condition.
If you have hypomania, you dont have thoughts that are out of step with reality you dont have false beliefs or false perceptions . If you do have these symptoms of psychosis, your diagnosis is mania.
Also Check: What Types Of Eating Disorders Are There
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:
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:
- understand your condition,
- think about the effect that your thoughts and behaviour have on your mood,
- monitor your mood, thoughts and behaviour,
- think about risk and distress,
- make plans to stay well,
- make plans to follow if you start to become unwell,
- be aware of how you communicate, and
- manage difficulties you may have in day to day life.
- support needs, and
How Is Bipolar Disorder Treated In A Teen
Treatment will depend on your teens symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Treatment can often help a teen with bipolar disorder get better. But it will take time. Treatment may include one or more of the following:
Mood-stabilizing medicines or antidepressants
You May Like: What Are The Types Of Eating Disorders
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.
Key Points To Remember
If you think that you have Bipolar II, make an appointment to discuss your concerns with a licensed mental health professional. Dont just concentrate on describing your depressive symptoms. Make sure you are also discussing the hypomania. Leaving out those episodes is one reason misdiagnosis could occur. If they still wont listen, dont give up. For some people it takes years to be accurately diagnosed.
Recommended Reading: Can A 9 Year Old Be Bipolar
Which Teens Are At Risk For Bipolar Disorder
A teen is at higher risk for bipolar disorder if another family member has it. Researchers are still looking for the gene or genes that may cause the disorder.
The disorder often starts in the teen years or early adulthood. It affects boys and girls equally. But girls tend to have more symptoms of depression.
What Causes Bipolar Disorder
Scientists dont know what causes bipolar disorder. Abnormal physical characteristics of the brain or an imbalance in certain brain chemicals may be among the main causes.
As with many medical conditions, bipolar disorder tends to run in families. If you have a parent or sibling with bipolar disorder, your risk of developing it is higher. The search continues for the genes which may be responsible for bipolar disorder.
Researchers also believe that severe stress, drug or alcohol abuse, or severely upsetting experiences may trigger bipolar disorder. These experiences can include childhood abuse or the death of a loved one.
You May Like: How To Make Your Dog A Service Dog For Anxiety
Bipolar Disorder And Other Conditions
Some bipolar disorder symptoms are similar to those of other illnesses, which can make it challenging for a health care provider to make a diagnosis. In addition, many people may have bipolar disorder along with another mental disorder or condition, such as an anxiety disorder, substance use disorder, or an eating disorder. People with bipolar disorder have an increased chance of having thyroid disease, migraine headaches, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other physical illnesses.
Psychosis: Sometimes, a person with severe episodes of mania or depression may experience psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions. The psychotic symptoms tend to match the persons extreme mood. For example:
- People having psychotic symptoms during a manic episode may have the unrealistic belief that they are famous, have a lot of money, or have special powers.
- People having psychotic symptoms during a depressive episode may falsely believe they are financially ruined and penniless, have committed a crime, or have an unrecognized serious illness.
As a result, people with bipolar disorder who also have psychotic symptoms are sometimes incorrectly diagnosed with schizophrenia. When people have symptoms of bipolar disorder and also experience periods of psychosis that are separate from mood episodes, the appropriate diagnosis may be schizoaffective disorder.
Anxiety: It is common for people with bipolar disorder to also have an anxiety disorder.
Natural Treatments For Bipolar Disorder
How to bipolar disorder treated? Treatment for bipolar disorder is aimed to reduce depressive and manic symptoms, and will include mood stabilizers like lithium and certain anticonvulsants. Other drugs for bipolar disorder include second-generation antipsychotics, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , and electroconvulsive therapy.
There are also natural ways to treat bipolar symptoms. For instance, counseling or body-center psychotherapy can help a person heal the emotional blocks associated with bipolar disorder. Other natural therapies include hypnosis, acupuncture, reiki healing, tai chi, qigong, yoga, and meditation. It also helps to avoid stimulants such as cigarettes, alcohol, and caffeine.
Natural bipolar remedies also include omega-3 fatty acids, ashwagandha, magnesium with calcium, 5-hydroxytryptophan , S-adenosyl-L-methionine , vitamin D, vitamin C with bioflavoids, B complex vitamins, high-potency multivitamins, GABA, turine, and L-tyrosine.
You May Like: Which Magnesium Is Best For Sleep And Anxiety
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.
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?
Read Also: How To Deal With Dog Anxiety