Thursday, June 16, 2022

What’s It Like To Be Bipolar

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What Are The Causes And Risk Factors

What Does Bipolar I Feel Like?

Like most mental health disorders, the exact cause of cyclothymia is unknown. However, the genetic component of cyclothymia is strong. For cyclothymia, major depression, and bipolar mood disorders, a family history indicates a greater risk of development. Twin studies suggest that the risk of developing cyclothymia is 2-3 times more likely if an identical twin is diagnosed with the disorder, pointing to the strong genetic component of the mood disorder.

Environmental factors are also a likely contributing factor to being diagnosed with cyclothymia. As with bipolar disorder and major depression, certain life events may increase your chances of developing cyclothymia. These include things like physical or sexual abuse or other traumatic experiences and prolonged periods of stress.

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Bipolar Disorder In Children And Teens

Bipolar disorders are most common in older adolescents and teens, but children can also be diagnosed with the disorder at a younger age. While not nearly as common in children as it is in adults, research studies have revealed that bipolar disorder affects as many as 3% of all children and up to 7% of children receiving outpatient psychiatric care. Bipolar disorder has been diagnosed in children as young as 5. When young children experience symptoms, this is called early-onset bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is more likely to affect the children of parents who have the disorder. When one parent has bipolar disorder, the risk to each child is l5 to 30%. When both parents have bipolar disorder, the risk increases to 50 to 75%.

Bipolar in kids also causes distinct mood episodes from mania or hypomania to depression. However, because kids and adolescents can act out, have difficulty in school or at home, and display some of the symptoms of bipolar disorders, like restlessness, impulsivity, risky behaviors, and an inflated view of capabilities, even when they dont have the disorder, it can be difficult to diagnose.

What Are The Types Of Bipolar Disorder

There are three main types of bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar I disorder involves manic episodes that last at least 7 days or manic symptoms so severe that you need immediate hospital care. Depressive episodes are also common. Those often last at least two weeks. This type of bipolar disorder can also involve mixed episodes.
  • Bipolar II disorder involves depressive episodes. But instead of full-blown manic episodes, there are episodes of hypomania. Hypomania is a less severe version of mania.
  • Cyclothymic disorder, or cyclothymia, also involves hypomanic and depressive symptoms. But they are not as intense or as long-lasting as hypomanic or depressive episodes. The symptoms usually last for at least two years in adults and for one year in children and teenagers.

With any of these types, having four or more episodes of mania or depression in a year is called rapid cycling.

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You Have Bouts Of Over

This is mania. Itâs a high that goes way beyond âhappyâ or âjoyful.â Some people have it often, others hardly ever.

Hypomania is a milder form of this feeling. It doesnât turn into psychosis like mania can, but itâs part of a bipolar diagnosis. You might feel great and get a lot done, but those around you might see changes in your mood and activity levels.

To get a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, you must have had at least one manic or hypomanic experience.

Signs of manic behavior include:

  • Your mood isnât comfortable. It might feel good at first, especially after depression. But it quickly becomes erratic and out of control.
  • Your judgment swerves way off. You take extreme risks. You make bad decisions with no thought for what might happen. For instance, you might spend money recklessly or have risky sex.
  • You get bad-tempered and angry.
  • You feel strung-out or edgy.
  • You find it hard to sleep.
  • You feel like your mind is a freeway. You might talk super-fast and hop subjects, or think you can do too many things at once.

Some episodes can mix mania and depression. For example, you might feel hyper-energetic and full of despair at the same time.

How To Cope With Bipolar Disorder

What its like to be bipolar

No matter how down or out of control you feel, its important to remember that youre not powerless when it comes to bipolar disorder. Beyond the treatment you get from your doctor or therapist, there are many things you can do for yourself to reduce your symptoms and stay on track.

Living well with bipolar disorder requires certain adjustments. Like diabetics who take insulin or recovering alcoholics who avoid drinking, if you have bipolar disorder, its important to make healthy choices for yourself. Making these healthy choices will help you keep your symptoms under control, minimize mood episodes, and take control of your life.

Managing bipolar disorder starts with proper treatment, including medication and therapy. But there is so much more you can do to help yourself on a day-to-day basis. These tips can help you influence the course of your illness, enabling you to take greater control over your symptoms, to stay well longer, and to quickly rebound from any mood episode or relapse.

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What Does Bipolar Ii Depression Look And Feel Like

Although hypomania is the core feature that defines bipolar II, the depressive episodes tend to be more frequent, long-lasting, and disabling over a persons lifetime.

According to the DSM-5, the depressive aspect of bipolar II is defined by at least one major depressive episode resulting in depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in life.

feels like the world is crumbling around me, like Im 10-feet underground and cant dig myself up, Rose says.

But as different as the hypomanic and depressive states have felt, Rose reveals that they were similar in one way: They both felt like they would never end.

Ill Deep Clean My House Down To Scrubbing Windowsills

Alexandra Pratz, 32, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when she was 16, although she says doctors cant decide if she has bipolar I or bipolar II.Im more manic than depressive but my mania was never to the point where I needed to be in a psychiatric hospital, she says.

Pratz says she struggled with impulsive behavior during manic episodes in the past and spent thousands of dollars with no plan to pay it off. Now that she takes medication and undergoes regular counseling, that is no longer an issue for her. Im able to get up, take care of my child, take a shower, and brush my teeth, she says. Im still not really able to control all of my manic and depressive episodestheyre just not as severe.

Pratz describes her manic episodes as being almost hyperactive which impacts her sleep. She also will have a huge urge to clean during an episode. Ill deep clean my house, down to scrubbing windowsills, she says. I also get ragethats the number one thing I struggle with. There are times where I just collapse on the floor and start crying or Ill throw a high chair. Thats unfortunately how my frustration plays out.

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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.

Bipolar Treatment Risks Around Pregnancy

What its Really Like Having Bipolar Disorder (manic Depression)

Bipolar disorder itself does not appear to affect the safety of a pregnancy. However, some treatments can pose a risk to the unborn or breastfeeding baby. On the other hand, stopping treatment may increase the risk to the pregnant person.

In some cases, medications can worsen or trigger symptoms of bipolar disorder. For example, treating postpartum depression with antidepressants may increase the risk of psychosis, mania, and rapid cycling. In people with a family history of bipolar disorder, it may trigger the first symptoms.

It is crucial for a person and their doctor to weigh the risk of symptoms with the risk of adverse effects when developing a treatment plan. This may change before, during, and after pregnancy. For a person with severe symptoms, a doctor may recommend ECT, but experts recommend this only as a last resort.

Anyone with bipolar disorder who is considering pregnancy or pregnant should speak with their healthcare team, especially if bipolar symptoms are present.

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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?

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.

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How Does It Affect People

Bipolar disorder affects both men and women. For many people, the first symptoms show up in their early twenties. However, research has shown that the first episode of bipolar disorder is occurring earlier: It often shows up in adolescence, and even children can have the disorder.

Recent research suggests that kids and teens with bipolar disorder don’t always have the same behavioral patterns that adults with bipolar disorder do. For example, kids who have bipolar disorder may experience particularly rapid mood changes and may have some of the other mood-related symptoms listed below, such as irritability and high levels of anxiety. But they may not show other symptoms that are more commonly seen in adults.

Because brain function is involved, the ways people with bipolar disorder think, act, and feel are all affected. This can make it especially difficult for other people to understand their condition. It can be incredibly frustrating if other people act as though someone with bipolar disorder should just “snap out of it,” as if a person who is sick can become well simply by wanting to.

Bipolar disorder isn’t a sign of weakness or a character flaw it’s a serious medical condition that requires treatment, just like any other condition.

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The Three Symptoms Below Represent The Side Of Bipolar Disorder We All Know Is There But Rarely Want To Let The Public Know Exists

Understanding Bipolar from a sufferer: Meeting wrong people?

I know how important it is to protect the reputation of bipolar disorder in the general public. We dont want people thinking we are dangerous, scary, crazy people who cant be trusted. But I do feel we need to own up to the fact that certain mood swings DO cause the behaviors we want to sweep under the carpet. The three symptoms below represent the side of bipolar disorder we all know is there but rarely want to let the public know exists. This is only an opinion, of course, but Im truly interested to know if you feel the same.

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Take Care Of Yourself

It is absolutely critical that you take care of your own physical and emotional needs. You may consider seeing a therapist for yourself, as a means of evaluating your own thoughts and stresses from being in a relationship with someone who has bipolar disorder.

You also have to know when and if you need to leave a romantic relationshiplike if the person you are dating becomes dangerous, stops getting therapy, or becomes too unstable for you. Understanding your boundaries and what you are willing to accept needs to be crystal clear.

In addition, continue to take care of your own bodys needs like eating nutritiously, sleeping, and exercising. Be sure to keep up your relationships with other friends and loved ones, too, as embarking on a relationship with someone with bipolar disorder is not the time to isolate yourself. Joining a support group to both gain knowledge and emotional support can also be incredibly helpful.

Create An Emergency Action Plan

Despite your best efforts, there may be times when you experience a relapse into full-blown mania or severe depression. In crisis situations where your safety is at stake, your loved ones or doctor may have to take charge of your care. Such times can leave you feeling helpless and out of control, but having a crisis plan in place allows you to maintain some degree of responsibility for your own treatment.

A plan of action typically includes:

A list of emergency contacts for your doctor, therapist, and close family members.

A list of all medications you are taking, including dosage information.

Symptoms that indicate you need others to take responsibility for your care, and information about any other health problems you have.

Treatment preferences such as who you want to care for you, what treatments and medications do and do not work, and who is authorized to make decisions on your behalf.

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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.

What Is A Person With Bipolar Disorder Like

What It’s Like To Be A Psych RN

Bipolar disorder is a serious, persistent mental illness characterized by changes in mood, energy, and the ability to function. People with bipolar disorder frequently display extreme, intense, and disturbing emotional states known as mood episodes. Extreme happiness or excitement and melancholy are typical symptoms of mood episodes. People with bipolar disorder can also have normal moods occasionally.

Bipolar disorder is classified into:

  • Bipolar I: Characterized by alternating severe depression and intense mania
  • Bipolar II: It involves severe depression but a less intense mania
  • Cyclothymic disorder: A less severe form of mania and depression

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Sharing Her Story To Help Others

It can be hard for me to open up to people in person, so I also started a blog that has helped me for others to read and understand. Its a way for me to spread awareness and to demonstrate, Look! Shes normal. She has a job. Youd never know if you saw her walking down the street that sometimes she ends up in hospital, yet shes still amazing. One of the most awesome things about coming clean about my mental health is that so many people have opened up to me about their own mental health struggles. Everyone has struggled with something.

But bipolar disorder is not going to stop me from living my life. I plan on going to grad school. Im about to start an addiction research job at a university here in Washington. I plan on getting married and having a family. I plan on living whatever life I want to live. I will always see a psychiatrist, and I will always be on meds.

Im hopeful that 10 years from now, there could be a medication that comes out for bipolar disorder so effective that its the only one I need to take. Im looking forward to the day changes and innovation happen. I am going to keep living my life, because I have the resources to be well right now. I have the energy to be well. I am well. And Im lucky for that.

If you have a story to share about living with an invisible illness, email us at

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