Symptoms Of Clinical Depression
Although there are different types of depression, which can have unique characteristics, there are some symptoms that most people with depression feel at one time or another, such as:
- Feeling profoundly sad, hopeless, or empty
- Getting angry, irritated, or frustrated easily
- Sleeping too much or having insomnia
- Poor concentration or trouble focusing
- Not feeling hungry or overeating
- A lack of interest in hobbies, work, socializing
- Low or no sex drive
- Self-harm, suicidal thoughts or attempts
If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
Typically, a person must have symptoms every day for two weeks or longer to be diagnosed with depression.
Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder In Older Adults
It was once believed that bipolar disorder burns out over the course of ones life. This belief was likely caused by the prevalence of bipolar disorder diagnoses in teens and young adults. More than half of bipolar disorder cases begin before age 25, according to NAMI.
Numerous studies have debunked the myth that bipolar disorder only affects young people. In recent years, theres been increased research on late onset bipolar disorder . A 2015 report stated that nearly 25 percent of people with bipolar disorder are at least 60 years old.
Most research considers bipolar disorder that begins at 50 years old or later to be LOBD. Between 5 and 10 percent of people with bipolar disorder will be at least 50 when they first show symptoms of mania or hypomania.
It can be difficult to correctly diagnose bipolar disorder symptoms in older adults. The symptoms are often confused with other conditions. Symptoms such as psychosis, sleep disturbance, and aggressiveness can be confused with dementia or depressive disorder, according to an article in Primary Psychiatry. The article also suggests that late onset manic episodes can be more closely associated with stroke, dementia, or hyperthyroidism.
Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms Types Causes Treatment And More
This condition, characterized by extreme highs and lows in mood, affects more than half a million Americans.
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme shifts in a person’s mood and energy level. A person with bipolar disorder may experience periods of an extremely elevated or irritable mood as well as episodes of depression.
These shifts are more severe than the normal changes in mood that affect everyone: They can involve impaired thinking and behavior, and can affect your ability to function on a day-to-day basis.
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How Doctors Diagnose It
A key step is to rule out other possible causes of extreme mood swings, including other conditions or side effects of some medicines. Your doctor will give you a checkup and ask you questions. You may get lab tests, too. A psychiatrist usually makes the diagnosis after carefully considering all of these things. They may also talk to people who know you well to find out if your mood and behavior have had major changes.
Go To Couples Counseling
Couples counseling is essential for working through upset over a bipolar partners actions. Its common for someone with bipolar disorder to hurt and offend their partner. When someone is first diagnosed, there are often relationship issues that need to be addressed. Couples counseling can help you:
- Understand that theres an illness involved in the hurtful behavior.
- Forgive the behavior that happened during an altered mood state.
- Set boundaries with a partner about maintaining treatment.
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Living With Bipolar Disorder
Teens normally face ups and downs with school, family, work, and friends. Dealing with bipolar disorder at the same time is a very difficult challenge. One 16-year-old reader who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 14 wrote to us about the experience:
“I had mood swings that were the worst anyone could have ever seen. My poor parents thought I hated them, but really I was sick and didn’t even realize it. But now I am on medications for my disorder and I live a pretty normal life. My family and friends support me, and they, along with my therapist, have helped me get to the point where I am today. I just want other teens to know that even though it is hard at times to be bipolar, things will get better.”
If you’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, taking your medications as prescribed, reporting any changes in how you feel or function, and participating in therapy will be key to living a successful life. In addition to treatment, making a few lifestyle changes, such as reducing stress, eating well, and getting enough sleep and exercise can help someone who is living with the condition. And many teens find it helps to join a support network such as a local support group for people with bipolar disorder.
Dangerous Aggressive And Violent Behavior In Bipolar Disorder
I work with parents and partners of those with bipolar disorder. In the majority of situations, people who are in a strong dysphoric manic episode can be dangerous, aggressive, and violent. Physical assault and weapons are not uncommon. Many men go to jail because of this behavior when they actually need psychiatric help. People who are mild-mannered and kind when well, both men and women, get superhuman strength along with the aggressionripping a sink out of the wall, punching through windows, throwing chairs, and other dangerous behaviors are not uncommon.
Families and partners suffer in silence because they are scared to tell anyone about what really goes on at home.
I have violent thoughts when dysphoric mania is raging. I used to chase down cars if the driver flipped me off or made a strange face. It is not my goal to scare anyone reading this. Its my goal that we are honest about these hidden and pushed-under-the-rug symptoms of bipolar disorder.
The solution is management. People with bipolar do not have these symptoms unless the mood swings are raging. Prevent the mood swings, and you can prevent the dangerous, aggressive, and violent behavior.
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Cognitive Impairment In Bipolar Disorder
Many people find this scary. We already have bipolar, does this mean we have memory problems as well? Maybe. Cognitive impairment from memory lapses, forgetting appointments, being unable to remember information, and experiencing brain fog during certain episodes is common! If you have bipolar, youve probably felt the sluggish brain that comes with depression. If you have mania, you have probably tripped over your words, said things you didnt mean, and had trouble thinking thoughts in order.
My cognitive symptoms visit me daily. Im not able to remember dates and numbers, and I need help with calendars and appointments. Mine got worse after intense therapy I had for severe depression. Its something I find distressing, but its easy to manage.
I want us to be open about cognitive issues. This is the only way we can get help! My cognitive symptoms tend to linger all of the time, but they get worse with mood swings. A perfect example of this: I was supposed to submit this blog by midnight. Yesterday, I reminded myself all day to submit it, but I still managed to go to sleep without sharing it on time. I have to live with these symptoms, and even though a few things slip through, I do control the majority of my minor memory problems with a good support system!
Family With The Disorder
If you have a relative in your nuclear family with bipolar disorder, such as a parent or sibling, then you may be at higher risk for the mood disorder. Symptoms may first emerge during teenage years or early adulthood, with the average of onset being 25.3 One analysis of the literature found that children of parents with a severe mental illness had roughly a one-third chance of developing a severe mental illness by adulthood. Researchers have also found that the earlier age your parent is diagnosed with the disorder, the higher your risk is for also developing it.4
However, we know that genetics isnt the only factor. Studies of identical twins have shown that while bipolar disorder is very heritable, both twins will not always develop the disorder. This means that environmental factors can play a role as well in increasing or decreasing risk of developing the condition.5
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What Is The Difference Between Bipolar Disorder And Manic Depression
You may have heard the term “manic depression” used to describe a mental health disorder with similar symptoms as bipolar disorder. In fact, bipolar disorder was officially known as manic depression until the 1980s, when mental health professionals decided to change the name of the illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders the guide that mental health professionals use to assist in diagnosis. They felt the term “bipolar disorder” more accurately described the condition and its symptoms.
It’s also been argued that the older term carries a stigma in popular culture and that both “manic” and “depression” are now used to describe everyday feelings and emotions. As a result, bipolar disorder is now the preferred term and the one that healthcare professionals use in diagnosis.
How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed
If you or someone you know has symptoms of bipolar disorder, talk to your family doctor or a psychiatrist. They will ask questions about mental illnesses that you, or the person you’re concerned about, have had, and any mental illnesses that run in the family. The person will also get a complete psychiatric evaluation to tell if they have likely bipolar disorder or another mental health condition.
Diagnosing bipolar disorder is all about the person’s symptoms and determining whether they may be the result of another cause . How severe are they? How long have they lasted? How often do they happen?
The most telling symptoms are those that involve highs or lows in mood, along with changes in sleep, energy, thinking, and behavior.
Talking to close friends and family of the person can often help the doctor distinguish bipolar disorder from major depressive disorder or other psychiatric disorders that can involve changes in mood, thinking, and behavior.
If you have just been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you might feel frightened. The future may seem terribly uncertain. What will this mean for your life, your family, and your job?
But getting an accurate diagnosis is actually good news. It means you can finally get the treatment you need. People with bipolar disorder usually go about 10 years before being accurately diagnosed.
If you think your child might have bipolar disorder, ask your doctor for a referral to a child psychologist whoâs familiar with bipolar disorder.
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Whos At Risk For Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder affects about 2.8 percent of adults in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health. Around 83 percent of those people were severely impaired by the disorder while they rest only experienced moderate impairments.
Men and women experience bipolar disorder at similar rates. It also seems to affect all races and socioeconomic classes at similar rates as well. The disorder can begin at any age, but its most common among young adults. According to the National Comorbidity Survey, 18- to 29-year-olds represent the largest group of people that had bipolar disorder in the past year, with 30- to 44-year-olds being the next highest range.
However, the survey only included people 18 years old or older, so adolescents could have high instances of the disorder. Bipolar disorder can occur in children as young as age 6, although its rare, and its a controversial diagnosis in children. If your child is diagnosed, its wise to continually follow up with your medical professionals and get a second opinion. Its more commonly seen in teens and young adults, and the most common age of onset is 25 years old.
Bipolar disorder also has a strong genetic component. If someone in your family has it, then the risk of you having it go up considerably. You are especially at risk if an immediate family member has it, such as your parents, siblings, or children. However, even if they have it, it doesnt guarantee youll get it. Other risk factors include:
Do People Of All Ages Get Bipolar Disorder And How Does Bipolar Disorder Manifest Itself At Different Ages
Dr. Igor Galynker answers the question: ‘Can Bipolar Disorder Occur At Any Age?’
— Question: Do people of all ages get bipolar disorder, and how does bipolar disorder manifest itself at different stages of the life cycle?
Answer: Bipolar disorder can start really at any time in your life. It can start in children, in adolescence, in adults and in older adults. And depending on when the illness starts, the symptoms could be different. In children, in the young children, the illness starts slowly.
And, sometimes it involves changes in mood and irritability, and aggression, and changes in attention and difficult behavior. Mood swings can happen several times during the day. In adolescences and in adults, the illness can start either with a manic episode, or with depressed episode. The most common age of onset of the illness, is young adulthood in the late teens and early 20s. Sometimes the illness can start even very late in life, when people are 50 or 60. In elderly people, when bipolar illness starts, it’s usually related with some other brain disorder that may happen at the same time that can be connected to cardiovascular disease or even early dementia.
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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.
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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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.
What Causes Bipolar Disorder
The cause of bipolar disorder isnt clear. Research suggests that a combination of different things can make it more likely that you will develop bipolar disorder.
There is a 13% chance you will develop bipolar disorder if someone in your immediate family, like a parent, brother or sister has bipolar disorder.
This risk is higher if both of your parents have the condition or if your twin has the condition.
Researchers havent found the exact genes that cause bipolar disorder. But different genes have been linked to the development of bipolar disorder.
Brain chemical imbalance
Different chemicals in your brain affect your mood and behaviour. Too much or too little of these chemicals could lead to you developing mania or depression.
Stressful life events can trigger symptoms of bipolar disorder. Such as childhood abuse or the loss of a loved one. They can increase your chances of developing depressive episodes.
You can find more information about Does mental illness run in families? by clicking here.
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