Mental health issues are difficult to manage not only because of the physical and mental burdens but also because they carry a stigma that can cause delays in treatment or complete avoidance of symptoms altogether. If you think that you or someone you love may be showing signs, read on to discover symptoms, treatment plans, and facts about bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder was once known as manic-depressive illness. It is a mental health condition with symptoms of extreme mood swings or episodes of mania and depression that affects 1-2% of the world population. While bipolar disorder can occur at any age, symptoms usually appear in late adolescence or early adulthood.
While most of us have heard about it, do you know the facts about bipolar disorder? The National Institute of Mental Health defines bipolar disorder as: “a mental illness that causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy, activity levels and concentration.” When these shifts happen, daily tasks become difficult and can affect many different aspects of life.
Let’s dive a little deeper and look at some of the crucial things to know about bipolar disorder.
The NIMH states there are three types of bipolar disorder. The main characteristics are extreme mood swings that range from emotional highs and lows.
Manic and depressive episodes can happen separately and also at the same time. The emotional high of a manic episode can make a person with bipolar disorder feel extremely happy, energetic, or irritable. On the other hand, a depressive episode can make someone with bipolar disorder feel depressed and hopeless. But sometimes, the highs and lows of bipolar disorder can be felt at the same time; this type of mixed episode is known as mixed mania.
Any type of bipolar episode can be detrimental. While depressive episodes can leave you feeling sad, worthless, and even suicidal, manic episodes can make someone with bipolar disorder feel reckless and make poor choices.
The cycles of bipolar disorder can vary greatly. While some experience extreme highs and lows several times a year, others can go a long time between mood swings. Frequency and intensity can also vary widely between episodes.
Many things could trigger a manic or depressive episode. A change in typical daily routine, difficulty sleeping, and drug or alcohol abuse can cause a bipolar cycle to begin.
According to The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, more than two-thirds of the 5.7 million Americans who are affected by bipolar disorder have a close relative with the illness indicating a genetic predisposition.
Many people with bipolar disorder also suffer from other mental health conditions, such as substance abuse, anxiety, or ADHD.
The typical treatment combines medication and psychotherapy. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers, plus learning coping strategies and how to manage stress, have been shown to be quite effective for bipolar disorder.
Lifestyle management is an important part of therapy. While maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important for everyone, it is crucial for someone living with bipolar disorder. Create a daily routine that involves regular exercise, a good diet, proper sleep, and effective stress management techniques.
Bipolar disorder often begins in late adolescence or early adulthood. Though it is uncommon for bipolar disorder to begin in childhood, there are some cases where it has been diagnosed in children. Some may not experience any symptoms until much later in life, even after 50.
One of the important facts about bipolar disorder is that it is a very complex disease, and it can have a different effect on everyone diagnosed. It can seriously impact relationships with family and friends. It can make it difficult to maintain a job and proper work relationships and have a negative effect on daily life.
Bipolar disorder can lead to substance abuse. Also, there is an increased risk of suicide, especially during depressive periods. This is why it is crucial to monitor and address any thoughts of suicide or destructive behaviors.
There is no cure for bipolar disorder. It is a chronic condition that requires lifelong management. However, with proper support and treatment, those with bipolar disorder can lead wonderful, fulfilling lives.
It is crucial for those with bipolar disorder to have a proper support system in place. Family, friends, and work relationships are critical for those suffering from this mental health issue. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise, adequate sleep, and a balanced diet can make a big difference when treating bipolar disorder.
Remember, bipolar disorder is a serious mental health issue that requires proper treatment. Consult a medical professional who is well-versed in handling this mental health issue. The appropriate support, treatment plan, and guidance can help your loved one to live a happy and fulfilling life.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms of bipolar disorder, it is important to seek the help of a qualified medical professional. An accurate diagnosis and proper treatment plan are vital to managing the disease and leading a healthy life.
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Linda Guerrera has been the Digital Content Manager for Health Products For You since 2022. A recipient of the New York State Broadcasters Award for Outstanding Work in Radio, she spent over ...
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