Bipolar Disorder

Winning The War Against Bipolar Disorder

With today’s technology and social media, everyone can easily shield whatever they are experiencing in their lives. The truth is, we have all been there; going through a bad break up, divorce, or failing a big exam. Life is not straight, and there need to be curves, turns, bends, potholes and every up and down you can think of- it is part of our life’s journey. For you to successfully win the war against bipolar disorder, you need to be a selective fighter- in essence; sometimes you just have to flow with the tide instead of fighting it.

This Too Shall Pass

Although whatever you are going through may take forever, but the fact is it shall pass; time passes on, our moods become better, and we fall back to being “us” again. Winning the war against bipolar disorder will not be possible without first knowing what it is all about- you cannot win a battle you have no idea of what it is, that is why we have taken the time to explain what bipolar disorder is, and the different types.

People living with bipolar disorder go through severe mood swings, which disrupt daily activities.

Different Names, The Same Effect

Bipolar Affective Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, and Manic Depression- the three names are used to describe each other. The 3% of the American population suffers from this mental health disorder, and the significant symptoms of bipolar disorder are alternating between periods of elevated mood, i.e. hypomania or mania, periodic changes in mood, and periods of depression.

If you are battling with bipolar disorder, you are likely to feel unusually happy, make impulsive decisions during manic states, and feel energetic. In addition, you may feel the urge to cry, have a negative outlook on life, and experience feelings of hopelessness. Hypomania is a less severe form of mania; you feel good with a better sense of productivity and well-being.

Furthermore, you do not just feel sad when you are experiencing bipolar disorder. The depressive period may lead to suicidal thought that switch to a feeling of endless energy and euphoria. The extreme mood swings can occur regularly such as weekly or more sporadically.

Unfortunately, there is no specific pattern to the mood swings- one feeling does not usually happen before the other, and the duration of a particular state or the other varies. However, some treatments will help your moods in check, which allows you to live a productive life.

The typical symptoms happen around 25 years of age and from the beginning rate of bipolar order in both men and women are about.

Types Of Bipolar Disorders

There are various of bipolar disorder; however, three primary disorders are Bipolar 1 Disorders, Bipolar 2 Disorders, and Cyclothymic Disorder, Bipolar 1 Disorder is characterized by the happenings of at least one manic episode, followed by a hypomanic or severe depressive episode.

These episodes may be severe they primarily disrupt the daily activities or may prompt a break from psychosis (reality). Furthermore, you may require hospitalization if you are suffering from Bipolar 1 Disorder. Secondly, you experience at least one significant depressive episode that lasts up to two weeks or more, and at least one hypomanic episode that lasts at least four days if you are living with Bipolar 2 Disorder. However, you may not experience a manic episode. The cyclothymic disorder occurs when you have at least two multiple occurrences of hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms. These symptoms are less severe than hypomanic episodes and significant depressive episodes.

During this period, symptoms present themselves at least half of the time and they are constant for at least two months.  

What Are The Various Signs And Symptoms?

The signs may vary from individual to individual and from type to type because there are several different stages of bipolar disorder. Nonetheless, below are the most popular signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder, categorized by emotional state.

Manic Symptoms

The DSM-5 characterizes a manic episode by a distinct and abnormal state of elevated, expansive or irritable mood occurring for at least one week. This episode is consistently driven by goal-directed energy or behavior. However, a hypomanic episode is a distinct and abnormal state of elevated, expansive, or irritable mood that lasts for a minimum of four consecutive days. Someone who has been diagnosed as suffering from bipolar disorder may experience any of the following signs and symptoms during a manic period.

  • Boundless energy
  • Easily distracted
  • Experiencing an overly elated, happy, and outgoing mood for an extended period
  • Extremely irritable
  • Restlessness
  • Having racing thoughts
  • Talk very fast
  • Embarking on a lot of new projects
  • Switching from one thought to another without talking
  • Sleep very little
  • Unrealistically believe you can do something
  • Tirelessness
  • Feelings of grandiosity
  • Engaging in impulsive, pleasurable, and high-risk behaviors such as sexual indiscretions, poor financial investments, and shopping sprees.
  • Increased goal-directed activity
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • High sex drive
  • Increased agitation
  • Psychosis that may include delusions or hallucinations
  • Making grand and unattainable plans

Manic behaviors affect productivity in school or work, social situations, and relationships. These behaviors are independent; drugs, alcohol, medical illness, or side effects to medication do not influence them.  

Depressive Symptoms

The depressive aspect of bipolar disorder is characterized by a major depressive episode resulting in a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in life. someone living with bipolar disorder tends to experience the following signs and symptoms during a depressive state

  • Indecisiveness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Feeling tearful, hopeless, sad or empty for the main part of the day on a daily basis
  • Weight Fluctuation
  • Slowed behaviors or restlessness
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of energy
  • Anxiety
  • Being detached from reality; hallucinations or delusions (psychosis)
  • Uncontrollable crying
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed

Like manic behaviors, depressive behaviors affect school or work, personal or family relationships, and social functioning. Someone who has bipolar disorder and undergoing depressive episode is not induced by medications, substance abuse, a stressful situation such as the loss of a loved one or an underlying medical condition.

The Causes And How It Is Diagnosed

Like most mental illnesses, scientists cannot give an exact reason for bipolar disorder. I know it is difficult to swallow for someone suffering from bipolar depression; you may want to know the risk involve and the probable solution to set yourself free from this disorder.

Genetics

However, bipolar disorder appears genetics are likely the cause for around 60-80% of the risk of developing bipolar disorder. In essence, there is a high risk of developing bipolar disorder if you have a first-degree relative suffering from bipolar disorder.

Environmental Factors

These also influence the development of bipolar disorder; environmental factors may interact with genetic predispositions to spike the onset of bipolar disorder. In other words, the combination of genes and a life event may have triggered the disorder to present itself in the individual suffering from bipolar disorder. Moreover, if you dig deep into the life of the sufferer, you may find out that the person suffered from some gruesome or traumatic abuse or a stressful interpersonal relationship of some type.

Furthermore, if you suspect you are having the signs and symptoms of mania or depression, it is advisable to see a doctor. Most times, family members or co-workers are the first people to identify the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Unfortunately, most people suffering from this disorder may be reluctant to seek help, not because they do not want to, but because they cannot know how disruptive bipolar disorder is to their lives. Secondly, they may enjoy the euphoric feeling that comes with the disorder. However, it is crucial to treat this condition to enable you to manage emotional states and live a full and productive life.

The Importance Of Getting Help

Although bipolar disorder has been written off as a disorder that cannot be treated, you can still have a full life- you can still win this battle. With the right treatment plan, the right mindset, you can live a good life.

Furthermore, the doctor will assess you physically to rule out any hidden medical conditions that may be triggering manic or depressive states. If no underlying medical conditions are causing the depressive or manic states, you will be referred to a mental health provider for a further diagnosis. All these may seem scary, but it is not. It helps you to live a productive life that you deserve.

Without the help of your mental health provider, there will be no series of psychological assessments to gather additional information about your condition; this will be denying yourself a chance to fight and win the war against bipolar disease. The assessments help your doctor in diagnosing the presence of this condition in your life, also determine which type of bipolar disorder you may be suffering from.

Treatment Options

Psychotherapy and medications are commonly prescribed treatment plans for bipolar disorder patients. The success rate of the treatment plans is impressive especially if followed accurately and consistently.

Many different medications are prescribed to people living with bipolar disorder. However, the most popular medications implored to treat bipolar disorders include atypical antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and antidepressants. Mood stabilizers are usually the first course of drug therapy prescription. Although, an anticonvulsant is used as a mood stabilizer while atypical antipsychotics are usually combined with antidepressants to treat the disorder. The use of antidepressants can trigger manic or hypomanic states; mood stabilizer is used to balance emotions.

Furthermore, psychotherapy is also a useful tool for individuals living with bipolar disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy enables you to learn how to change harmful or negative behaviors or thoughts.

Family oriented therapies include your family members and focus on teaching coping strategies, problem-solving techniques and communication counseling. Psychoeducation is also a powerful therapy tool to educate people living with bipolar disorder about the condition, and how to treat it. The education enables you to notice trigger points and impending mood swings so that you can get treatment before a full-blown episode happens. The interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) is mostly used to treat bipolar disorder, and it focuses on the balancing of daily rhythms such as mealtime, sleep, wake- it ensures the individual is well stabilized by introducing consistent routines.

However, the individual may be hospitalized if the case is severe like showing risky behaviors, or thought of suicide; it is for their safety and wellbeing.

It is necessary to follow your treatment plan religiously if you are living with bipolar depression. Ensure you pay close attention to warning signs or triggers; it will help you seek additional treatment. Do not withhold your thoughts from your counselor or mental health providers; they are there to help you and to prevent the beginning of a full attack.

Lastly, avoid alcohol and drugs. Take your medication as prescribed even on days you feel better. Educate yourself about the disorder, and implore prevention techniques to enhance your overall wellbeing.

Know the facts

Encourage Yourself: You may be thinking it is not going to be easy, well you are correct. It takes the brave, the resilient to win the war against bipolar disorder. For you to patiently read this article is a telltale sign that you are a fighter, not just any fighter, but a winner.

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