Published on 9 May, 2019 | Counselling
What is bipolar disorder?
Learn more about Bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) and how it causes serious shifts in a person’s mood, energy, thinking, and behavior – from the highs of mania on one extreme, to the lows of depression on the other. More than just a fleeting good or bad mood, the cycles of bipolar disorder last for days, weeks, or months. And unlike ordinary mood swings, the mood changes of bipolar disorder are so intense that they interfere with your ability to function.
Manic Episode – During a manic episode, a person might impulsively quit a job, charge up huge amounts on credit cards, or feel rested after sleeping two hours. During a depressive episode, the same person might be too tired to get out of bed and full of self-loathing and hopelessness over being unemployed and in debt.
Bipolar disorder is more common than many think, affecting nearly 3 out of every 100 adults in the U.S according to the National Institutes of Mental Health. Its causes aren’t completely understood, but bipolar disorder often runs in families.
Misdiagnosis – The first manic or depressive episode of bipolar disorder usually occurs in the teenage years or early adulthood. The symptoms can be subtle and confusing, so many people with bipolar disorder are overlooked or misdiagnosed – resulting in unnecessary suffering. But with proper treatment and support, you can lead a rich and fulfilling life. Common signs and symptoms of suffering from this maybe as follows:
* Feeling unusually “high” and optimistic OR extremely irritable
* Unrealistic, grandiose beliefs about one’s abilities or powers
* Sleeping very little, but feeling extremely energetic
* Talking so rapidly that others can’t keep up
* Racing thoughts; jumping quickly from one idea to the next
* Highly distracted, unable to concentrate
* Impaired judgement and impulsiveness
* Acting recklessly without thinking about the consequences
* Delusions and hallucinations (in severe cases)
Signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder
The symptoms of bipolar disorder vary widely from person to person, with unpredictable differences in their pattern, severity, and frequency. Some people are more prone to either mania or depression, while others alternate equally between the two types of episodes. Some have frequent mood disruptions, while others experience only a few over a lifetime.
The four types of mood episodes (Mania, Hypo-mania, Depression, Mixed episode) each has a unique set of symptoms.
Treatment for bipolar disorder
If you spot the symptoms of bipolar depression in yourself or someone else, don’t wait to get help. Ignoring the problem won’t 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. Diagnosing the problem as early as possible and getting into treatment can help prevent these complications.
If you’re reluctant to seek treatment because you like the way you feel when you’re manic, remember that the energy and euphoria come with a price. Mania and hypomania often turn destructive, hurting you and the people around you.
Self-help for bipolar disorder
While dealing with bipolar disorder isn’t always easy, it doesn’t have to run your life. But in order to successfully manage bipolar disorder, you have to make smart choices. Your lifestyle and daily habits have a significant impact on your moods. Read on for ways to help yourself:
Get educated. Learn as much as you can about bipolar disorder. The more you know, the better you’ll be at assisting your own recovery.
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. It’s important to have people you can turn to for help and encouragement. Try joining a support group or talking to a trusted friend.
Make healthy choices. Healthy sleeping, eating, and exercising 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.