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Bipolar Disorder: Understanding the Basics
Formerly known as manic-depressive illness, bipolar disorder is a mental health illness. Extreme mood swings are often associated with bipolar disorder.
People with the condition may experience hypomania, which is a state of extreme or emotional highs and periods of incredible sadness and hopelessness.
These symptoms of bipolar disorder can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. In short, it’s an emotional rollercoaster. Untreated bipolar disorder can often lead a person to do any number of harmful or self-destructive behaviors.
Types of Bipolar Disorder and Their Symptoms
There are currently three recognized types of bipolar disorder. These are:
Bipolar I Disorder
This type of bipolar disorder is characterized by manic episodes that last seven days or are incredibly severe. During these manic episodes, a person may need to be hospitalized for their own safety. People may also experience depressive episodes as well.
Bipolar II Disorder
This form of bipolar disorder is characterized by a pattern of depressive and manic episodes. Typically, the manic episodes experienced are less severe than those experienced in Bipolar I Disorder.
This involves chronic mood swings wherein the episodes experienced are not intense enough to qualify as either manic or depressive.
It should be noted that there are some people with bipolar disorder whose symptoms symptoms that do not fit into any of the three categories listed above.
In order to determine the type of bipolar disorder someone has, and the best course of treatment, a treatment team has to diagnose an individual and come up with their personalized treatment plan.
What causes Bipolar Disorder
The exact cause of bipolar disorder is not known. Presently, it’s believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Substance abuse has also been known to trigger and exacerbate emotional volatility in some people.
Signs of Bipolar Disorder
While it can affect people of any age, people with bipolar disorder often manifest it between adolescence and early adulthood. The main way to tell if you or someone you know has bipolar disorder is to look for the signs of manic or depressive episodes.
Manic episodes can be identified by a number of symptoms that include:
- Racing thoughts: People in manic episodes tend to have racing thoughts and may have difficulty focusing on one thing at a time.
- Increased energy: Persons in manic episodes may have an increase in energy and may become hyperactive.
- Decreased need for sleep: They may also feel a decreased need for sleep without it affecting their energy levels.
- Grandiosity: Manic episodes can bring about an increase in self-esteem and confidence and may give a person an unrealistic view of their capabilities.
- Impulsivity: People with bipolar disorder often engage in impulsive actions during manic episodes. Examples of this can include reckless driving and impulse shopping.
- Irritability: Manic episodes can make people more agitated.
Hypomanic episodes are less severe than manic ones and can be identified by the following:
- Elevated mood: Similar to manic episodes, a person can have an elevated mood and just feel better than normal for no discernible reason.
- Increased sociability: People in a hypomanic state can become more sociable and less introverted.
- Increased productivity: Hypomanic episodes can make people more productive and goal-oriented.
Depressive episodes can be identified by the following symptoms:
- Persistent sadness: A key feature of depression is a persistent feeling of sadness or feeling empty inside.
- Loss of interest: Depression can make a person lose interest in things about which they were once passionate.
- Sleep changes: Depressive episodes can affect sleep patterns, either causing insomnia or oversleeping.
- Dietary changes: Changes in appetite, either overeating or under-eating, are a common sign of depression.
- Fatigue: Someone in a depressive episode can also experience persistently low energy levels regardless of sleeping patterns and diet.
- Low self-esteem: A depressive episode can cause someone to feel guilty and/or worthless for no reason.
- Suicidal ideation: Severe depression can cause a person to have thoughts of suicide.
It should be noted that some people may experience manic/hypomanic and depressive symptoms at the same time.
This is known as mixed features. It should also be noted that experiencing the symptoms listed above does not necessarily mean that a person has been impacted by bipolar disorder.
Recovery and Treatment Options for Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a complex disease, and there are different types of treatment interventions available for it. Bipolar disorder treatment is often multifaceted and a treatment program will integrate medication and therapy.
Treatment for bipolar disorder is possible, but there is no known cure for it. However, while there is no cure, there are ways to treat bipolar disorder so that people who are suffering from it can manage their condition.
Medication prescribed by a doctor is one of the many types of treatment available for someone suffering from bipolar disorder. Medication can include:
Medication such as lithium is often prescribed to people suffering from bipolar disorder in order to prevent manic and depressive episodes.
Antipsychotic medication can be prescribed to manage manic or mixed episodes.
These can be prescribed to manage depressive episodes.
Therapeutic modules such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be used to identify harmful thought patterns. This can be useful for managing depressive and manic episodes.
Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy is about creating a stable routine and managing personal relationships in order to stabilize emotions.
A residential facility may be the best place to get treatment for bipolar disorder for patients whose symptoms are incredibly severe.
A residential treatment center for bipolar disorder can have a wide array of benefits that outpatient treatment won’t be able to provide. These benefits include:
Residential bipolar disorder treatment is often initiated when a person is in the midst of a severe manic or depressive episode and specialized treatment becomes necessary for their physical health. Inpatient facilities are also equipped should a crisis happen onsite.
Residential treatment happens in a controlled setting where medical professionals can oversee patients and make sure that they take all the medication that they need to manage their conditions.
Inpatient facilities are monitored at all hours of the day. This is particularly important for people who are prone to self-harm or other destructive behaviors.
A structured, stable environment that includes activities and therapy sessions can help establish stability.
As part of an effective treatment plan, inpatient facilities can involve a patient’s family in their recovery so they can learn more about bipolar disorder and are better equipped to support their loved one’s recovery.
Before being discharged from a bipolar disorder treatment center for their illness, patients who have completed treatment will collaborate with the treatment team so they can begin an outpatient treatment program, get follow-up care, or continue to receive support after they complete the program.
If you’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, understand that it’s not a death sentence of any kind. Treatment is available for you.
You can manage your illness and live a full life. Bipolar disorder may affect you, but it doesn’t have to control you.
When you find yourself at a point where you need to consider treatment for bipolar disorder or know someone who is, then come to us; Luxe Recovery LA is ready to provide you with the world-class treatment that you need to manage your condition. We take most forms of insurance. Don’t wait to contact us. Take control of your condition today.