Everything You Need To Know About Bipolar Disorder
A common disorder, it can be so severe that it can make daily tasks feel impossible. But with the right care, it can be successfully managed and treated
July 18, 2021
We all experience shifts in our moods at times. However, some folks feel changes in mood differently than the rest of us. For people with bipolar disorder, experiencing heightened emotions and depressive states are often so intense that they interfere with everyday life.
Bipolar disorder (BD) is both common and treatable.
If you or someone you love has BD, a thoughtful and informed support system can help ensure symptoms are successfully managed.
Keep Reading To Learn
- The truth about bipolar disorder
- How to recognize BD in yourself or others
- How to successfully manage and treat it
Understanding Bipolar Disorder
Previously called manic depression or manic-depressive illness, bipolar disorder (BD) is a serious mental health condition that leads to abrupt shifts in mood. It consists of depressive states as well as episodes of mania.
During manic episodes, people feel as if they are on a “high” and have extreme amounts of energy. In depressive episodes, people experience feelings of sadness or indifference.
In addition to changing moods, bipolar disorder causes rapid shifts in focus and activity levels. People with untreated BD can struggle with carrying out daily tasks.
Approximately 10 million people in the U.S. have bipolar disorder. It impacts men and women equally.
BD can impact sleep, self-esteem, appetite, and concentration. People with bipolar disorder can also have physical health issues, such as migraines, high blood pressure, and heart attacks.
There are different types of bipolar disorders and like every individual living with it, the condition can impact each person differently.
There Are Various Types of Bipolar Disorders
Though every form of BD leads to mood and energy level shifts, each type of bipolar disorder has its own characteristics.
Bipolar I is the “classic” type of bipolar disorder with both manic and depressive episodes present. With this disorder, manic episodes last for at least seven days. The episodes are so severe that the person needs to seek immediate professional help.
Many folks living with BD will experience one or more symptoms of psychosis. Psychosis is more commonly experienced during extreme manic episodes of bipolar I.
Psychosis, or loss of contact with reality, leads the person to be unsure of what’s real and what’s not. Psychosis symptoms include, but aren’t limited to, hallucinations or delusions where the person experiences or believes something that isn’t real.
When depressive episodes begin, they usually last for at least two weeks. These depressive episodes may not be all low points and may include symptoms of mania, like racing thoughts. The symptoms of depression, though, are more prevalent.
If a person has both depressive and manic symptoms at the same time, the condition may be recognized as having mixed features.
Bipolar II is defined by episodes of hypomania, or an unusually energetic state of mind that affects mood, thoughts, and behaviors. The manic episodes are not as severe as in bipolar I. They may also be shorter in duration than manic episodes in bipolar I.
While less commonly experienced than in bipolar I, folks with bipolar II disorder may also experience psychosis.
Also called cyclothymia, folks with this condition tend to move between episodes of depression and mania more quickly. The symptoms do not meet the criteria for bipolar I or bipolar II. There are still episodes of depression and episodes of mania.
Self-Care Is Important
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