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Bipolar Disorder? Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

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Bipolar Disorder

By Damilola Salami

On 12 Dec, 2021

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What’s bipolar disorder?

Bipolar Disorder is a psychological well being situation marked by excessive shifts in temper.

Key symptoms include:

  • episodes of mania, or an extremely elevated mood
  • episodes of depression, or a low mood

Older phrases for bipolar disorder include manic depression and bipolar illness.

Bipolar  isn’t a uncommon situation. In fact, the National Institute of Mental HealthTrusted Source says that 2.8% of U.S. adults — or about 5 million individuals — have a bipolar disorder diagnosis.

Though bipolar disorder doesn’t have a remedy, many efficient therapies can be found. These treatment choices will help you study to handle mood episodes, which may enhance not only your signs, but in addition your general high quality of life.

Types of bipolar disorder

There are three important types of bipolar disorder: bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymia.

Bipolar I

Bipolar I is outlined by the looks of no less than one manic episode. Chances are you’ll experience hypomanic episodes, that are much less severe than manic episodes, or main depressive episodes earlier than and after the manic episode. This kind of bipolar disorder impacts individuals of all sexes equally.

Bipolar II

Individuals with bipolar II experience one major depressive episode that lasts at least 2 weeks. Additionally they have at least 1 hypomanic episode that lasts about 4 days. In line with a 2017 reviewTrusted Source, this kind of bipolar disorder could also be extra frequent in women.

Cyclothymia

Individuals with cyclothymia have episodes of hypomania and depression. These episodes contain signs which might be shorter and less severe than the mania and depression brought on by bipolar I or bipolar II disorder. Most individuals with this situation solely experience no mood symptoms for 1 or 2 months at a time.

Your doctor can explain more about what kind of bipolar disorder you have when discussing your diagnosis.

Some people experience distinct mood symptoms that resemble however don’t fairly align with these three types. If that’s the case for you, you may get a diagnosis of:

  • other specified bipolar and associated disorders
  • unspecified bipolar and associated disorders

Bipolar disorder symptoms

To obtain a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, you have to experience at least one period of mania or hypomania.

These both contain feelings of pleasure, impulsivity, and excessive energy, however hypomania is taken into account less severe than mania. Mania symptoms can have an effect on your day-to-day life, resulting in problems at work or residence. Hypomania symptoms usually don’t.

Some people with bipolar disorder additionally experience major depressive episodes, or “down” moods.

These three important symptoms — mania, hypomania, and depression — are the primary features of bipolar disorder. Various kinds of bipolar disorder contain different combinations of these symptoms.

Bipolar I symptoms

A diagnosis of bipolar I disorder requires:

  • a minimum of 1 episode of mania that lasts not less than 1 week
  • symptoms that affect day by day function
  • symptoms that don’t relate to a different medical or mental well being condition or substance use

You possibly can also experience symptoms of psychosis, or both mania and depression (referred to as mixed features). These symptoms can have extra impact on your life. If you do have them, it’s worth reaching out for professional help as soon as possible (more on this later).

While you don’t need to experience episodes of hypomania or depression to obtain a bipolar I diagnosis, many people with bipolar I do report these symptoms.

Bipolar II symptoms

A diagnosis of bipolar II requires:

  • not less than 1 episode of hypomania that lasts 4 days or longer and involves 3 or more symptoms of hypomania
  • hypomania-related changes in mood and usual function that others can notice, although these might not essentially have an effect on your every day life
  • no less than 1 episode of main depression that lasts 2 weeks or longer
  • no less than 1 episode of main depression, involving 5 or more key depression signs which have a big influence in your day-to-day life
  • symptoms that don’t relate to another medical or mental health condition or substance use

Bipolar II may contain signs of psychosis, however only throughout an episode of depression. You could additionally expertise combined temper episodes, which means you’ll have symptoms of depression and hypomania at the same time.

With bipolar II, although, you won’t experience mania. If in case you have a manic episode, you’ll receive a diagnosis of bipolar I.

Cyclothymia symptoms

A diagnosis of cyclothymia requires:

  • periods of hypomanic symptoms and periods of depression symptoms, off and on, over 2 years or longer (1 year for children and adolescents)
  • symptoms that never meet full criteria for an episode of hypomania or depression
  • symptoms which might be current for no less than half of the 2 years and never absent for longer than 2 months at a time
  • symptoms that don’t relate to another medical or psychological well being situation or substance use
  • symptoms that cause significant distress and have an effect on daily life

Fluctuating mood symptoms characterize cyclothymia. These symptoms may be less severe than those of bipolar I or II. Nonetheless, they tend to last longer, so you’ll generally have less time when you experience no symptoms.

Hypomania may not have a big impact on your daily life. Depression, alternatively, often leads to more serious distress and affects day-to-day function, even if your signs don’t qualify for a serious depressive episode.

If you do ever experience enough symptoms to meet the criteria for a hypomanic or depressive episode, your prognosis will doubtless change to another type of bipolar disorder or major depression, depending on your symptoms.

Mania and hypomania

An episode of mania typically involves an emotional high. You may feel excited, impulsive, euphoric, and full of energy. You might also really feel jumpy or notice your thoughts appear to race. Some people also experience hallucinations and other symptoms of psychosis.

Manic episodes can involve behavior that’s more impulsive than usual, often because you feel invincible or untouchable. Commonly cited examples of this kind of habits include:

  • having sex without using a barrier method
  • using alcohol and drugs, or using them more than usual
  • occurring spending sprees

However impulsiveness and danger taking can show up in plenty of different ways, too. Perhaps you:

  • give up your job abruptly
  • take off on a road trip by yourself without telling anybody
  • make a big investment on a whim
  • drive much faster than usual, well above the speed limit
  • take part in excessive sports activities you wouldn’t ordinarily take into account

Hypomania, generally associated with bipolar II disorder, involves many of the similar symptoms, although they’re less extreme. Unlike mania, hypomania often doesn’t result in trouble at work or school, or in your relationships. Episodes of hypomania don’t contain psychosis. They sometimes won’t last so long as episodes of mania or require inpatient care.

With hypomania, you may really feel very productive and energized, however you might not discover different adjustments in your temper. Individuals who don’t know you effectively might not, both. These closest to you, nonetheless, will normally decide up in your shifting temper and vitality ranges.

Major depressive episodes

A “down” change in mood can leave you feeling lethargic, unmotivated, and sad.

Bipolar-related episodes of major depression will involve no less than 5 of these symptoms:

  • a lasting low temper, marked by deep sadness, hopelessness, or feelings of emptiness
  • loss of energy
  • a sense of feeling slower than usual or persistent restlessness
  • lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • periods of too little or too much sleep
  • a sense of guilt or worthlessness
  • bother with concentrating, focusing, and making decisions
  • thoughts of death, dying, or suicide
  • changes in appetite or weight

Not everybody with bipolar disorder experiences major depressive episodes, although many people do. Depending on your kind of bipolar disorder, you may experience only a few signs of depression, not the full 5 needed for a major episode.

It’s additionally price noting that generally, however not at all times, the euphoria of mania can really feel pleasurable. When you get therapy for mania, the symptom-free temper you expertise may really feel extra like a “down” shift, or a interval of melancholy, than a extra typical temper state.

Whereas bipolar dysfunction may cause a depressed temper, bipolar dysfunction and melancholy have one main distinction. With bipolar dysfunction, you may need “up” and “down” temper states. With melancholy, although, your temper and feelings may stay “down” till you get therapy.

Bipolar disorder signs in women vs. men

Men and women are diagnosed with bipolar disorder in roughly equal numbers. Nevertheless, the primary signs of the disorder might vary, relying on both sex you were assigned at birth and your gender.

Girls with bipolar dysfunction are likely to obtain diagnoses later in life, typically of their 20s or 30s. In some circumstances, they may first discover signs throughout being pregnant or after childbirth. They’re additionally extra more likely to be recognized with bipolar II than bipolar I.

Additionally, women with bipolar disorder are likely to experience:

  • milder episodes of mania
  • more depressive episodes than manic episodes
  • rapid cycling, or 4 or more episodes of mania and depression in 1 year
  • more co-occurring conditions

Women with bipolar disorder may also experience relapse more often, which can occur partly as a result of hormone changes associated to menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. When it comes to bipolar disorder, relapse means having a mood episode after not having one for a while.

Men with bipolar dysfunction, alternatively, might:

  • get a prognosis earlier in life
  • expertise much less frequent however extra extreme episodes, particularly manic episodes
  • be extra more likely to even have a substance use disorder
  • present extra aggression throughout episodes of mania

Bipolar disorder in kids and teens

Diagnosing bipolar disorder in children is controversial, largely because children don’t at all times show the same bipolar dysfunction signs as adults. Their moods and behaviors may additionally not comply with the standards doctors use to diagnose the disorder in adults.

Many bipolar dysfunction signs that happen in kids additionally overlap with signs of different circumstances that generally happen in kids, reminiscent of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Nevertheless, in the last few decades, doctors and mental health professionals have come to acknowledge the condition in kids. A diagnosis will help kids get treatment, however reaching a diagnosis might take many weeks or months. It could be worth seeking care from a professional who specializes in treating children with mental health conditions.

Like adults, kids with bipolar dysfunction expertise excessive temper shifts. They’ll seem very pleased and present indicators of excitable habits, or appear very tearful, low, and irritable.

All kids expertise temper adjustments, however bipolar dysfunction causes distinct and noticeable temper signs. Temper adjustments are additionally normally extra excessive than a baby’s typical change in temper.

Manic symptoms in kids

Signs of mania in kids can include:

  • acting very foolish and feeling overly joyful
  • speaking fast and rapidly changing subjects
  • having hassle focusing or concentrating
  • doing dangerous issues or experimenting with dangerous behaviors
  • having a really quick mood that leads shortly to outbursts of anger
  • having hassle sleeping and never feeling drained after sleep loss

Depressive symptoms in kids

With bipolar disorder, symptoms of depressive episodes in kids can include:

  • moping around, acting very unhappy, or crying frequently
  • sleeping too much or too little
  • having little energy for usual activities or showing no signs of interest in anything
  • complaining about not feeling effectively, together with having frequent complications or stomachaches
  • emotions of worthlessness or guilt
  • eating too little or an excessive amount of
  • thoughts of death or suicide

Other possible diagnoses

Some of the behavior issues you discover in your child may suggest other mental health conditions, similar to ADHD or depression. It’s also possible for children to have bipolar dysfunction with one other situation.

Your child’s doctor can provide more guidance and help with noting and monitoring your child’s behaviors, which may also help them discover the right diagnosis.

The proper diagnosis can play a major role in finding the most effective treatment for your child. Remedy, of course, can make a big difference in your child’s symptoms, not to mention their quality of life.

Symptoms in teenagers

Shifting hormones, plus the life adjustments that naturally occur with puberty, could make teenagers appear extraordinarily emotional every now and then.

But drastic or quickly fluctuating changes in mood might suggest a more serious condition, corresponding to bipolar disorder, rather than typical teenage development.

A bipolar disorder diagnosis is most common in the course of the late teen and early adult years.

Common symptoms of mania in teenagers include:

  • being very glad
  • “acting out” or misbehaving
  • participating in risky behaviors, like substance use
  • thinking about sex more than usual
  • changing into overly sexual or sexually active
  • having hassle sleeping, with out indicators of fatigue or being drained
  • having a really quick mood
  • having hassle staying targeted, or getting distracted simply

Common symptoms of a depressive episode include:

  • sleeping too much or too little
  • eating too much or too little
  • feeling very unhappy and displaying little excitability
  • withdrawing from activities and buddies
  • thinking or speaking about death and suicide

Needless to say many of those indicators, like experimenting with substances and fascinated about intercourse, aren’t unusual teenage behaviors. But when they appear to be half of a bigger sample of shifting moods or begin to have an effect on their day-to-day life, they could possibly be an indication of bipolar dysfunction or one other situation.

Bipolar disorder remedy

Several treatments will help you handle bipolar disorder symptoms. These include medications, counseling, and way of life adjustments. Some natural remedies may have advantages.

Medications

Recommended medications may include:

  • mood stabilizers, such as lithium (Lithobid)
  • antipsychotics, similar to olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • antidepressant-antipsychotics, similar to fluoxetine-olanzapine (Symbyax)
  • benzodiazepines, a kind of anti-anxiety medication used for short-term treatment

Psychotherapy

Recommended remedy approaches might include:

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a kind of speak remedy that helps you establish and tackle unhelpful thoughts and alter undesirable patterns of behavior.

Remedy provides a secure house to debate methods to handle your signs. Your therapist may provide help with:

  • understanding thought patterns
  • reframing distressing emotions
  • learning and practicing more useful coping strategies

Psychoeducation

Psychoeducation is a therapeutic strategy centered round serving to you study a situation and its therapy. This information can go a long way towards helping you and the supportive people in your life recognize early mood symptoms and handle them more effectively.

Interpersonal and social rhythm remedy

Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy focuses on regulating daily habits, similar to sleeping, eating, and exercising. Balancing these on a regular basis fundamentals may result in fewer temper episodes and fewer severe symptoms.

Other options

Other approaches that may help ease symptoms include:

  • electroconvulsive therapy
  • sleep medications
  • supplements
  • acupuncture

Natural treatments for bipolar disorder

Some pure remedies may also assist with bipolar disorder symptoms.

You’ll at all times wish to examine along with your physician or psychiatrist earlier than attempting these treatments, although. In some circumstances, they might intervene with any medicines you’re taking.

The next herbs and dietary supplements might assist stabilize your temper and scale back signs of bipolar dysfunction when mixed with treatment and remedy:

  • Omega-3. Some 2016 researchTrusted Source suggests that taking an omega-3 supplement might help with symptoms of bipolar I. A 2012 studyTrusted Source discovered this was particularly helpful with depressive symptoms.
  • Rhodiola rosea. A 2013 reviewTrusted Source suggests this plant may assist with moderate depression, so it may help deal with depression associated with bipolar disorder.
  • S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). SAMe is an amino acid complement that may help easeTrusted Source symptoms of major depression and other mood disorders.

Causes and risk factors

Bipolar disorder is a fairly common mental health condition, however specialists have yet to find out why some people develop the condition.

Some potential causes of bipolar disorder include:

Genetics

If your dad or mum or sibling has bipolar disorder, you’re more prone to develop the condition.

Take into accout, although, that most individuals who’ve a historical past of bipolar dysfunction of their household historical past don’t develop it.

Your brain

Your brain structure may affect your risk of developing bipolar disorder. Irregularities in brain chemistry, or the structure or functions of your brain, may increase this risk.

Environmental factors

It’s not simply what’s in your body that can affect your chances of developing bipolar disorder. Outside factors may play a part. These might include:

  • extreme stress
  • traumatic experiences
  • physical illness

Is bipolar disorder hereditary?

A 2014 reviewTrusted Source suggests genetics can play a big role in the development of bipolar disorder, particularly among immediate relatives. If in case you have a dad or mum or sibling with the condition, for instance, your risk of developing it is about 10 times higher, in accordance with a small 2016 studyTrusted Source.

Nonetheless, having a household historical past of bipolar dysfunction doesn’t imply you’ll essentially go on to develop it, and you’ll nonetheless have bipolar dysfunction with none household historical past of it.

Can it be prevented?

As soon as you start to experience mood episodes, you can take steps to help reduce the severity of those episodes and lower your chances of experiencing additional mood episodes. However you can’t at all times prevent mood episodes entirely or keep the condition from developing in the first place.

Future analysis might reveal extra concerning the particular causes of bipolar dysfunction and provides researchers extra perception into potential methods of stopping the situation.

Common co-occurring conditions

Some people with bipolar disorder also have other mental health conditions. A 2019 research reviewTrusted Source means that anxiousness problems are among the most common.

Other conditions which may happen alongside bipolar disorder include:

  • substance use disorders
  • eating disorders
  • specific phobia
  • ADHD

Symptoms of those conditions may show up extra severely depending on your mood state. Anxiety, for instance, tends to occur more commonly with depression, whereas substance use may be extra doubtless with mania.

If in case you have bipolar dysfunction, you may additionally have a better likelihood of growing sure medical circumstances, together with:

  • migraine
  • heart disease
  • diabetes
  • thyroid disorders

Ideas for coping and support

When you’ve observed signs of bipolar disorder, a good first step involves reaching out to a doctor or therapist as soon as possible.

Equally, if it’s a good friend or liked one who has signs, take into account encouraging them to attach with a therapist as quickly as potential. It by no means hurts to remind them that they’ve your understanding and help, both.

Always take suicidal thoughts and behavior seriously

It’s not uncommon to have thoughts of suicide during an episode of depression or a mixed features mood episode.

Simply do not forget that you’re not alone, and assist is on the market 24/7, three hundred and sixty five days a 12 months.

When you think someone is at immediate risk of hurting themselves or another person:

  • Stay with them if you can. If not, call for assist and help.
  • Take away any weapons, knives, drugs, or other things that may cause harm.
  • Hear, however don’t decide, argue, threaten, or yell.

Living with bipolar disorder

Treatment may help you handle mood episodes and deal with the symptoms they cause.

Making a care crew will help you get probably the most out of therapy. Your crew may contain:

  • your major doctor
  • a psychiatrist who manages your medicines
  • a therapist or counselor who gives talk therapy
  • other professionals or specialists, such as a sleep specialist, acupuncturist, or massage therapist
  • a bipolar disorder support group, or community of other people also living with bipolar disorder

You may must attempt a couple of treatments before you discover one that leads to improvement. Some medicines work effectively for some individuals however not others. In an identical vein, some people discover CBT very useful, whereas others may even see little improvement.

It’s always best to be open with your care team about what works and what doesn’t. If something doesn’t assist or makes you feel even worse, don’t maintain again from letting them know. Your mental health matters, and your care team should at all times help you in finding the most useful approach.

Slightly self-compassion can go a long way, too. Needless to say bipolar dysfunction, like every other mental health situation, didn’t occur by choice. It’s not caused by anything you probably did or didn’t do.

It’s OK (and fairly common) to really feel frustrated when treatment doesn’t seem to work. Try to have patience and treat yourself kindly as you discover new approaches.

Bipolar disorder and relationships

Bipolar disorder can have an effect on any of your relationships. However these effects may show up most clearly in your closest relationships, like those with family members and romantic partners.

Relating to managing a relationship whereas living with bipolar disorder, honesty can at all times help. Being open about your condition can help your partner better understand your symptoms and how they’ll provide support.

You may take into account beginning with a number of basic details, including:

  • how long you’ve had the condition
  • how episodes of depression normally have an effect on you
  • how episodes of mania normally have an effect on you
  • your treatment method, including therapy, medication, and coping strategies
  • anything they can do to assist

The underside line

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong situation, however that doesn’t imply it has to fully disrupt your life. Whereas living with bipolar disorder actually creates some challenges, sticking along with your remedy plan, working towards common self-care, and leaning on your support system can boost your overall well-being and keep symptoms to a minimum.

Educating yourself and your loved ones concerning the condition may also have lots of advantages. Get started with these resources:

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