Bipolar Disorder

A New Standard of Healing

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder, is a common mental disorder often characterized by sudden shifts in mood, activity, and energy. It is closely tied to depression disorders.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 5.7 million (or 2.6 percent) of American adults are affected by bipolar disorder in a given year. An astounding 82.9 percent of these individuals suffer from severe cases of bipolar disorder.

Types of Bipolar Disorders

There are four different types of bipolar disorder, each noted by sudden shifts in mood from manic episodes, where you are extremely energetic and elated, to depressive episodes, where you are feel extremely sad and hopeless. The different types of bipolar disorder include:

Bipolar I

This is defined by manic episodes that last at least a week and are so severe that you must be hospitalized. Depressive episodes last at least 2 weeks.

Bipolar II

This form of bipolar disorder features varied patterns of depression and hypomania without the complete manic episodes of bipolar I.

Cyclothymic disorder (cyclothymia)

In cyclothymia, patients express numerous depressive and hypomanic periods for at least 2 years, but the symptoms may be less severe than bipolar I or II.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is noted by periods of intense emotion, unusual behaviors, and troubled sleep. These periods are called mood episodes and are dramatically different from what you would normally feel or do.

During a manic episode, you may:

  • Feel energetic and elated
  • Feel jumpy
  • Have problems sleeping
  • Do something risky, like splurge on purchases
  • Be irritable or sensitive
  • Talk faster about several different things
  • Think you can do several things at once

Alternately, during a depressive episode, you may:

  • Feel sad or hopeless
  • Feel fatigued
  • Sleep too little or too much
  • Have problems focusing
  • Consistently worry
  • Think about suicide or death

Sometimes, you may have a mood episode that mixes symptoms of both depression and mania, so you might feel incredibly empty and sad but still feel highly energized. Some people with bipolar disorder experience hypomania, a less intense form of mania. Without treatment, someone with hypomania may develop depression or severe mania.

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Risk Factors and Causes

While researchers are trying to determine causes of bipolar disorder, there’s a general consensus that there is no single cause. There may be several factors contributing to your bipolar disorder, including:

  • Family history – Bipolar disorder runs in the family. If your parents or siblings have bipolar disorder, you are more likely to have it yourself.
  • Genetics – Research suggests that some people have a genetic predisposition for bipolar disorder.
  • Brain structure and functioning – Studies show that the brains of those with mental illness differ from “healthy” brains. Understanding these differences can potentially help scientists better predict bipolar disorder’s effects.

Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

Treatments can help you better manage your mood swings and other symptoms while providing you with support and guidance. Most treatment plans combine medication with forms of psychotherapy. Medications used in treating bipolar disorder include:

  • Mood stabilizers
  • Antidepressants
  • Atypical antipsychotics

If you need help or have questions about receiving treatment for bipolar disorder, please don’t hesitate to contact HARP at (877) 806-5022.

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