Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder causes unpredictable mood swings, extraordinary fluctuations in energy and activity and an inability to perform routine daily tasks. Bipolar disorder is a serious disorder requiring prompt, professional intervention. With symptoms ranging from mild to severe, children and adults with proper treatment for bipolar disorder can lead full and productive lives.

Bipolar disorder is not easy to spot at its onset. Some people suffer for years before they are properly diagnosed and treated. People with bipolar disorder experience unusually intense emotional states that occur in distinct periods called “mood episodes.” An excessively joyful or overexcited state is termed a manic episode, while an extremely sad state or feeling of hopelessness is termed called a depressive episode. Bipolar disorder is a long-term disease requiring careful treatment and management.

Bipolar disorder often manifests itself in the later teens or early adult years. Individuals may experience initial symptoms in childhood, while others may not and exhibit these symptoms later in life. While bipolar disorder can be disruptive and painful for those it effects, treatment is readily available. At Advantage Mental Health Center, we provide prescription medication and psychological, therapeutic support to help those who suffer from bipolar disorder successfully manage their symptoms.

The Diagnosis And Causes Of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is diagnosed following a physical examination, a follow-up psychological evaluation, mood charting, and through an assessment of other presenting signs, symptoms and indicators. Using guidelines from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), doctors will reach a diagnosis of bipolar disorder when a patient has a major, noticeable change from their normal mood or behavior, and exhibits behaviors which severely inhibit their ability to function on a daily basis. Bipolar disorder has four identified causes – genetics, biology, brain structure, and environment.

The Varying Severity Of Bipolar Disorder

Ranging from mild to severe, the NIMH recognizes these five types and severities of bipolar disorder. (1) Bipolar I is the traditional form of bipolar disorder where patients experience manic and depressive episodes of unpredictable lengths. (2) Bipolar II is characterized by less severe manic episodes with depressive episodes that remain consistent with those seen in Bipolar I. (3) Cyclothymia is characterized by episodes of hypomania and depression lasting more than two years. (4) Mixed episodes are those where mania and depression happen simultaneously. (5) Rapid-cycling involves four or more episodes of mania in a one-year timeframe.

Bipolar Disorder And It’s Co-Occurring Disorders

Some of the conditions that co-occur with bipolar disorder include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, clinical depression, substance abuse, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Complex. It is vitally important to identify these co-existing conditions when treating bipolar disorder to achieve maximum results.

How Bipolar Disorder Is Treated At AMHC

While bipolar disorder can be disruptive and painful for those it effects and those who care for them, treatment is possible. At Advantage Mental Health Center, we provide medication as warranted and ongoing support to help those who suffer from bipolar disorder better manage their symptoms. Call us today for assistance.