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Future Health

Bipolar Disorder

August 8, 2022 

The lifelong mental disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, activity levels, concentration, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks is called bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic-depressive illness or manic depression. Bipolar Disorder is typically diagnosed during teen years and early adulthood. There are three types of bipolar disorder; Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder and Cyclothymic Disorder. All three types display clear changes in mood and activity levels. They can range from hypomanic (less severe) to severe symptoms.

Bipolar I Disorder involves manic episodes that last at least seven days. It includes a mix of depressive episodes. Bipolar II Disorder is when there is a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but not a full-blown manic episode. Cyclothymic Disorder (Cyclothymia) is where there are periods of hypomanic symptoms and periods of depressive symptoms that last at least two years. These symptoms do not meet the diagnosed requirement for hypomanic/depressive episodes. A person may experience symptoms that are not listed above, which if that is the case, they would be diagnosed as “Other Specified and Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorder.”

This type of mental disorder has two different categories of signs and symptoms: manic and depressive episodes. Some symptoms include:

       Manic Episodes                                                        Depressive Episodes
~ Feeling very “up/high” or irritable                            ~ Feeling very sad or hopeless
~ Decrease needs of sleep                                        ~ Trouble falling asleep/sleep too much
~ Racing thoughts                                                      ~ Trouble concentrating

One sign that is not too common but still possible is psychosis. Psychosis is where there are severe episodes of mania or depression. Normally, a person who has psychosis hallucinates or delusions. They can have unreal beliefs of themselves. For example, they believe that they are famous, very wealthy or have special powers. Also, they can believe that they are falsely financially ruined, penniless or have an unrecognized serious illness.

Some common disorders that coexist with people who suffer from bipolar disorder would be anxiety, ADHD, the misuse of drugs and alcohol, and eating disorders. There are some risk factors, which would include genetics and brain structure/function. If a family member has bipolar disorder, it does put you at risk of being diagnosed as well. People who suffer from bipolar disorder, their brains tend to differ from those who do not, regarding structure and function.

There are a variety of treatments for this disorder that includes medications, psychotherapy, and brain stimulation. For psychotherapy, Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT) or Family-Focused Therapy is utilized as some sort of talk therapy. For brain stimulation, there is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). ECT is a brain stimulation procedure that helps relieve severe symptoms, TMS is a brain stimulation procedure that uses magnetic waves. Other treatments include supplements and regular exercise.