Also known as manic-depressive illness,
Is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Mood shifts are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time.
Bipolar disorder symptoms often result in consequences on your personal life such as; damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.
Bipolar disorder often develops in a person’s late teens or early adult years. At least half of all cases start before age 25. Some people have their first symptoms during childhood, while others may develop symptoms late in life.
Bipolar disorder is not easy to spot when it starts, the average time from first symptom to diagnosis is 8 years. Some people suffer for years before they are properly diagnosed and treated. The symptoms may seem like separate problems, not recognized as parts of a larger problem.
The flip side of Bipolar Depression is Mania…excessive elation or irritability, high energy, difficulty sleeping, hyperactivity, poor concentration and accelerated thinking and speaking.
What Are The Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder?
People with bipolar disorder experience unusually intense emotional states that occur in distinct periods called “mood episodes.” An overly joyful or overexcited state is called a manic episode, and an extremely sad or hopeless state is called a depressive episode. Sometimes, a mood episode includes symptoms of both mania and depression called a mixed state.
Extreme changes in energy, activity, sleep, and behavior go along with these changes in mood. It is possible for someone with bipolar disorder to experience a long-lasting period of unstable moods rather than discrete episodes of depression or mania. People with bipolar disorder also may be explosive and irritable during a mood episode.
How Is Bipolar Disorder Treated?
Proper treatment helps most people with bipolar disorder gain better control of their mood swings and related symptoms. This is also true for people with the most severe forms of the illness.
Like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout a person’s life. An effective maintenance treatment plan includes medication and psychotherapy for preventing relapse and reducing symptom severity.
Mood stabilizing medications are usually the first choice to treat bipolar disorder. In general, people with bipolar disorder continue treatment with mood stabilizers for years. Bipolar medications are best prescribed by a psychiatrist.
Not everyone responds to medications in the same way. Several different medications may need to be tried before the best course of treatment is found.
Keeping a chart of daily mood symptoms, treatments, sleep patterns, and life events can help the doctor track and treat the illness most effectively. Sometimes this is called a daily life chart. If a person’s symptoms change or if side effects become serious, the doctor may switch or add medications.