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Bipolar Disorder: Types, Signs and Symptoms, and Treatments

Once referred to as manic depression, bipolar disorder is a mental health illness that results in severe mood swings that can create emotional highs for an individual, as well as emotional lows.

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When a person experiences a “high”, referred to as hypomania or mania, they can feel energetic, euphoric, or sometimes unusually irritable. When a mood shifts on the low side, referred to as a major depressive mood, a bipolar patient can feel sad, hopeless, depressed, and lose interest in their most favorite activities.

These mood swing episodes can occur multiple times within the year, or on occasion. While some do have emotional symptoms between these episodes, other patients can report not having any.

While bipolar disorder is a lifelong mental health illness, it can be managed with treatment options; however, seeing the signs is key. Below is an overview of the condition, listing types of the disease, symptoms, and treatment options.

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Types

There are a variety of mental health conditions that fall under the bipolar disorders spectrum. They include:

  • Bipolar I Disorder: Patients experience a minimum of one manic mood swing, followed or preceded by a major depressive or hypomanic episode.
  • Bipolar II Disorder: Patients experience a major depressive episode, with a minimum of one hypomanic mood swing; however, they have never had a manic episode under this type.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder: Patients experience a minimum of two years with bouts of hypomania and depressive episodes.
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Symptoms

As bipolar disorder I, bipolar disorder II, and cyclothymic disorder are all very different diagnosis that fall under the bipolar spectrum, each type – and mood swing episode – can have very different symptoms.

Hypomania and Mania

While they are both different types of mood swings, both mania and hypomania have the same signs attached to them. Some include:

  • Jumpy, wired, or abnormally upbeat
  • Enhanced energy, activity, and agitation
  • Reduced need for sleep
  • Abnormal talkativeness
  • Exaggerated sense of self-confidence (euphoria)
  • Bad decision making (i.e. foolish investments, shopping sprees, etc.)
  • Easily distracted
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Major Depressive Mood

An episode of this sort has five or more symptoms attached to it, which include:

  • A feeling of emptiness, sadness, hopelessness, or depression
  • Loss of interest in all or most activities
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain; attached with a significant increase or decrease of appetite
  • Sleeping too much, or insomnia
  • Slowed behavior or restlessness
  • Lack of concentrate
  • Loss of energy
  • Planning, thinking about, or attempting suicide
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Bipolar I & Bipolar II

Additional symptoms linked to the bipolar I and bipolar II disorders include:

  • Anxiety
  • Psychosis
  • Melancholy

Treatment

As bipolar disorder cases range in diversity, so do treatment plans for patients. A doctor who specializes in treating and diagnosis within mental health, most likely a psychiatrist, will guide a patient through options and help to organize a solid treatment plan.

Treatment options focus on managing symptoms, as this mental health illness is something patients have to live with for the rest of their lives. Having said that, many who suffer from bipolar often lead very active and busy lifestyles. Some treatment options for this condition include:

  • Medications: Medication are prescribed right after diagnosis to help balance out a patient’s moods. As the condition is a lifelong one, medication types and dosages may vary over time; however, patients need to ensure to stay on track with their meds as maintenance treatments to ensure there are no relapse in their symptoms.
  • Counselling: Along with medication, many patients attend regular psychological counseling (psychotherapy) to help with symptoms.
  • Day Treatment Programs: Doctors often recommend day treatment programs that offer counselling as symptoms are placed under control. There are also support groups for patients, filled with other individuals who have the very same condition. This offers a great outlet for those with bipolar and a feeling that they are not alone.
  • Hospitalization: In some cases, patients may need to be hospitalized if they are acting dangerously, feeling suicidal, or becoming detached from reality, which can happen during a mania episode. A hospital and staff can keep these patients safe, as they stabilize their mood.

While bipolar is generally managed with therapy and medication, past research has shown the benefits around a good diet and regular excercise for those who suffer from this condition. Living a healthy and active lifestyle can not only do wonders for the body, but one’s mental health as well. Depending on the case, doctors may suggest minor lifestyle changes as part of a patient’s treatment plan.

Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355955

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