What is Bipolar Disorder?
Chances are you’ve heard of Bipolar Disorder and you may even know of someone who has this form of mental illness. However, Bipolar can appear with different symptoms and severity, therefore, it can be hard to pin down.
Bipolar Disorder: Definition
The name “Bipolar” comes from the nature of the disease in that it often causes an individual to vacillate between two extremes of a mood and energy spectrum: on one end, experiencing depression and on the other end, mania. Imagine the normal ups and downs that you might experience on a regular basis throughout your week, however, magnify those swings to an exponential fashion.
When someone who has bipolar disorder is in a manic, or upswing, state, they are typically extremely happy, excited about life, and feel that anything is possible. They may not sleep, won’t be able to sit still for very long, and may engage in high risk behaviors, often believing that they are invincible. When bipolar swings to the depressed state, it appears as symptoms of major depression, including feelings of sadness, hopelessness, tiredness, and maybe even thoughts of suicide. Sometimes, bipolar disorder can also manifest in a mixed state where an individual experiences symptoms from both mania and depression concurrently.
In either the manic or depressive state, bipolar can also cause an individual to present psychotic symptoms, including hallucinations, delusions, or paranoia. This can sometimes cause someone to be improperly diagnosed with schizophrenia, which, confusingly enough, can also involve feelings of depression in addition to the psychotic symptoms.
As with other severe mental illnesses, bipolar cannot be cured. However, it can, be treated through the use of medication and psychotherapy. Treatment is considered to be life-long for those with bipolar, which is some cases just means going to the doctor for a checkup regarding the continued effectiveness of one’s medication. It’s also important to know, that even with treatment, bipolar symptoms may continue to persist. This was found to be true for nearly half of the participants in a study conducted by the National Institute for Mental Health.
For those who have bipolar disorder, you can improve your ability to cope with the disease by keeping a regular, active, and routine schedule. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep every night, trying as often as possible to go to bed at nearly the same time and waking up at the same time every morning. Keep a journal of how you are doing and be on the watch for early warning signs that you may soon be experiencing a mood shift. Build a routine of coping skills which can help level you out regardless of whether you’re in a manic or depressive state.
If you or someone you love is experiencing significant mood shifts, both ups and downs, it may be a good choice to look into a mental health screening, which can help properly diagnose a mental illness. Remember that the sooner you begin treatment, the quicker progress can be made and, in the end, it will be much less costly than just trying to wait it out. The PTI is standing by with two locations, one in the Northshore community as well as Baton Rouge. We are ready with services for screening and treating bipolar, depression, anxiety, and any other type of mental illness. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call today!