Bipolar disorder is a mental health illness that manifests as a dramatic shift in an individual’s mood, levels of energy and activity, and the ability to carry out day-to-day activities. People grappling with bipolar disorder struggle with high and low moods, also referred to as mania and depression, which is distinct from the usual ups and downs that people experience. The disorder develops at an average age of 25, however, it can also develop during teens and childhood. It affects both the genders equally.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) nearly 2.6 percent of the U.S. population is diagnosed with this disorder and 83 percent receive a severe diagnosis. The symptoms of bipolar disorder can worsen if left untreated. However, professional help in the form of medications, psychotherapy, identification of symptoms, and a regular schedule to manage these, from a professional bipolar disorder treatment center, can help one lead a healthy life.
Types of Bipolar Disorder
There are primarily four types of bipolar disorder. All of them involve an extremely high, elated or a manic episode alternated by an extremely low, depressed or hopeless episode, known as the depressive state. Less severe forms of manic episodes are known as hypomanic episodes.
Bipolar I disorder
This is characterized by manic episodes which might last for a week. The symptoms of this type of bipolar disorder are so severe that one might need hospitalization. The manic episodes may be alternated with depressive episodes which might last for two weeks. These are usually interspersed by mixed symptoms of both mania and depression.
Bipolar II disorder
This type of bipolar is less disruptive with long-lasting depressive episodes accompanied by hypomanic episodes, but not full-blown mania.
Cyclothymic disorder (Cyclothymia)
This type is characterized by multiple hypomanic episodes and depressive episodes, lasting for at least two years (or for one year in the case of adolescents and children). However, it is difficult to diagnose as the symptoms of both a hypomanic and depressive episode do not meet the diagnostic criteria.
Other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorders
These conditions are those that are characterized by bipolar disorder symptoms, but do not meet the criteria listed above.
Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
People struggling with bipolar disorder experience extreme emotions, changes in activity and energy levels and disturbed sleep patterns. Such episodes are known as mood episodes and are fairly different from the normal moods and behaviors of a person.
People having manic episodes may experience the following symptoms:
- Feel jumpy or wired
- Spend a lot of money
- Be more active than usual
- Indulge in frequent reckless sex
- Speak really fast about a lot of stuff
- Have a disassociated thought process
- Get agitated, irritated or overly sensitive
- Feel that they have high energy levels
- Feel that they are “high,” “up,” or “elated”
People having depressive episodes may experience the following symptoms:
- Forget stuff
- Reduced activity
- Eat too much or too little
- Feel unnecessarily worried
- Have trouble concentrating
- Have decreased energy levels
- Feel that they cannot enjoy anything
- Feel sad, empty, depressed, or hopeless
- Feel suicidal and think about death often
- Have disturbed sleeping patterns; sleeping too much or too less
Sometimes, a person may feel energized yet low or down. Such an episode is known as a mixed episode and has the features of both mania and depressive episodes. Bipolar disorder can also exist when a person experiences hypomania. In such cases, an individual may feel that nothing is wrong and may be excessively productive and energized. However, family and friends can sometimes gauge the difference in moods and can help with the diagnosis of the disorder.
Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder
Timely diagnosis and treatment for bipolar disorder can help a person struggling with the condition lead a productive life. If someone thinks that they may have bipolar disorder, the first step should be to reach out to a certified doctor associated with a bipolar disorder treatment center. The doctor might carry out some physical evaluations to rule out the possibility of other medical illnesses. Following this, one might be asked to see a licensed mental health professional or a psychiatrist who then carries out a mental health diagnosis to screen for bipolar disorder.
It has also been seen that many people usually seek treatment when in the depressive state rather than the manic state. Therefore, a careful assessment of the history is indispensable to rule out if the person has major depression. People with depression or unipolar depression do not experience mania symptoms, however, they might have mixed symptoms alongside their depression.
Causes of Bipolar Disorder
Experts have not yet singled out a particular cause for bipolar disorder. However, currently, many factors are held responsible for this, such as:
There is an increased susceptibility of developing bipolar disorder if a parent or a sibling has previously been diagnosed with the disorder. However, the role of genetics is not absolute. Sometimes, there might be a history of bipolar disorder in the family but a child might not get it. An identical twin might not inherit it even if one of them has the disorder.
Structure and function of brain
Even though brain scans cannot identify the symptoms of bipolar disorder, researchers have identified changes in the size and structure of some brain areas in people struggling with bipolar disorder.
The way a person handles stress might also determine if they may develop bipolar disorder. Death in a family, prolonged illness, divorce, financial difficulties or any other major life-altering event may predispose an individual to develop the illness.
Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
Despite being a life-long disorder, it is possible to live well with bipolar disorder. One must continue with the treatment to avoid a relapse. Sometimes, even after successful treatment at a residential treatment center for bipolar disorder, a patient might exhibit its symptoms. It is therefore, important to continue treatment as it enables one to deal with the symptoms when they linger.
Sometimes, people struggling with bipolar disorder might also have to deal with coexisting conditions, such as anxiety disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or a substance use disorder (SUD), which needs to be treated along with bipolar disorder. Moreover it is vital to look for and treat other physical problems, like heart disease, thyroid or obesity, also. Coexisting conditions create a higher risk of relapse and because of this it is important to find the right treatment program that addresses all ailments concurrently. It is also essential that the patient stays in continuous contact with their doctor to obtain adequate care for the disorder.
The most widespread bipolar disorder treatment is a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Those treated with this all-around approach tend to fare better compared to those who only use psychotherapy or medications as a treatment modality.
Several medications are used to treat mood disorders like bipolar disorder. Some of these are mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and atypical antipsychotics. Different medicines have different side effects, therefore, it is important to report these to the doctor.
Often finding the correct medication that suits an individual is a process of trial and error even though genetic testing, like pharmacogenetic testing, can help a doctor better understand how a person’s body would react to and handle different medications.
When administered in combination with medication, talk therapy or psychotherapy can be immensely helpful. It provides effective support, education, and guidance for managing the disorder. Different types of psychotherapies that can be used for bipolar disorder are:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps a person break the pattern of negative thoughts and come out of them.
- Family focused therapy, which involves the family members and teaches them various ways to deal with the illness.
- Interpersonal or social rhythm therapy that helps a person maintain their relationships and complete day-to-day activities.
- Psychoeducation, which educates a person about the various symptoms of bipolar disorder. This helps them recognize the symptoms and reach out for treatment.
Some people might also want to opt for an intensive residential treatment center for bipolar disorder which might enable them to stay away from daily stressors to focus entirely on their well-being.
Invictus Health Group and Bipolar Disorder
Invictus Health Group works with state-of-the-art bipolar disorder treatment centers offering clients help with any and most mental health issues through comprehensive aftercare programs. The programs our partners offer are evidence-based and inclusive, taking into account any coexisting conditions, also called dual-diagnosis.
The staff is highly qualified, skilled, and multidisciplinary and treat patients with a combination of medication, group and individual psychotherapy along with alternate, experiential activities.
Our partners create individualized, comprehensive bipolar disorder residential treatment programs for each client in order to help them through the struggles they are dealing with. Our programs are affordable and in sync with most insurance plans.
For more information about bipolar disorder residential treatment programs and admissions process call our helpline 866-548-0190 and speak to an admission specialist today. You can also chat online with a representative for further assistance.