Bipolar disorder (BPD) produces a number of recognizable signs. If you learn the signs, you’ll know when to get medical help.
Bipolar disorder (BPD), previously known as manic depression, is a mental health condition defined by extreme shifts in mood, from episodes of mania (extremely elevated or euphoric) to episodes of depression (extremely down or hopeless). BPD isn’t uncommon. The National Institute of Mental Health indicates that almost 5 million American adults have received a bipolar disorder diagnosis. You’re more likely to develop BPD if a close relative has it, but it’s not a guarantee. Sometimes, a genetic predisposition makes a person susceptible to environmental triggers like extreme stress, trauma, or physical illness. At Aura Psychiatry, PLLC, Farheen Makani, PMHNP-BC and her staff treat all forms of bipolar disorder at their office in Allen, Texas. The signs of BPD vary by the specific type of the disorder you have, but knowing the signs can help you seek medical help when it’s most important. Here’s what you need to know. The types of bipolar disorder BPD operates on somewhat of a sliding scale of symptoms, but most of those symptoms fall into one of three categories: 1. Bipolar I disorder With this form, you experience manic episodes, periods of extreme energy, excitability, euphoria, and sometimes psychosis, which last a minimum of seven days or are so debilitating you end up in the hospital for care. You may also go through depressive episodes, periods of extreme lows, hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal thoughts, lasting two weeks or more. Manic episodes can occur by themselves, or you can have both manic and depressive episodes at the same time. 2. Bipolar II disorder With this form, you go through bouts of depression and periods of elevated mood, but your highs are hypomanic — that is, not as severe as those in bipolar I. Unlike mania, hypomania doesn’t often impact work, school, or your relationships. And hypomania doesn’t involve psychosis. In addition, it usually doesn’t last as long as episodes of mania or require inpatient care. 3. Cyclothymic disorder You get highs and lows, and you may cycle between them rapidly, but they tend to be milder than with the other two forms. Signs you might have bipolar disorder What defines bipolar disorder in all its forms is the movement, sometimes rapid, between depression and mania. When depressed, everything may feel hopeless and worthless. You may struggle through the day and wonder if life is worth living. Things that used to be enjoyable don’t hold interest for you any more, and you feel guilty about things for which you aren’t to blame. That state could shift at any time to mania, where your energy levels rise dramatically, you don’t feel the need for sleep, and you’re so full of energy, you’re itching to be doing something all the time. You may suddenly take on a number of tasks you couldn’t do when you were depressed, and you’re likely to take risks, like driving fast or having unsafe sex. Treating bipolar disorder Treatment usually includes both medications and some form of talk therapy. Medications may include:
Mood stabilizers, such as lithium (Lithobid)
Antipsychotics, such as olanzapine (Zyprexa) (used “off label”)
Antidepressant-antipsychotics, such as fluoxetine-olanzapine (Symbyax)
Benzodiazepines, anti-anxiety medication used for short-term treatment
Psychotherapy can include many different approaches, but one of the most successful is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It’s a form of talk therapy where you learn to identify and address unhelpful thoughts so you can change unwanted behavior patterns. There’s no cure for bipolar disorder, but with the help of Aura Psychiatry, you can manage your symptoms so you can lead a fulfilling life. To get started, call our office at 469-599-2872 to set up a consultation, or book online with us today. with us today.