Thoughtful Thursday – Bipolar

dT7eo6B8cContinuing our discussion about mental illness, this week we are going to talk about Bipolar Disorder, it’s signs and treatments. There are several types of Bipolar disorders. The first is called Bipolar 1. This classic form of bipolar disorder used to be called “manic depression.” Bipolar 1 leaves no doubt that someone is in a manic phase of their illness. The person could end up in the emergency room or worse if left untreated. Bipolar II is four times more common than bipolar 1. It’s characterized by much less severe manic symptoms, also referred to as hypomanic symptoms. These signs are harder for people to see in themselves and it is often up to friends and loved ones to encourage them to get help. Hypomania often gets worse without proper treatment, and the person can become severely manic or depressed. The other two types of bipolar disorder are less severe and very rare so we won’t really discuss those today.

What are the warning signs of bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder may contain these 7 mania warning signs:

  1. Feeling overly happy, “high”, or elated for long stretches of time.
  2. Feeling easily agitated, which some describe as feeling jumpy or twitchy.
  3. Talking very fast, often accompanied by racing thoughts.
  4. Extreme restlessness or impulsivity.
  5. Impaired judgment.
  6. Unrealistic overconfidence in your abilities or powers.
  7. Engaging in risky behavior, such as having impulsive sex, gambling with life savings, or going on big spending sprees.

Bipolar disorder may also contain these 7 signs of depression:

  1. Feeling sad and hopeless for long periods of time.
  2. Withdrawal from friends and family, and/or a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed.
  3. Significant loss or increase in appetite.
  4. Severe fatigue or lack of energy.
  5. Slow speech.
  6. Problems with memory, concentration, and decision making.
  7. Thoughts or attempts of suicide, or a preoccupation with death.

Bipolar disorder can be difficult to diagnose unless you have severe mania, in which case the signs are unmistakable. When doctors do suspect bipolar disorder they may use a few different approaches to make a diagnosis. They may do a physical exam to rule out any other medical conditions, a mental health evaluation, which may include a questionnaire and interviews with family members. A mood-charting diary to keep track of your sleep patterns and daily moods. If you’re worried that you might have bipolar disorder, the best thing to do is educate yourself about the different types of mood disorders and their symptoms and then consult your doctor. It can be harder to address if you’re concerned about a friend or loved one having bipolar disorder. Enlist the help of other friends or family members. People with bipolar disorder often deny any problems, especially during manic episodes. Think of bipolar disorder as you would any other serious disease and get professional help right away. Mental illness is just that, an illness just like diabetes. Thanks to Healthline.com for the information provided on Bipolar Disorder.

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