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What Are Prevention Suggestions And Strategies Pertaining To Bipolar Disorder
A person with bipolar disorder will experience changes in mood, energy, and activity levels that can make day-to-day living difficult.Bipolar disorder can cause severe disruption to a person’s life, but the impact varies between individuals. With appropriate treatment and support, many people with this condition live a full and productive life. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), bipolar disorder affects over 10 million people in the United States or around 2.8% of the population.On average, a person will receive a diagnosis around the age of 25 years, but symptoms can appear during the teenage years or later in life. It affects males and females equally.Share on PinterestA person with bipolar disorder may experience “highs” and “lows” in quick succession.The National Institute of Mental Health describe the main symptoms of bipolar disorder as alternating episodes of high and low mood. Changes in energy levels, sleep patterns, ability to focus, and other features can dramatically impact a person’s behavior, work, relationships, and other aspects of life.Most people experience mood changes at some time, but those related to bipolar disorder are more intense than regular mood changes, and other symptoms can occur. Some people experience psychosis, which can include delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia.Between episodes, the person’s mood may be stable for months or years, especially if they are following a treatment plan. Treatment enables many people with bipolar disorder to work, study, and live a full and productive life. However, when treatment helps a person feel better, they may stop taking their medication. Then, the symptoms can return.Some aspects of bipolar disorder can make a person feel good. During an elevated mood, they may find they are more sociable, talkative, and creative. However, an elevated mood is unlikely to persist. Even if it does, it may be hard to sustain attention or follow through with plans. This can make it difficult to follow a project through to the end.According to the International Bipolar Association, symptoms vary between individuals. For some people, an episode can last for several months or years. Others may experience “highs” and “lows” at the same time or in quick succession. In “rapid cycling” bipolar disorder, the person will have four or more episodes within a year.Mania or hypomaniaHypomania and mania are elevated moods. Mania is more intense than hypomania. Symptoms can include:impaired judgmentfeeing wiredsleeping little but not feeling tireda sense of distraction or boredommissing work or schoolunderperforming at work or schoolfeeling able to do anythingbeing sociable and forthcoming, sometimes aggressively soengaging in risky behaviorincreased libidofeeling exhilarated or euphorichaving high levels of self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-importancetalking a lot and rapidlyjumping from one topic to another in conversationhaving “racing” thoughts that come and go quickly, and bizarre ideas that the person may act upondenying or not realizing that anything is wrongSome people with bipolar disorder may spend a lot of money, use recreational drugs, consume alcohol, and participate in dangerous and inappropriate activities. For more on the differences between mania and hypomania, click here.What are the early signs of bipolar disorder in children and teens?Depressive symptomsDuring an episode of bipolar depression, a person may experience:a feeling of gloom, despair, and hopelessnessextreme sadnessinsomnia and sleeping problemsanxiety about minor issuespain or physical problems that do not respond to treatmenta sense of guilt, which may be misplacedeating more or eating lessweight loss or weight gainextreme tiredness, fatigue, and listlessnessan inability to enjoy activities or interests that usually give pleasuredifficulty focusing and rememberingirritabilitysensitivity to noises, smells, and other things that others may not noticean inability to face going to work or school, possibly leading to underperformanceIn severe cases, the individual may think about ending their life, and they may act on those thoughts.Is it bipolar disorder or depression? Find out more.PsychosisIf a “high” or “low” episode is very intense, the person may experience psychosis. They may have trouble differentiating between fantasy and reality.According to the International Bipolar Foundation, psychosis symptoms during a high include hallucinations, which involve hearing or seeing things that are not there and delusions, which are false but strongly felt beliefs. A person who experiences delusions may believe they are famous, have high-ranking social connections, or have special powers.During a depressive or “low” episode, they may believe they have committed a crime or are ruined and penniless.It is possible to manage all these symptoms with appropriate treatment.Bipolar disorder can also affect memory. Learn more here.A person may receive a diagnosis of one of three broad types of bipolar disorder. According to NAMI, symptoms occur on a spectrum, and the distinction between the types is not always clear-cut.Bipolar I disorderFor a diagnosis of bipolar I disorder:The individual must have experienced at least one manic episode.The person may have had a previous major depressive episode.The doctor must rule out other disorders, such as schizophrenia and delusional disorder.Bipolar II disorderBipolar II disorder involves periods of hypomania, but depression is often the dominant state.For a diagnosis of bipolar II disorder, a person must have had: one or more episodes of depressionat least one hypomanic episodeno other diagnosis to explain the mood shiftsA person with hypomania may feel good and function well, but their mood will not be stable, and there is a risk that depression will follow. People sometimes think of bipolar II disorder as a milder version. For many, however, it is simply different. As NAMI indicate, people with bipolar II disorder may experience more frequent episodes of depression than people with bipolar I disorder.CyclothymiaThe National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom note that cyclothymia has similar features to bipolar disorder, but the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) classifies it separately. It involves hypomania and depression, but the changes are less intense.Nevertheless, cyclothymia can impact a person’s daily life, and a doctor can provide treatment.Learn more about the bipolar spectrum.A medical professional will diagnose bipolar disorder using criteria set out in the DSM-5.The National Institue of Mental Health (NIMH) explain that in order to receive a diagnosis of bipolar I disorder, a person must have had symptoms for at least 7 days, or less if symptoms were severe enough to need hospitalization. They may also have had a depressive episode lasting at least 2 weeks.To receive a diagnosis of bipolar II, a person will have experienced at least one cycle of hypomania and depression. A doctor may carry out a physical examination and some diagnostic tests, including blood and urine tests, to help rule out other causes. It can be challenging for a doctor to diagnose bipolar disorder, as people are more likely to seek help with a low mood than a high mood. As a result, it can be hard for them to distinguish it from depression.If the person has psychosis, a doctor may misdiagnose their condition as schizophrenia. Other complications that may occur with bipolar disorder are:NIMH urge healthcare providers to look for signs of mania in the person’s history, to prevent misdiagnosis. Some antidepressants can trigger mania in susceptible people.A person who receives a diagnosis of bipolar disorder has a lifelong diagnosis. They may enjoy long periods of stability, but they will always live with the condition.Learn more here about bipolar disorder versus schizophrenia.Treatment aims to stabilize the person’s mood and reduce the severity of symptoms. The goal is to help the person function effectively in daily life. Treatment involves a combination of therapies, including: medicationcounselingphysical interventionlifestyle remediesIt can take time to get a correct diagnosis and find a suitable treatment, as individuals react differently, and symptoms vary widely.Managing bipolar disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic may be challenging. Here, get some tips on how to cope.Drug treatmentDrug treatments can help stabilize mood and manage symptoms. A doctor will often prescribe a combination of:The doctor may need to adjust the medication over time. Some drugs have side effects, and they can affect individuals differently. If an individual has concerns about their drug treatment, they should talk to their doctor. A person must: tell the doctor about any other mediations they are using, to reduce the risk of interactions and adverse effectsfollow the doctor’s instructions regarding medication and treatmentdiscuss any concerns about adverse effects, and if they feel the treatment is workingcontinue taking medication unless the doctor says it is safe to stopbear in mind that the drugs can take time to workIf the person discontinues their treatment, symptoms may worsen.Psychotherapy and counselingPsychotherapy can help relieve symptoms and equip a person to manage bipolar disorder.Through cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) and other approaches, the individual can learn to:recognize and take steps to manage key triggers, such as stressidentify early symptoms of an episode and take steps to manage itwork on factors that help maintain a stable mood for as long as possibleengage the help of family members, teachers, and colleaguesThese steps can help a person maintain positive relationships at home and work. For children and teens with bipolar disorder, a doctor may recommend family therapy.Find out more about treatments for bipolar depression.Hospital treatmentSome people may need to spend time in the hospital if there is a risk of them harming themselves or others.If other treatments have not helped, a doctor may prescribe electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).Lifestyle remediesSome lifestyle choices can help maintain a stable mood and manage symptoms. They include:maintaining a regular routinefollowing a healthful and varied dietestablishing a regular sleep pattern and taking steps to prevent sleep disturbancegetting regular exerciseSome people use supplements, but it is essential to discuss this with a doctor first. Some alternative remedies can interact with the drugs used for bipolar disorder. They may make symptoms worse.Get some tips here on taking care of a parent with bipolar disorder.Bipolar disorder appears to result from a combination of factors.Genetic factors: Bipolar disorder is more common in those who have a family member with the condition. A number of genetic features may be involved.Biological traits: Research suggests that imbalances in neurotransmitters or hormones that affect the brain may play a role.Environmental factors: Life events, such as abuse, mental stress, a “significant loss,” or another traumatic event, may trigger an initial episode in a susceptible person.Bipolar disorder is a relatively common but serious mental health condition that involves changes in mood, energy levels, and attention, alongside other symptoms.It can severely disrupt a person’s life, but treatment can drastically improve the outlook. Treatment may not eliminate mood changes entirely, but working closely with a doctor can make symptoms more manageable and maximize quality of life.Read the article in Spanish.
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Recognition and Treatment of Bipolar Depression
Course Director, J. Sloan Manning, MD, discusses bipolar depression in this CME activity titled « Recognition and Treatment of Bipolar Depression: Exploring a Patient’s Journey From Diagnosis to Treatment. » For the full presentation, downloadable practice aids and slides, complete CME information, and to apply for credit, please visit us at http://www.peerviewpress.com/BWE865. CME credit will be available until August 6, 2018.
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