What is Bipolar Disorder exactly?

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Bipolar Disorder is when a person has manic and depressive episodes with normal states in between. What exactly does that mean? One day you feel like you can take on the world. You are the exception to every rule limiting normal people and can excel at anything you put your mind to. You can study with crystal clear focus for hours, you feel sexy, and nothing can stop you. When you are in a depressive state you feel like the world is against you, no one loves you, and there is no hope for you. There are “normal days” in between these cycles and sometimes you have more depressive episodes then manic ones. It all depends on the person. There are two main types of Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar I and Bipolar II. Bipolar I is the most severe case. Generally, people seek help for their manic episodes because they can’t sleep, they are out of control, irritable, and unable to rest. Bipolar II is slightly different. People seek help for their depressive states mostly. They are in states of hopelessness, fatigue, and despair.

What are some signs and symptoms to look out for in yourself or loved ones?

Manic State

Inability or no desire to sleep

Doing multiple activities at once sometimes more then can be accomplished

Extremely high self-esteem

Grandiose ideas

Risky behavior (gambling, speeding, drugs, sex, etc)

Racing thoughts and ideas

Talking quickly and loudly often changing topics quickly

Depressive State

Feelings of hopelessness, despair, guilt, and worthlessness

Sleeping too much or too little

Loss of interest in things you enjoy

Fatigue, lack of energy

Inability to concentrate or remember making decisions

Thoughts of death or suicide

The thing about Bipolar Disorder is that it generally coexists with other mental disorders such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety, or substance abuse. Finding a good doctor and therapist who can identify the different issues and treat them is very important. You may go through several providers before you find the right fit. This can be frustrating but it’s worth the effort.

Sources: What are Bipolar Disorders? 2017. Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/bipolar-disorders/what-are-bipolar-disorders

Bipolar Disorder. 2016. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml

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