Bipolar disorders are more common than most people think. Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans, or about 2.6% of the U.S. population of age 18 and older every year. Bipolar has affected both males and females equally across all nations, races, economic classes, and ethnic groups. Bipolar is a lifelong mental illness. It consists of episodes of mania and depression. The causes of bipolar disorders are unknown. However, it appears to be hereditary. Bipolar is often misdiagnosed and overlooked, which worsens the condition.
The Symptoms of Bipolar Disorders
There are different types of bipolar disorders. The symptoms of bipolar can vary from person to person and each type of bipolar disorder. The severity, patterns and frequency can also vary. There are four types of bipolar disorders: mania, bipolar depression, mixed episodes and hypomania.
It’s also a common misconception that bipolar disorders only have a negative impact on the mental health and behavior. Here’s some of the physical symptoms:
- It can affect your sleep patterns.
- Appetite changes.
- Lethargy and low energy levels.
- Low concentration levels.
- Memory loss.
The Symptoms of Bipolar Depression
There are some similarities between the regular depression and bipolar depression. People who are suffering with bipolar depression are not treated with anti-depressants. Here’s some of the symptoms of bipolar depression:
- Suicidal thoughts.
- Lack of energy.
- Sleep and appetite changes.
- Weight problems, either losing or gaining.
- Memory loss and lack of concentration.
The Symptoms of Hypomania and Mania
Hypomania is less severe than mania. People who suffer from hypomania can go on with their day to day lives like normal people. They are usually in abnormal good mood. They’re also productive, energetic and they feel euphoric. Hypomania can also interfere with your decisions and can have a negative impact on your relationships and career. It can also lead to bipolar depression or mania.
Mania or manic episodes can have a variety of symptoms such as:
- Impulsivity: spending money impulsively, making bad decisions, engaging in sexual activity, etc.
- Lack of sleep, but still having high levels of energy.
- Delusional thoughts such as feeling powerful. Hallucinations can occur in severe cases.
- Lack of judgement and the inability to concentrate.
- Speaking at an unusual rapid pace.
- Sometimes feeling irritable and acting aggressively.
During the winter seasons, some feel depressed and very low. During the summer seasons, they feel more alive and tend to have more manic episodes.
The Symptoms of Mixed Episodes:
Mixed episodes are a mixture between all three different types of bipolar disorders: hypomania, mania and bipolar depression. Mixed episodes can also consist of suicidal thoughts. They usually have both low and high moods. The symptoms include: depression, anxiety, insomnia, agitation, the inability to concentrate and racing thoughts.
Therapy and Treatment for Bipolar Disorders
If you suspect that you might be suffering with bipolar disorder, it’s best to consult a psychiatrist.It is advisable to be diagnosed and treated as early as possible, as it can worsen. Bipolar disorders also require long term treatment.
Your psychiatrist can prescribe medications that can help you with treating the symptoms. It can also help with controlling and preventing manic episodes and depression.
Keep Your Stress Level Down
This might sound impossible. However, you can avoid unnecessary stress such as finding a less stressful job. Making time for yourself to relax. You can learn some relaxation techniques such as yoga, breathing exercises etc.
Lead a Healthy Lifestyle
Eating the right foods can stabilize your mental health and emotions too. Include a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet. You should also get as much exercise as possible, as this can improve your mood. Try running, walking, swimming, dancing etc.
Join Support Groups
Search online for support groups or join group therapy sessions. It’s always good to get support from others who are faced with the same problem as you.
References: Help Guide