Bipolar Disorder: Top Facts About the Mental Illness

Bipolar Disorder – A Comprehensive Guide

How can u tell if someone is bipolar? If your loved one is showing signs of extreme mood changes that are making it hard for them to do everyday tasks, there’s a great chance they may be suffering from bipolar disorder. This disorder is often diagnosed at the age of 25 and above, but one can start showing symptoms as early as their teenage years. Bipolar disorder affects men and women in equal measure and requires intervention by a qualified therapist to get it under control. It’s also crucial for caregivers and patients to learn all they can about the disorder to manage it effectively. Here’s everything you need to know.

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Bipolar Disorder – What Is It? Are There Any Types?

This disorder that was previously referred to as manic depression presents itself as abnormal changes in moods with the patient experiencing both high and low episodes in intervals. Is bipolar disorder a mental disorder? Yes. Individuals with this condition have abnormalities in their brains that cause the symptoms.

The patient will also have sleep disorders, varying energy levels, and a change in focus that may affect every aspect of their life. Bipolar is categorized into three types. These include:

  • - Bipolar I: The patient only has one manic episode, either high or low shifts in mood. It affects all people regardless of gender.
  • - Bipolar II: Symptoms last way longer. The person can either be in a major depressive state for up to two weeks or experience hypomania that lasts for four days or more. It affects women more.
  • - Cyclothymia: The episodes are shorter compared to bipolar I and II disorders. Furthermore, they can go up to two months with stable, unaffected moods.

What Causes This Disorder?

Despite the fact that bipolar disorder is quite common, it’s still a mystery to researchers and doctors alike. Experts have not uncovered the true cause of the condition. The good news is, research is constantly underway to ensure patients live a comfortable life using different treatment methods that combine medication and a plethora of therapy techniques.

Furthermore, researchers are going above and beyond to find out what causes the disorder to come up with a suitable treatment. However, currently, there’s no cure for this disorder. Nonetheless, through treatment and therapy, patients go on to live normal healthy lives. Below are some of the possible causes of bipolar disorder, according to specialists.

Genetic Factors

How do you know if your bipolar test is more likely to come out positive? If you have a history of bipolar disorder in your family, there’s a high chance you may also develop the disorder. It’s common if a parent or sibling is suffering from the condition.

However, there are cases where people who come from a family with a history of the disorder live bipolar-free. Therefore, there’s a chance you may never develop the disorder despite having a genetic predisposition.

Environment

Sometimes, it has nothing to do with your brain or genetics. Bipolar may be caused by outside factors such as:

  • - Extreme stress;
  • - Illness;
  • - Trauma;
  • - Significant loss;
  • - Abuse.

Brain Structure

Another common cause is one’s brain structure. Hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances cause this disorder. The physician will, therefore, need to evaluate your brain to ascertain whether or not you are suffering from the disorder.

How is This Disorder Diagnosed?

How can I tell if I’m bipolar? Doctors consider a plethora of actors before concluding that you’re suffering from this disorder. This is because there could be several things causing your symptoms. To begin with, the therapist will be interested in finding out how long you’ve had the reported symptoms. A patient will be considered bipolar is the manic episodes have lasted one week or have caused hospitalization.

Depressive episodes must have been going on for about two weeks. However, the therapists specializing in bipolar disorder will carry out a series of tests before concluding that you’re suffering from this mental disorder. These include the following.

Mood Charting

Here, the therapist asks the patient to keep a record of their mood changes, sleep patterns, and other relevant behaviors that seem out of the ordinary. The purpose of this is for the therapist to get a better understanding of the symptoms and choose the right treatment strategy. In most cases, the patient will be required to make daily records.

Psychiatrist Assessments

If you’re not already working with a therapist, your doctor may refer you to one if they suspect you have bipolar disorder. The psychiatrist will ask you several questions relating to your moods, how you feel, and other relevant questions.

In some cases, the therapist may also include your relatives and friends to provide more information about your symptoms, so that they can understand your condition better.

Physical Examinations

Before concluding that you have bipolar disorder, your doctor will also carry out a series of physical examinations to rule out any other conditions that may be causing your symptoms. Here you should expect the specialist to take blood or urine samples. They may also do some brain imaging to rule out even more possible diseases.

Criteria for Bipolar Disorder

Therapists also use certain criteria to find out if your symptoms match what is considered a bipolar disorder. This analysis enables them to know they have the right diagnosis before recommending any treatments.

In most cases, bipolar is diagnosed by combining all these methods. Therapists are in a better position to make a final judgment of your condition when they’ve ruled out any other illnesses that may be resulting in your symptoms, and they have all the necessary facts.

Should I Go To A Therapist For Bipolar Disorder?

Psychotherapy is crucial to the recovery process if you suffer from bipolar. Through therapy, you get to learn effective ways on how to deal with the disease and how to fix some of the problems it has caused in your life. For instance, the therapist may help you take steps towards fixing damaged relationships that resulted from your condition. In addition, you’ll learn how to keep your moods in check and manage stress, which is crucial for living a normal life.

How Do Therapists Treat Bipolar Disorder?

What therapy is best for bipolar disorder? Therapists use different counseling techniques when dealing with patients with bipolar disease. The purpose of combining different strategies is to ensure the patient gets an all-rounded treatment that enables them to live a normal life. Here are some of the therapy techniques you can expect.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of behavior modification that mainly involves talk therapy. Experts define behavior modification as the alteration of one’s behavior using different learning techniques. In CBT, the therapist will talk to you about how you feel, your episodes, and other contributing factors that cause your episodes.

Afterward, they’ll use behavior modification techniques to help you cope better. However, the therapist will first work towards helping you understand your thinking patterns to make the coping techniques more effective.

Do not expect the effects of CBT to happen overnight. Patients have to go through this talk therapy for a while before they learn to use the techniques effectively. And often, it’s combined with other treatment methods for better results.

Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT)

If you’re sleep-deprived and you have erratic patterns, it may worsen your symptoms. IPSRT helps patients gain stability by:

  • - Teaching how to maintain a routine;
  • - Encouraging the adaptation of good sleep patterns;
  • - Teaching how to fix problems that disrupt their routine.
When IPSRT is combined with bipolar medication, it’s very effective in reducing manic and depressive episodes.

Psychoeducation

This is a type of therapy that teaches the patient and everyone around them about the disorder. Caregivers are in a better position to give you adequate care when they have a good understanding of the disease. They get to learn how work, school, and other stressful situations may lead to your manic and depressive state, among other things.

Besides, they get more aware of their role in keeping your condition under control. What’s more, they can follow up and ensure you’re always taking your medication, which is crucial for normal functioning.

Medication

Apart from therapy, doctors also prescribe medications to people living with bipolar disease. The medication is often prescribed as soon as you’ve received your diagnosis. This way, you can start balancing your moods immediately.

Some of the medications you can expect for the bipolar disease include:

  • - Lithium: An excellent mood stabilizer;
  • - Olanzapine: An antipsychotic;
  • - Xanax: An anti-anxiety drug.

Does CBD Help Bipolar Disorder?

Cannabidiol is becoming quite popular in bipolar treatment. Although there’s no sufficient evidence supporting the long-term effects of CBT for bipolar disorders, these products have proven effective in protecting the brain against damage and supporting healthy neurotransmitter function. Furthermore, CBD helps the sufferers maintain stable moods throughout the day.

Nonetheless, before you decide to go this route of treatment, there are several things you should keep in mind. These include:

  • Consider your other drugs: CBD may have a negative reaction with other antipsychotic drugs. Therefore, consult your doctor before adding it to your treatment regimen.
  • Beware of the type of CBD product: Some CBD products contain cannabinoids like THC that may make your symptoms worse.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find the Best Therapy Services

Whether you prefer online or face-to-face therapy sessions, it’s vital to ensure you’re working with a top therapist or psychologist. There are several things you need to consider during your search. For starters, consider the therapist’s area of expertise. You need to go with a company that has experience and expertise in mental health disorders for the best results.

Furthermore, compare pricing. Find out if the cost of the counseling session is worth it, considering what the package includes. In addition to price, read user reviews on and off the company’s website. This will give you an idea of what to expect from their services.

It’s also advisable to interview your top options to identify the therapist you have the best connection with. After all, this is supposed to be a long-term professional relationship. Therefore, the person must be able to mesh well with both the patient and caregivers. We have more information about bipolar disorder and finding the help you need. Explore our website to find out even more about this condition.