If you’ve ever wondered or maybe even Googled “what does it mean to be bipolar” or “what happens if you are diagnosed with bipolar disorder,” you’re in the right place. Keep learning about the basics of bipolar including the synonyms, risk factors, and how to seek help for bipolar, a condition that affects about 1.3 million Americans.
Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder that leads to extreme shifts in mood and energy levels. While it’s true that we all experience ups and downs from day to day, these shifts can be severe and life-altering for people with bipolar.
People with bipolar disorder commonly go through periods of an extremely elevated or irritable mood — these are known as manic episodes. They also frequently experience episodes of depression. The manic and depressive episodes can be as short as a few hours or as long as several months.
There are three main symptoms associated with bipolar: mania, hypomania, and depression.
People experiencing a manic episode frequently:
-Spend exorbitant amounts of money
-Have unprotected sex
-Stay awake for long periods
During a manic episode, you may feel an emotional high. Feelings of excitement, euphoria, impulse, and energetic bursts are common.
Hypomania symptoms are associated with bipolar II disorder and are similar to mania, just not as severe. Unlike mania, hypomania doesn't always lead to problems at work, school, or in relationships. But, people with hypomania still notice mood changes.
People experiencing depression may also:
-Experience intense feelings of sadness and hopelessness
-Have a loss of energy
-No longer interested in activities and hobbies they used to enjoy
-Experience periods of too little or too much sleep
-Experiences changes in appetite and eating patterns
The American Psychiatric Association states there are four major categories of bipolar disorder:
-Bipolar I disorder — defined by the appearance of at least one manic episode accompanied by hypomanic or major depressive episodes.
-Bipolar II disorder — defined by a major depressive episode that lasts at least two weeks. Commonly, the person will also experience a hypomanic episode for about four days.
-Cyclothymic disorder — defined by hypomania and depression episodes. These symptoms are shorter and less severe than those caused by bipolar I and II.
Though the exact cause of bipolar disorder is currently unknown, there are several known risk factors, including:
-Having a direct relative, like a parent or sibling, with bipolar disorder.
-Periods of high stress, such as the death of a loved one, or other traumatic events.
-A history of drug and/or alcohol abuse.
The good news is that there are several treatments available for bipolar disorder to allow patients to manage their symptoms and live healthy, happy, and fulfilling lives.
These bipolar disorder treatment options include:
-Medication management with psychotropic medications, including mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications.
-Individual therapy: Meeting at least once a week with an individual therapist has been proven to be beneficial to allow patients to discuss their treatment progress and process all the feelings that come along with that, while also having the chance to address any concerns that may arise.
-Group therapy: Residents at our inpatient bipolar treatment are assigned a small group of peers that will meet together multiple times per week for therapy sessions.
Other bipolar disorder treatment paths include:
-Learning about coping skills and codependency
-Learning about holistic and healthy living
-Learning tools to effectively express emotions
-Working through grief and loss
-Relapse prevention tools
Which treatment course and options are best for you will depend on your unique case and circumstances. That’s why it’s important to find a licensed treatment facility that will work to develop a tailored plan to fit your needs.
If you or a loved one is struggling with bipolar, we’re here for you.
Corner Canyon Health Center is an inpatient mental health and addiction recovery center. We provide evidence-based and compassion-driven treatment for mixed-gender adult clients in a comfortable, healthy environment with caring personnel.
At our bipolar treatment center, we offer inpatient bipolar treatment alongside many other addiction and mental health treatment programs. Our experienced staff is dedicated to helping our clients overcome their mental health struggles. Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions you may have about treatment for bipolar disorder.