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  • Writer's picturePaige Wilcken

What Everyone Should Know About Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder has had a few names in the past including manic depression and manic-depressive disorder. It is now known simply as bipolar disorder.


This mental health diagnosis is characterized by extreme and unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and concentration which can inhibits one's ability to fulfill their daily tasks.



There are generally two types of episodes that people with bipolar disorder have. These are manic episodes and depressive episodes.


  • abnormally upbeat

  • increase in energy and activity

  • exaggerated feelings of self-confidence and well-being

  • decrease in sleep

  • thoughts racing

  • easily distracted

  • poor decision making

  • depressed mood

  • loss of interest in most activities

  • insomnia or sleeping too much

  • restlessness or slowed behavior

  • fatigue

  • feeling worthless

  • decrease of ability to think or concentrate

  • suicidal thoughts

These two types of episodes accompany certain types of bipolar disorder. There are actually three different types. They include Bipolar 1, Bipolar 2, Cyclothymic Disorder (Cyclothymia).



Bipolar 1 is usually identified by manic episodes. Although manic episodes are the major symptom that can last a week or longer, depression may also be present at times.


Bipolar 2 generally is characterized by both depressive episodes and hypomania episodes. Hypomania is simply a lesser form of regular mania episodes.


Cyclothymia generally means that both manic and depressive episodes occur and that they occur for two years or longer. Although the episodes are usually less severe than in Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2, cyclothymia still causes unstable moods with a mix of normal times and experiences of episodes.



So how do I know if I am at risk for developing bipolar disorder?


There are three risk factors which increase one's chance for developing bipolar disorder. These include having a parent or sibling with bipolar disorder, experiencing traumatic or high stress events, and drug or alcohol abuse.


Although there are no sure ways to prevent a mental health diagnosis, there are certain ways you can manage bipolar disorder once it is is diagnosed.


Most often bipolar disorder is managed through medication but treatment options can vary depending on the type.


Another treatment option that has been found to have benefits for some people is Ketamine infusion therapy. It is primarily used to treat depressive episodes and has been known to treat other conditions and diseases as well.


No matter the treatment used, it is important to first visit a medical professional to help you get on your way to managing your bipolar symptoms better.


References


4 types of bipolar disorder. Boston MindCare. (2020). https://bostonmindcare.com/4-types-of-bipolar-disorder/.


Mayo Clinic Staff. (2021). Bipolar disorder. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355955.


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2020). Bipolar disorder. National Institute of Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder.

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