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Importance of Early Diagnosis in Treating Bipolar Disorder

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Early signs of bipolar disorder, showing in any form, whether manic states or depressive states, can often be detected early on. However, largely, it is a long and difficult process of diagnosis. Early detection and diagnosis go a long way, as they further push for early treatment, which helps to get things under control sooner.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder can be characterized by abnormal and extreme swings in mood, activities, and energy levels—both ends of it, as manic states as well as depressive ones. Symptoms differ from person to person, and for some, they can manifest as psychotic episodes of illness, which can last weeks or even months. 

Types of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is classified into three broad types:

  • Bipolar I disorder (Mania or a Mixed Episode)
  • Bipolar II disorder (Hypomania and Depression)
  • Cyclothymia (Hypomania and Mild Depression)

Research Findings in Bipolar Disorder

Genetic anomalies are often related to bipolar disorder. The scientific community has determined the genes that are associated with it: Dysbindin, Neuregulin, and G72 genes. They also believe that there could be 50–100 genes responsible for the disorder to manifest. If not treated, preferably early on, it can lead to serious brain damage as well. 

The Impact of Bipolar Disorder on the Brain

An individual who suffers from bipolar disorder encounters mood swings so intense that they start interfering with their productivity, behavior, personal relationships, and other daily functions of life. Chances of brain impairment are high, and 30% of people with untreated bipolar disorder take the step of suicide. 44% of people suffering from bipolar disorder abuse alcohol, and 56% abuse drugs.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

The key characteristic graphs fall in between episodes of mania (high mood) and depression (low mood). Generally, a manic episode is characterized by extreme happiness and hyperactivity that leads to a rapid flow of speech. In the other extreme of a depressive mood, the person experiences sadness, feels lethargic and lacks energy in all activities, loses interest in things, feels helpless and hopeless, and is unable to enjoy normal pleasurable activities.

Recognizing Manic Episodes

In this phase, one may feel very energetic and creative, and one’s sleep cycle can get hampered because of it. Speech can become rapid, reckless behavior can increase, and one can feel easily angered and irritated. The person may also have trouble concentrating on important things. They might also experience delusions and hallucinations. 

Identifying Depressive Episodes

In this phase, one may feel tired and sluggish and experience a general low self-esteem and a lack of confidence. They also have trouble sleeping and experience an abrupt change in appetite and weight. Memory retention power declines along with attention span, and in severe cases, it can trigger suicidal ideation. 

Early Warning Signs of Bipolar Disorder

Suicidal ideation is usually a very telltale sign of bipolar disorder. In some people, it manifests as psychotic episodes of illness lasting weeks or months, with full remission of their symptoms between each episode. Extreme swings in behavior can be the cause of damaged relationships and very poor performance at school or the workplace.

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The Importance of Early Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis

Bipolar disorder has emerged as one of the most prevalent mental illnesses in this day and age, something that affects the global population at large. What is even more disturbing is that teens with bipolar disorder have a 50% risk of attempted suicide. Early diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder simply means early intervention and early healing from the disorder. 

Benefits of Early Detection

Early diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder is beneficial since it allows for early intervention. In a lot of cases, it is crucial—and not only that, but it needs to be seen early on so that it can lead to a better and more managed life.

Improved Treatment Outcomes

If detected early on, the medication and therapy can start sooner, and the sooner they start, the symptoms can start to reduce in intensity and/or frequency. If the treatment is set in place earlier, it can benefit any troubles the person is having at work, school, or in their interpersonal relationships.

Prevention of Severe Episodes

It is never to say that episodes will completely stop, but severe ones certainly can. Early detection allows the intensity, as well as the frequency of the episodes, to be reduced. This allows for better functioning within the person’s life, and they can go about their day as they would have.

Better Management of Comorbid Conditions

If one has other comorbid conditions, the management of one of the conditions makes it easier for the body and the brain to tackle the other one. Getting bipolar under control allows them to be able to focus on other things as well. 

Enhanced Quality of Life

One’s overall quality of life can also be enhanced if one can detect bipolar earlier on. Since it affects their productivity, behavior, personal relationships, and other daily functions of life, these aspects of one’s life usually firm up once bipolar disorder is under control!

Challenges in Early Diagnosis of  Bipolar Disorder

There is no specific age for the onset of bipolar disorder. Various challenges can come up, such as: 

Symptom Overlap with Other Conditions

It is difficult to narrow down the specific disorder since various disorders are similar and have overlapping aspects. Then it is even tougher since the subtype of bipolar also needs to be taken into account—adding another layer of complexity. 

Stigma and Misunderstanding

Mental health, in general, has a lot of stigma associated with it, and it also comes with a lot of misunderstanding. There are certain harmful stereotypes associated with mental health, and they are mostly prejudiced and untrue. This prevents genuine cases from being considered, as people are afraid of being shamed and ridiculed. 

Variability of Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

An unstable mood is not unique to bipolar. Similar symptoms are experienced by people who have borderline personality disorder (BPD). Types of bipolar are also tough to narrow down, as they require specific symptoms to be weighed out and connected to the disorder.

Diagnostic Procedures for Bipolar Disorder

Some of the most common diagnostic procedures for bipolar disorder include:

Initial Clinical Assessment

In most cases, one is referred to a psychiatrist, and they are the ones who assess the person. They ask about one's feelings, behaviors, and thoughts and may even suggest psychological self-assessment and/or a questionnaire. 

Physical Examinations and Lab Tests

The doctor may also suggest that one do a physical exam as well as lab tests to determine any other conditions that could be causing the symptoms. 

Psychological Evaluations

A psychiatrist will conduct assessments to determine whether or not the disorder exists. Assessments also determine which particular type of bipolar disorder is to be narrowed down to. Interviews are taken, and the particular case history is examined by the professional concerned. There are various types of bipolar disorder, so narrowing it down to a particular type will also require symptom analysis.

Effective Treatment Options for Bipolar Disorder

Rapidly shifting moods are at the helm of emotional turmoil. This involves a psychiatrist, who will be able to prescribe medications as well as psychotherapies. Medication will be able to balance the tumultuous mood patterns of the person. Bipolar requires medication to be able to continue over a lifetime, even when one is feeling better, to prevent a relapse. Treatment programs include options such as interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Psychoeducation, and Family-focused therapy.

Embracing a New Chapter in Bipolar Management with Cadabams: Towards a Balanced Future

The prevalence of bipolar disorder is not shocking. With the emergence of new methods and techniques, one can say that we are moving slowly to a place where the treatment of bipolar is easier and more accessible. With Cadabam’s, you are safe and guided through such tough instances of mental health issues—and needless to say, you will be moving towards a more balanced future. 

If you are searching for a solution to your problem, Cadabam’s Rehabilitation Centre can help you with its team of specialized experts. We have been helping thousands of people live healthier and happier lives for 30+ years. We leverage evidence-based approaches and holistic treatment methods to help individuals effectively manage their Early Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. Get in touch with us today. You can call us at +91 96111 94949

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How early can you diagnose someone with bipolar?

Only a trained professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, is qualified to do so. Symptoms of mania and depression, as well as a myriad of other symptoms such as mood shifts and suicidal thoughts, can be seen as early symptoms that could be considered by the professional in concern. 

What is the first choice for treating bipolar disorder?

Medication and psychotherapy are usually the first treatment plans to be implemented. A good psychiatrist or psychologist will be able to tailor one’s programs to one’s needs, and this is the only way bipolar disorder can be kept in check.

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