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Bipolar Disorder is a mental health condition in which the patient experiences severe variations in mood, behaviors and attitude towards life. Those suffering from Bipolar disorder exhibit extreme moods, like highs when the person feels excessively euphoric and irritable (hypomania) and extreme lows or depression (feelings of hopelessness and dread) in a cyclical manner.
Bipolar disorder symptoms are generally characterized by frequent and unwarranted shifts in mood. The mood swings may occur only on rare occasions for some patients or continue to happen back to back for some.
Bipolar disorder symptoms, as discussed, include major mood swings and sudden shifts in behavior. These symptoms depend greatly on the types of bipolar disorder. In general, along with mood swings, changes are also observed in:
In many cases, bipolar disorder symptoms may not be characterized as an episode of depression or of excess euphoria. Based on the bipolar disorder types, the condition can also show symptoms of unstable moods, frequently changing highs and lows. The bipolar syndrome often results in a weaker job and academic performance throughout life, trouble with relationships and even suicidal tendencies if the patient goes untreated.
What are bipolar disorder symptoms in the case of depressive mood episodes?
When the patient is experiencing extremely low mood episodes, the following symptoms can be observed:
What are the symptoms of bipolar types in the cases of manic or extremely euphoric episodes?
The manic episodes of the patient experiencing bipolar disorder symptoms can show the following signs:
Bipolar disorder symptoms tend to get worse if the patient goes long periods without treatment. In most cases, such patients start to experience mixed symptoms during which the episodes of mania and depression coexist leading to:
To this day, the exact cause of different types of bipolar disorders is unknown, but it can be attributed to certain risk factors. The risk factors for bipolar disorder are:
Let us discuss in detail the different types of bipolar disorder. The bipolar disorder types greatly influence the symptoms and patient characteristics.
The bipolar 1 disorder happens when the patient experiences either mania and depression that’s pronounced and lasts at least 1 week. Opposed to other types of Bipolar, it is possible to experience only mania or depression rather than alternating between the two. The manic episodes of these bipolar disorder types can also lead to psychosis or a break from reality. All the behavior shown during this span must be completely different from the person’s normal behavior in order to qualify as a bipolar syndrome of type 1.
The bipolar type 2 is characterized by the occurrence of one depressive mood episode and at least one hypomanic episode. Hypomanic episodes are nothing but lower intensity manic episodes. It should be noted that the bipolar type 2 or the bipolar 2 disorder does not relate to manic episodes. A patient will be considered to have bipolar 2 disorder only when they have never had a manic episode.
One of the different types of bipolar disorder, this diagnosis relates to the patient has faced at least two years of hypomanic or depressive episodes. This condition is less severe than bipolar 1 and 2 disorders.
These bipolar disorder types generally relate to the people who have had at least four episodes of major depression, mania, and hypomania within a span of only one year. This disorder occurs more in women than men and is more common in people with severe types of bipolar disorder and those who have been diagnosed at an early age.
Bipolar 1 and 2 are two separate diagnoses and bipolar type 2 does not signify lesser or mild symptoms than bipolar 1. These two different types of bipolar syndrome require different approaches to treatment. The major difference between bipolar 1 and bipolar 2 is that the bipolar 1 disorder is characterized by severe and dangerous episodes of mania whereas bipolar type 2 is more about depressive behavior for longer periods which can cause lifetime impairment.
Bipolar disorder often starts to show symptoms before the patient reaches 25 years of age. In most cases, symptoms are observed in teenagers while others may start to show signs of bipolar disorder as children.
Diagnosing bipolar disorder early is not easy because the signs of bipolar in kids tend to occur slowly and worsen over time. Alternatively, bipolar disorder may also start to show signs very late in life.
Patients tend to consult a doctor during their extreme depressive episodes, hence, the mental health professional conducts a full diagnostic test to rule out other mental health conditions.
For proper diagnosis, the doctor needs to know about the alcohol and substance use habits of patients, their medical history, and occurrences of depression or suicide attempts among the family members of the patient.
If the mental health professional suspects bipolar syndrome, they are likely to refer the patient to a psychiatric professional. Patients who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder tend to suffer from other related mental and physical health conditions:
Such patients are also likely to have a substance abuse problem.
There is no straightforward method of curing it. The treatment is carried out by trained professionals – a team comprising a psychiatrist, a clinical psychologist, a counselor, and a psychiatric nurse who are involved in the course of treatment.
Most of the bipolar disorder treatment methods are directed towards dealing and reducing the symptoms. Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition. The primary mood swings treatment consists of medications to balance the mood and psychotherapy or counseling which may also include attending support groups.
Depending on the needs of the patient, here is how to treat bipolar disorder:
Medications and its dosage has to be regularly supervised according to the mood swings. Medications can be prescribed only after consultation with a mental health professional. Self-dosing is extremely dangerous and should never be attempted.
Counseling and therapy is a vital step in the rule book on how to cure bipolar disorder. This can be done individually or in a family or group setting. There are several types of therapy. These include:
Here are the most common medications of bipolar treatment that are suggested by the doctors:
Mood stabilizers: The patient is asked to take mood-stabilizing medications as part of the mood disorder treatment to control and manage hypomanic and manic episodes. The following medicines are preferred as mood stabilizers: lithium
Antipsychotic medications: In the process of bipolar disorder treatment, if the symptoms of mania and depression persist even after medications, using an antipsychotic drug would help.
Antidepressant: To help manage the depression and extreme low episodes, doctors may also prescribe antidepressants for bipolar treatment. Since these medicines are associated with manic episodes, doctors generally advise patients to take these along with mood stabilizers and antipsychotic drugs.
Antidepressant-antipsychotic medicines: A new medication that aims to address both depressive and manic episodes in the path to mood disorder treatment. It is a combination of antidepressant and antipsychotic medication. It aims to balance out the mood shifts by effective mood swings treatment.
Anti-anxiety medications: Doctors also prescribe patients with several anti-anxiety medications to cure insomnia and improve sleep patterns but these are often advised for smaller durations of time.
Continued Treatment: Sometimes Bipolar disorder treatment requires the patient to take continuous lifelong treatment medications even when they go through normal periods of mood and behavior. Patients who skip these treatments during normal situations are generally at a high risk of developing sudden lapses in mood which might lead to a full-blown and serious bipolar disorder.
Day Treatment Programs: Bipolar treatment methods also prescribe patients to enroll in day treatment programs that aim to provide support and counseling help that the patient might need to get the symptoms of bipolar disorder under control.
Substance Abuse Treatment: Mental health professionals need to cure the substance abuse problem of patients first. Hence, the mood disorder treatment also comprises medicines and help that might be needed to assist patients in getting their substance dependency eliminated.
Hospitalization for Psychiatric Treatment: Dealing with a loved one’s bipolar disorder isn’t easy. Their moods and behaviors affect their family the most, puts a strain on their relationship and disrupt all aspects of family life. In such severe cases, doctors might feel the need to send the patients for psychiatric treatment.
This step is taken when the patient is very likely to commit suicide or shows any symptoms to harm others. Moreover, medication and mood swings treatment is also advised when the patients show behaviors related to psychosis or experiencing a break from reality. Hospitalization helps patients feel calm and safe during manic episodes.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – CBT treatment is designed to help the patient identify unhealthy and negative thoughts and behaviors that they might possess. The aim is to replace such thoughts with positive ones. This type of treatment is important as it helps to recognize the triggers of a bipolar disorder.
CBT is also beneficial for the patients as it helps them learn the strategies that can help them focus better and stay motivated throughout the journey.
Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) – This type of treatment focuses on the stabilization of the daily rhythms of the body and mind, such as sleeping, walking and hunger. A stable routine helps the patient with better mood management. A daily and consistent routine of sleep, walk and exercise can help people with bipolar disorder stabilize their mood swings.
Psychoeducation – Learning about the condition is a very important step in helping patients understand how to control mood swings naturally. Not only the patients but also their caregivers should be aware of the condition to better understand the support they might need to handle the abrupt mood swings.
Family-focused therapy – Doctors also advise family-focused therapy because it has been seen that patients tend to stick to their routine and take up healthy habits when they stay among supportive family and friends. This also helps the family members to assist the patient in the event of sudden mood swings.
At a well established and renowned center like Cadabam, bipolar disorder is treated from various angles. We help develop a healthy lifestyle for the patient so even after they leave our treatment program, they live a healthy and happy life.
In addition to traditional talk therapy, treatment options include alternative approaches like Yoga, Mindfulness practices, Equine-assisted therapy, Fitness, Trauma therapies, Art, and music therapy.
People might consider bipolar disorder as simple mood swings but the condition is far more serious than that. Let us bust some of the most common myths and learn some interesting facts about bipolar disorder.
Myth: The highs and lows are the same as the regular mood swings
Fact: Bipolar disorder is a lot more unpredictable than normal mood swings of people. Some patients may have symptoms of both mania and depression simultaneously. This means that they may feel sad but feel wired or energized. There is no predictable pattern as the mood swings may occur at any time.
Myth: There is no way to treat bipolar disorder
Fact: The symptoms of Bipolar disorder are treatable and this can help manage the condition to a large extent. There are several medications that doctors prescribe for controlling mood swings and manic episodes. Patients can also choose to go to therapy which is a great way to bring back balance.
Myth: Bipolar disorder only affects adults
Fact: One of the most important facts about bipolar disorder is that children are susceptible to getting affected by the condition. Bipolar disorder in children is common and usually co-occurring with symptoms of ADHD which makes the diagnosis and subsequent treatment more difficult. Symptoms of bipolar disorder in teens are more common and widespread than that in adults.
Myth: Stress does not trigger episodes
Fact: Among all the interesting facts about bipolar disorder, it should be noted that stress is one of the most important factors that can trigger a sudden mood episode. This can be about a sudden traumatic event like a death in the family or a failure in life. To keep excessive stress at bay, doctors advise bipolar disorder patients to take up relaxing activities like yoga, meditation, and exercises.
Myth: Alcohol has no role to play
Fact: The increased use of alcohol and recreational drugs among teens is gradually becoming an important reason for the relapse of symptoms of bipolar disorder in teens. These factors do not lead to the development of the disease but they can spark symptoms for the bipolar disorder to come back after long periods of normalcy. Patients with alcohol abuse problems have a hard time responding to bipolar disorder treatment.
Myth: Bipolar disorder only affects the mood of the individual
Fact: Bipolar disorder is not just about the mood of the patient but can also heavily affect their sleep patterns, energy levels, and decision-making skills. The effects are so intense that the patients tend to develop insomnia, have random bursts and fall in their energy levels and interest in doing some work and they tend to take impulsive decisions when it comes to investments and personal relationships. The patients also tend to take more risks and talk excessively.
There are certain factors that might increase the risk of developing bipolar disorder or might act as a trigger that can give rise to the first episode. Such risk factors include:
When bipolar disorder is left untreated, especially in cases where the patient or their environment does not take mental health seriously, certain complications may be seen in the long run. These include:
For the people who suffer from such serious mental health conditions, lifestyle changes are needed to soften the symptoms in the long run. Patients need to learn how to control mood swings naturally and how to overcome mood swings. Such lifestyle changes include:
Certain self-help tips for bipolar disorder might include the following:
According to mental health experts, bipolar disorder is a very serious health condition but it is also treatable when the patient gets access to early diagnosis and treatment. Untreated symptoms of the disorder can only get worse in the long run. With proper care and adherence to medication along with help from therapy and a supportive environment and relationships, patients can go on to live a healthy life.
It can be really stressful to deal with Bipolar Disorder or have a loved one dealing with the illness. Seeking help and support is essential to help patients lead functional lives. If you are staging an intervention for a loved one with Bipolar Disorder, ensure you follow these guidelines.
Cadabams is India’s leading Mental Health Rehab for Bipolar Disorder and other serious mental illnesses. Visit our residential treatment facility for a guided tour of our Bipolar treatment centre.
Call us on our mental health helpline +91 96111 94949 for further details or Bipolar disorder related emergencies.
Our team of psychiatrists are experts in psychosocial rehabilitation and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) ), interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT), and family-focused therapy that has proven to be highly effective in cases of Bipolar disorder. We have over two decades of expertise in handling the most complex cases of Bipolar disorder.
At Cadabams, we provide clean, modern, fully furnished accommodations with all the necessary creature comforts.
Kitchen and dining hall, laundry facilities, indoor games area, yoga and meditation hall, outdoor games area for cricket, badminton, Round the clock psychiatrist and counsellor support, 24×7 ambulance on demand.
Our everyday menu is curated by Dieticians aimed at providing healthy and nutritious and tasty meals to satisfy everyone’s palate.
Recreation facilities such as TV, sports, gym, picnics and outings and more.
At least 3 of the following must be there for most of the day nearly every day for 1 week or longer
5 or more symptoms of most of the day, nearly every day of the week or weeks or longer