What Do I Need to Know About Bipolar Disorder?

What Do I Need to Know About Bipolar Disorder?

You may believe that the term “bipolar disorder” describes just one condition. Did you know that there are three types of bipolar disorder?

While all three types involve clear and distinct changes in mood, behavior, energy, and activity, each type emphasizes different patterns of episodic behavior that range in intensity and duration.

If you or your loved one is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it is important to understand both the general symptoms associated with all types as well as the subjective symptoms that make each type unique. It is essential to understand how this condition can affect all categories of functioning while also becoming aware of possible treatment routes that can help you.

Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, at large, is a mental condition that causes extreme shifts in mood, behavior, concentration, and the ability to engage in daily tasks. Individuals that have bipolar disorder tend to experience intense emotions, issues with sleep and hyperarousal, and problematic behaviors that are often neglected to be seen as harmful.

There are two general categories of symptoms that may surface if you have bipolar disorder, and these categories are broken down into mood episodes.

Mood episodes describe when you experience extreme mood and behavior shifts that are uncommon for you. Episodes surface intense emotions that must last every day for most of the day, with each episode presenting for several days up to a week.

Manic episode symptoms might involve:

  • having a decreased need for sleep
  • feeling “wired”
  • feeling irritable, touchy, or having an intense amount of energy
  • having a decreased appetite
  • having racing thoughts
  • engaging in intense multitasking
  • engaging in risky behavior and displaying poor judgment
  • feeling unusually important or powerful

Depressive episodes might involve:

  • experiencing issues with concentration
  • feeling depressed, hopeless, empty, or worried
  • feeling restless
  • experiencing insomnia or sleeping too much
  • having an increased appetite or experiencing weight gain
  • feeling as if you have nothing to say
  • feeling unmotivated to do the simplest of tasks
  • decreased or absent sex drive
  • having little interest in most activities
  • suicidal ideation

It is possible to experience both manic and depressive symptoms in one episode, which is called an episode with mixed features. If you experience this type of episode, you may feel energized while feeling empty or hopeless.

Understanding the Three Types of Bipolar Disorder

The three different types of bipolar disorder highlight variations in manic and depressive episodes. These types include:

  • Bipolar I disorder
  • Bipolar II disorder
  • Cyclothymic Disorder

Bipolar I disorder is categorized by either severe manic episodes (that may require hospitalization) or manic episodes that last at least seven days. Depressive episodes are also likely to occur, and typically last two weeks. Episodes with mixed features may also be present.

Bipolar II disorder is categorized by a pattern of both depressive and hypomanic episodes, a more mild experience of mania. These manic episodes are not as intense as the episodes experienced in Bipolar I disorder.

Cyclothymic disorder is categorized by having both hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms that last at least 2 years. The symptoms do not meet any diagnostic requirements for hypomanic or depressive episodes, although symptoms are persistent.

Bipolar Disorder vs. Other Mood Swings or Disorders

Mood swings are not an uncommon experience. It is normal for moods to shift as you go about your daily lives. These natural mood swings are usually not extreme and do not last very long.

If you struggle with bipolar disorder you may experience intense mood swings that can be incredibly difficult to control. You may experience extremely heightened or problematic emotions that you cannot control.

These incredibly challenging shifts in mood may disrupt your life if they leave it untreated. If you experience these extreme shifts in mood, you likely struggle with work, school, interpersonal relationships, and even general functioning.

Treatment Options for Bipolar Disorder

If you or your loved one is experiencing intense changes in mood or behavior, you must get the help that you need to promote your wellbeing. Because bipolar disorder is accompanied by disorganized behavior, it can be difficult to diagnose.

There are both psychotherapy and medication treatment options for all types of bipolar disorder, which have unique benefits. An effective treatment plan is likely to utilize both medications alongside psychotherapy.

It is important that, no matter what the preferred treatment path is for you or your loved one, treatment is individualized. This means that everyone’s treatment plan is tailored specifically to you.  Individualized care is more likely to result in accurate diagnosis, more effective treatment, and better clinical outcomes overall.

Bipolar disorder is a complex mental health condition that is categorized into three different types. Each type describes both the intensity and duration of different manic and depressive symptoms experienced by a given person who struggles with bipolar disorder. Although signs and symptoms vary from person to person, most people that have a bipolar condition experience similar manic and depressive symptoms. A person struggling with any type of bipolar disorder must get the treatment that they need for proper functioning and a greater sense of wellbeing. Casa Recovery is a treatment center that offers several different treatment programs, one being for mental health.  Bipolar disorder among a range of other mental health conditions treated at Casa Recovery. These programs promote long-term mental health and wellness, offering several different therapeutic interventions to help individualize client care. Casa Recovery is committed to clinical excellence and quality care. For more information, call today at (888) 928- 2272.

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