What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by a manic phase and a depressive phase.
- In a manic phase, lasting anywhere between weeks and months, an individual experiences an intense moment of hyperactivity.
- In the depressive phase of bipolar, which can also last weeks to months, an individual experiences intense moments of depression.
There are three main types of bipolar:
- Bipolar I – diagnosed when a person has a manic episode. People with bipolar I disorder experience dramatic mood swings alternating between manic and depressive phases.
- Bipolar II – involves a person having at least one major depressive episode and manic episode. Patients with bipolar II often have other co-occurring illnesses such as substance use disorder.
- Cyclothymic disorder – a milder form of bipolar disorder involving many mood swings of mania and depressive symptoms that occur frequently and often constantly. To be diagnosed a patient must have experienced symptoms for at least two years, and during that two-year period, the mood swings must have lasted for at least half of that time and not stopped for more than two months.
It is important to discuss all of your or your loved one's symptoms with a healthcare provider so that a proper diagnosis and care can be received.
What Are the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?
There are two categories of symptoms with bipolar disorder: manic and depressive. One individual can display symptoms that are completely different from another individual. In a manic phase, an individual experiences hyperactivity. This includes fidgeting, not being able to sit down, high energy, not having an appetite, not becoming sleepy, and not focusing on self-care needs. Depressive episodes can include feelings of sadness, not getting out of bed, and not meeting self-care needs. An individual is also at risk for suicidal ideations (thoughts of suicide) or suicide risk.
What To Do if You Expect a Bipolar Disorder
It is extremely important to always involve a medical professional whenever you feel that you or a loved one are beginning to battle any of these symptoms so that proper care can be received. It’s never easy to watch a loved one suffer from a mental illness or to be the individual battling a mental illness. Please involve a trusted healthcare professional in what is going on. You are not