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What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is defined by extreme changes in mood that can disrupt a person’s functioning and home life. Thankfully, treatment is available and often effective.

What is Bipolar Disorder? Explaining the Symptoms

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Estimated watch time: 5 mins 

Video Materials:

Bipolar Disorder

In this lesson, we will discuss Bipolar Disorder.

Do you feel very happy and outgoing or very irritable on some days, but unusually sad or anxious on other days? Do the up periods go along with increased energy or activity? Do the down periods go along with low energy, hopelessness or an inability to enjoy what you usually like to do and sometimes suicidal thoughts? Do these mood swings make it hard to sleep, to stay focused or to get things done? Some people with these symptoms have a lifelong but treatable mental health issue called bipolar disorder.

According to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar disorder is a chronic or episodic mental disorder. It can cause unusual, often extreme and fluctuating changes in mood, energy, activity, and concentration or focus. Bipolar disorder is sometimes called manic depressive disorder or manic depression, which are older terms used to describe this issue.

Everyone goes through normal ups and downs. Bipolar disorder is different. The range of mood changes can be extreme. In manic episodes, someone might feel very happy, irritable or up, and there is a marked increase in activity level. In depressive episodes, someone might feel sad, indifferent or hopeless in combination with a very low activity level. Some people have hypomanic episodes which are like manic episodes, but less severe and troublesome.

Most of the time, bipolar disorder develops or starts during late teenage years or early adulthood. Occasionally, bipolar symptoms can appear in children, although the symptoms come and go. Bipolar disorder usually requires lifetime treatment and does not go away on its own. Bipolar disorder can be an important factor in suicide, job loss and family discord. But proper treatment leads to better outcomes.

The symptoms of bipolar disorder can vary. An individual with bipolar disorder may have manic episodes, depressive episodes, or mixed episodes. A mixed episode has both manic and depressive symptoms combined. These mood episodes cause symptoms that last a week or two or sometimes longer. During an episode, the symptoms last every day for most of the day. Mood episodes are intense and the related feelings happen along with changes in behavior, energy levels, or activity levels that are noticeable to others.

Symptoms of a manic episode are feeling very up, high, elated, or extremely irritable or touchy, feeling jumpy or wired, more active than usual. Experiencing racing thoughts, a decreased need for sleep, talking fast about a lot of different things, an excessive appetite for food, sex or other pleasurable activities. Thinking you can do a lot of things at once without getting tired or feeling like you are unusually important, talented or powerful.

Symptoms of a depressive episode are feeling very down or sad, anxious, feeling slowed down or restless. Trouble concentrating or making decisions. Trouble falling asleep, waking up too early or sleeping too much. Talking very slowly. Feeling like you have nothing to say or forgetting a lot. A lack of interest in almost all activities. Feeling unable to do even the simplest tasks. Or feeling hopeless or worthless. Or thinking about death or suicide.

Many people with bipolar disorder also may have co-occurring disorders. For example, people with bipolar disorder are more prone to misusing drugs or alcohol. Anxiety disorders and ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, often are diagnosed in people with bipolar disorder.

Also, people with bipolar disorder occasionally may have an eating disorder, such as binge eating or bulimia.

Some bipolar disorder symptoms are like those of other illnesses which can lead to a misdiagnosis. For example, some people with bipolar disorder who also have psychotic symptoms can be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia. Some physical health conditions, such as thyroid disease, can mimic the moods and other symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Also, street drugs sometimes can mimic, provoke, or worsen mood symptoms.

Treatment helps many people, even those with the most severe forms of bipolar disorder. Doctors treat bipolar disorder with medications, psychotherapy or a combination of treatments. Ongoing treatment can help control symptoms and enable you to live a healthy life.

Thank you for choosing The Recovery Village. If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health or substance abuse and would like to find out more about the programs we offer, please reach out to us directly at 855-387-3291.

Summary:

Bipolar disorder is a diagnosable condition that goes well beyond normal ups and downs. It’s defined by extreme shifts in mood that interfere with functionality. Co-occurring disorders are common with bipolar, as are misdiagnoses.

This video guides you through what bipolar disorder is and explores how treatment can help even when severe symptoms are present.

Video Materials:

Bipolar Disorder

In this lesson, we will discuss Bipolar Disorder.

Do you feel very happy and outgoing or very irritable on some days, but unusually sad or anxious on other days? Do the up periods go along with increased energy or activity? Do the down periods go along with low energy, hopelessness or an inability to enjoy what you usually like to do and sometimes suicidal thoughts? Do these mood swings make it hard to sleep, to stay focused or to get things done? Some people with these symptoms have a lifelong but treatable mental health issue called bipolar disorder.

According to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar disorder is a chronic or episodic mental disorder. It can cause unusual, often extreme and fluctuating changes in mood, energy, activity, and concentration or focus. Bipolar disorder is sometimes called manic depressive disorder or manic depression, which are older terms used to describe this issue.

Everyone goes through normal ups and downs. Bipolar disorder is different. The range of mood changes can be extreme. In manic episodes, someone might feel very happy, irritable or up, and there is a marked increase in activity level. In depressive episodes, someone might feel sad, indifferent or hopeless in combination with a very low activity level. Some people have hypomanic episodes which are like manic episodes, but less severe and troublesome.

Most of the time, bipolar disorder develops or starts during late teenage years or early adulthood. Occasionally, bipolar symptoms can appear in children, although the symptoms come and go. Bipolar disorder usually requires lifetime treatment and does not go away on its own. Bipolar disorder can be an important factor in suicide, job loss and family discord. But proper treatment leads to better outcomes.

The symptoms of bipolar disorder can vary. An individual with bipolar disorder may have manic episodes, depressive episodes, or mixed episodes. A mixed episode has both manic and depressive symptoms combined. These mood episodes cause symptoms that last a week or two or sometimes longer. During an episode, the symptoms last every day for most of the day. Mood episodes are intense and the related feelings happen along with changes in behavior, energy levels, or activity levels that are noticeable to others.

Symptoms of a manic episode are feeling very up, high, elated, or extremely irritable or touchy, feeling jumpy or wired, more active than usual. Experiencing racing thoughts, a decreased need for sleep, talking fast about a lot of different things, an excessive appetite for food, sex or other pleasurable activities. Thinking you can do a lot of things at once without getting tired or feeling like you are unusually important, talented or powerful.

Symptoms of a depressive episode are feeling very down or sad, anxious, feeling slowed down or restless. Trouble concentrating or making decisions. Trouble falling asleep, waking up too early or sleeping too much. Talking very slowly. Feeling like you have nothing to say or forgetting a lot. A lack of interest in almost all activities. Feeling unable to do even the simplest tasks. Or feeling hopeless or worthless. Or thinking about death or suicide.

Many people with bipolar disorder also may have co-occurring disorders. For example, people with bipolar disorder are more prone to misusing drugs or alcohol. Anxiety disorders and ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, often are diagnosed in people with bipolar disorder.

Also, people with bipolar disorder occasionally may have an eating disorder, such as binge eating or bulimia.

Some bipolar disorder symptoms are like those of other illnesses which can lead to a misdiagnosis. For example, some people with bipolar disorder who also have psychotic symptoms can be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia. Some physical health conditions, such as thyroid disease, can mimic the moods and other symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Also, street drugs sometimes can mimic, provoke, or worsen mood symptoms.

Treatment helps many people, even those with the most severe forms of bipolar disorder. Doctors treat bipolar disorder with medications, psychotherapy or a combination of treatments. Ongoing treatment can help control symptoms and enable you to live a healthy life.

Thank you for choosing The Recovery Village. If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health or substance abuse and would like to find out more about the programs we offer, please reach out to us directly at 855-387-3291.

Other Addiction & Mental Health Resources

The Recovery Village has several, free resources for those living with addiction or mental health conditions and their loved ones. From videos, to clinically-hosted webinars and recovery meetings, to helpful, medically-reviewed articles, there is something for everyone. If you need more direct help, please reach out to one of our representatives.

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