Bipolar Disorder (formerly called manic-depressive illness) as defined by the Mayo Clinic, is a mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). Bipolar Disorder (BD) causes the individual to feel unusual shifts in mood, energy, concentration, activity levels and the ability to maintain success in sustaining daily functioning. Learning the facts about bipolar disorder is crucial if you want to understand the illness and ultimately know how to help those suffering from it. It is important to recognize no two people with bipolar disorder have the same experience, but there are some commonalities and symptoms that can assist in both diagnosing bipolar disorder and treating it.
There are three different types of Bipolar Disorder. All three types have similar symptomology in the way they affect energy, mood, and activity levels.
The mood swings associated with Bipolar Disorder often range from periods of extreme elation, irritability, or having very high energy levels to then shifting dramatically to feelings of extreme hopelessness, apathy, and depression. The periods of elation are known as manic episodes while the periods of despondency are referred to as episodes of depression.
For people who have BD, occurrences of mood swings may be rare or occur multiple times a year. Most people diagnosed with BD do experience some emotional symptoms between serious episodes some do not. BD is a lifelong condition that can be diagnosed at any age. Individuals who develop bipolar disorder typically begin to show symptoms in their teenage years or early 20’s. Symptoms can change and vary overtime.
Mania and hypomania are periods where the person feels elated and full of energy. Hypomania refers to a less severe or intense version of these symptoms. Both episodes can include these symptoms:
Engaging in risky behaviors
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An episode includes these symptoms.
Although the symptoms of BD can be isolating and confusing, it is important to know that BD is a common mental illness, estimated to be affecting 5% of the world’s population. The World Health Organization lists the following statistics regarding BD.
The National Alliance on Mental Health states that over half of the people with bipolar disorder (56%) have a history of illicit drug abuse, while 44% have abused or are dependent on alcohol. When BD co-occurs with addiction, the symptoms can be exacerbated. Certain drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines are known to increase and sometimes induce a state of mania and psychosis. Other substances such as opiates, marijuana and alcohol serve as a depressant and increase negative side effects that way. Those that are dual diagnosis are at higher risk of alleviated complications and risk of overdose.
There are effective ways to treat, manage, and in some cases eliminate the symptoms of BD. Some of the treatments used include;
If you, a family member, or someone else you love are struggling with the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder and or a substance use disorder it may be time to seek treatment and addiction recovery. The chaotic and debilitating symptoms of BD do not have to be the norm anymore. You are not alone, and we are here to help.
If you or anyone you know is dealing with issues around mental health or addiction, contact us for a full evaluation and treatment options. We understand that it is not a process that any individual should tackle alone, and that is why we have a team of qualified personnel who are available to offer you the help you need.