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Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that causes unusual and sometimes severe shifts in mood and energy levels. According to data from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (2001-2003), 2.8% of US adults had bipolar disorder. Although this is a lifetime disorder, symptoms can be managed and you can live a life of fulfillment and joy if you get appropriate treatment.
WHAT IS BIPOLAR DISORDER?
Bipolar disorder is characterized by a mood swings that shift between manic and depressive episodes. People with this disorder experience dramatic shifts in their mood, energy levels, behaviors, and activities.
The different episodes can last anywhere from a few days to multiple weeks at a time. The severity of the episodes vary, some may exhibit significant symptoms while others generally feel fine although those around them notice a change in their behavior.
There are three types of bipolar disorders:
- Bipolar I Disorder
- Bipolar II Disorder
- Cyclothymic Disorder
It is important to get a proper diagnosis for bipolar disorder sooner rather than later. If treated early, severe episodes of mania or depression may be avoided.
SYMPTOMS OF BIPOLAR DISORDER
Bipolar disorder involves periods of manic episodes and depressive episodes, so symptoms of bipolar disorder can look significantly different from each other depending on the type of episode that is occurring.
Symptoms of manic episodes may include:
Symptoms of depressive episodes may include:
TREATMENT FOR BIPOLAR DISORDER
Treatment for bipolar disorders often involves a combination of psychotherapy with medication. There are various medications available on the market today, so if the first medication you try isn’t helpful you can rest assured knowing you have other options. At The Ohana, our on staff medical team can help you find the medication that best suits your needs while you try out various forms of psychotherapy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a specific form of psychotherapy that has been shown to help individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder. By helping break thought patterns that can lead to an episode, CBT can reduce the number of episodes one has and the symptoms associated with the episodes if one is to occur.
Additionally, meditation and mindfulness practices can also help individuals become more aware when thought patterns are indicating the onset of an episode. By increasing awareness, mindfulness can helping prevent the episode or reduce symptoms associated with it.
Although the diagnosis of bipolar disorder indicates a lifelong illness, if treated appropriately, one can still live a normal life by managing symptoms and reducing the onset of mood swings.