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Bipolar Disorder Definition

From high to low. From mania to depression. From recklessness to listlessness. These are the extremes associated with bipolar disorder, a mental illness characterized by mood instability that can be serious and disabling. Bipolar disorder is also known as manic-depression or manic-depressive illness manic behavior is one extreme o this disorder, and depression is the other. The deep mood swings o bipolar disorder may last or weeks or months, causing great disturbances in the lives o those a ected, and those o amily and riends, too. Today, a growing volume o research suggests that bipolar disorder occurs across a spectrum o symptoms, and that many people aren!t correctly diagnosed. "e t untreated, bipolar disorder generally worsens, and the suicide rate is high among those with bipolar disorder. But with e ective treatment, you can live an en#oyable and productive li e despite bipolar disorder. Symptoms

Bipolar disorder symptoms are characterized by an alternating pattern o emotional highs $mania% and lows $depression%. The intensity o signs and symptoms can vary rom mild to severe. There may even be periods when your li e doesn!t seem a ected at all.

Bipolar disorder symptoms re lect a range o moods.

Manic phase of bipolar disorder

&igns and symptoms o the manic phase o bipolar disorder may include'

(uphoria (xtreme optimism )n lated sel -esteem *oor #udgment +apid speech +acing thoughts ,ggressive behavior ,gitation )ncreased physical activity +isky behavior &pending sprees )ncreased drive to per orm or achieve goals )ncreased sexual drive -ecreased need or sleep Tendency to be easily distracted )nability to concentrate -rug abuse

Depressive phase of bipolar disorder &igns and symptoms o the depressive phase o bipolar disorder may include'

&adness .opelessness &uicidal thoughts or behavior ,nxiety /uilt &leep problems ,ppetite problems Fatigue "oss o interest in daily activities *roblems concentrating )rritability 0hronic pain without a known cause

Types of bipolar disorder Bipolar disorder is divided into two main subtypes' Bipolar I disorder. 1ou!ve had at least one manic episode, with or without previous episodes o depression. Bipolar II disorder. 1ou!ve had at least one episode o depression and at least one hypomanic episode. , hypomanic episode is similar to a manic episode but much brie er, lasting only a ew days, and not as severe. 2ith

hypomania, you may have an elevated mood, irritability and some changes in your unctioning, but generally you can carry on with your normal daily routine and unctioning, and you don!t re3uire hospitalization. )n bipolar )) disorder, the periods o depression are typically much longer than the periods o hypomania. Cyclothymia. 0yclothymia is a mild orm o bipolar disorder. 0yclothymia includes mood swings but the highs and lows are not as severe as those o ull-blown bipolar disorder. Other bipolar disorder symptoms )n addition, some people with bipolar disorder have rapid cycling bipolar disorder. This is the occurrence o our or more mood swings within 45 months. These moods shi ts can occur rapidly, sometimes within #ust hours. )n mixed state bipolar disorder, symptoms o both mania and depression occur at the same time. &evere episodes o either mania or depression may result in psychosis, or a detachment rom reality. &ymptoms o psychosis may include hearing or seeing things that aren!t there $hallucinations% and alse but strongly held belie s $delusions%. Ca ses

)t!s not known what causes bipolar disorder. But a variety o biochemical, genetic and environmental actors seem to be involved in causing and triggering bipolar episodes' Biochemical. &ome evidence rom high-tech imaging studies indicates that people with bipolar disorder have physical changes in their brains. The signi icance o these changes is still uncertain but may eventually help pinpoint causes. The naturally occurring brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, which are tied to mood, also may play a role. .ormonal imbalances also are thought to be a culprit. !enes. &ome studies show that bipolar disorder is more common in people whose biological amily members also have the condition. +esearchers are trying to ind genes that may be involved in causing bipolar disorder. &ome studies also show links between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, pointing to a shared genetic cause. "nvironment. (nvironment also is thought to play a causal role in some way. &ome studies o identical twins show that one twin has the condition while the other doesn!t which means genes alone aren!t responsible or bipolar disorder. (nvironmental causes may include problems with sel -esteem, signi icant loss or high stress. #is$ %actors

)t!s estimated that about 4 percent o the population has bipolar disorder. .owever, some researchers suggest that bipolar disorder occurs on a continuum, and that many more people may have other orms o the disorder, pushing its prevalence as high as 6 percent o the population. )n addition, some people may go undiagnosed because they don!t seek treatment, because their condition is mistaken or depression or because their symptoms don!t meet current diagnostic criteria. Bipolar ) disorder a ects about the same number o men and women, but bipolar )), the rapid cycling orm, is more common in women. )n either case, bipolar disorder usually starts between ages 47 and 89. Factors that may increase the risk o developing bipolar disorder include'

.aving other biological amily members with bipolar disorder *eriods o high stress -rug abuse :a#or li e changes, such as the death o a loved one &hen to see$ medical advice

) you have any symptoms o bipolar disorder, seek medical help as soon as possible. Bipolar disorder doesn!t get better on its own. 1et many people with the disorder don!t get treatment or are reluctant to get treatment. -espite the mood extremes, people with bipolar disorder o ten don!t recognize how greatly it a ects their lives and the lives o their loved ones. ,nd i you!re like some people with bipolar disorder, you may en#oy the eelings o euphoria and cycles o being more productive but they!re bound to be ollowed by emotional crashes that can leave you depressed, worn out, and perhaps in inancial or legal trouble. /etting treatment rom a mental health provider with experience in bipolar disorder can help you learn ways to manage your symptoms. ) you!re reluctant to seek treatment, try to work up the courage to con ide in someone, whether it!s a riend or loved one, a health care pro essional, a aith leader or someone else you trust. They can help you take the irst steps to success ul treatment. &hen yo have s icidal tho ghts

&uicidal thoughts and behavior are common among people with bipolar disorder. Tragically, the suicide rate is higher in bipolar disorder than most other mental illnesses. ) you!re considering suicide right now and have the means available, talk to someone now. The best choice is to call ;44 or your local emergency services number. ) you simply don!t want to do that, or whatever reason, you have other choices or reaching out to someone'

0ontact a amily member or riend

0ontact a doctor, mental health provider or other health care pro essional 0ontact a minister, spiritual leader or someone in your aith community /o to your local hospital emergency room 0all a crisis center or hot line

'elping a loved one (ith bipolar disorder symptoms ) you have a loved one you think may have symptoms o bipolar disorder, have an open and honest discussion about your concerns. 1ou may not be able to orce someone to seek pro essional help, but you can o er encouragement and support and help your loved one ind a 3uali ied doctor or mental health provider. ) you have a loved one who has harmed himsel or hersel , or is seriously considering doing so, take them to the hospital or call or emergency help. Test and Diagnosis

2hen doctors suspect someone has bipolar disorder, they typically run a battery o medical and psychological tests and exams. These can help rule out other problems, pinpoint a diagnosis and also check or any related complications. These exams and tests generally include' )hysical exam. This may include measuring height and weight< checking vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure and temperature< listening to the heart and lungs< and examining the abdomen. *aboratory tests. These may include a complete blood count $0B0% as well as thyroid tests and other blood tests. 1ou may also have a urinalysis. )sychological eval ation. , doctor or mental health provider will talk to you about your thoughts, eelings and behavior patterns. 1ou may also ill out psychological sel -assessments and 3uestionnaires. 1ou may be asked about substance or alcohol abuse. ,nd with your permission, amily members or close riends may be asked to provide in ormation about your symptoms and possible episodes o mania or depression.

Diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder To be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you must meet the criteria spelled out in the -iagnostic and &tatistical :anual o :ental -isorders $-&:%. This manual is published by the ,merican *sychiatric ,ssociation and is used by mental health providers to diagnose mental conditions and by insurance companies to reimburse or treatment. -iagnostic criteria or bipolar disorder are based on the speci ic type o bipolar disorder as well as the history and types o episodes, such as manic, hypomanic or

depressed. Talk to your doctor about which type o bipolar disorder you have so that you can learn more about your speci ic situation and its treatments. &ome researchers believe the current diagnostic criteria are too strict, though. )ndeed, a growing volume o evidence indicates that bipolar disorder can be thought o more as a spectrum o disorders, with varying degrees o symptoms. &ome researchers believe that many people go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed and thus don!t get appropriate treatment because the criteria don!t account or less severe but still serious symptoms. Complication

"e t untreated, bipolar disorder can result in severe emotional and even legal and inancial problems that a ect every area o your li e. 0omplications that bipolar disorder may cause or be associated with include'

&uicide &ubstance and alcohol abuse "egal problems Financial problems +elationship troubles )solation *oor work or school per ormance Treatment and Dr gs

Bipolar disorder is a long-term condition that re3uires li elong treatment, even during periods when you eel better. Bipolar disorder treatment is usually guided by a psychiatrist skilled in treating the condition. But you may have others on your treatment team as well, including psychologists, social workers and psychiatric nurses, because the condition can a ect so many areas o your li e. ( ective and appropriate treatment is vital or reducing the re3uency and severity o manic and depressive episodes and allowing you to live a more balanced and en#oyable li e. :aintenance treatment continued treatment during periods o remission also is important. *eople who skip maintenance treatment are at high risk o a relapse o their symptoms or having minor episodes turn into ull-blown mania or depression. ) you have problems with alcohol or substance abuse, you must get treatment or those, too, since they can worsen bipolar symptoms. .ere are the core treatments or bipolar disorder' Medications :edications are a vital part o bipolar treatment. Because medications or bipolar disorder can cause serious but rare side e ects, you may be reluctant to take

medications. But you can work with your psychiatrist and other health care pro essionals to ind a medication regimen that works or you. :edication options include' Mood stabili+ers. :ood stabilizers are most the commonly prescribed medications or bipolar disorder. These medications help regulate and stabilize mood so that you don!t swing between depression and mania. "ithium $(skalith, "ithobid% has been widely used as a mood stabilizer and is generally the irst line o treatment or manic episodes. 1our doctor may recommend that you take mood stabilizers or the rest o your li e to prevent and treat manic episodes. ,nti-sei+ re medications. The medications are used to prevent mood swings, especially in people with rapid cycling bipolar disorder. These medications, such as valproic acid $-epakene%, divalproex $-epakote% and lamotrigine $"amictal%, also are widely used as mood regulators. These medications are also known as anticonvulsants. ,ntidepressants. =se o antidepressants in bipolar disorder, although once common, is now controversial. ,ntidepressants may not be advised at all, depending on your situation. There!s limited data indicating that antidepressants are e ective or bipolar disorder, and in some cases they can trigger manic episodes. Be ore taking antidepressants, care ully weigh the pros and cons with your doctor. Other medications. 0ertain atypical antipsychotic medications, such as olanzapine $>yprexa% and risperidone $+isperdal%, may help people who don!t gain bene its rom anti-seizure medications. ,nd anti-anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines, may help improve sleep. )n addition, one medication, 3uetiapine $&ero3uel%, has been approved by the Food and -rug ,dministration to treat both the manic and depressive episodes o bipolar disorder.

?umerous medications are available to treat bipolar disorder. ) one doesn!t work well or you, there are many others to explore. 1our doctor may advise combining certain medications or maximum e ect. )t can take several weeks a ter irst starting a medication to notice an improvement in your symptoms. Be aware that all medications have side e ects and possible health risks. 0ertain antipsychotic medications, or instance, may increase the risk o diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. ) you take these medications, talk to your doctor about being monitored or health problems. ,lso, mood-stabilizing medications may harm a developing etus or nursing in ant. &o women with bipolar disorder who want to become pregnant or do become pregnant must ully explore with their health care providers their options and the bene its and risks o medications. )sychotherapy *sychotherapy is another vital part o bipolar disorder treatment. &everal types o therapy may be help ul.

Cognitive behavioral therapy. This is a common orm o individual therapy or bipolar disorder. The ocus o cognitive behavioral therapy is identi ying unhealthy, negative belie s and behaviors and replacing them with healthy, positive ones. )n addition, you can learn about bipolar disorder and its treatment and what may trigger your bipolar episodes. 1ou also learn e ective strategies to manage stress and to cope with upsetting situations. %amily therapy. Family therapy involves you and your amily members. Family therapy can help identi y and reduce stressors within your amily. )t can help your amily improve its communication style and problemsolving skills and resolve con licts. !ro p therapy. /roup therapy provides a orum to communicate with and learn rom others in a similar situation. )t may also help build better relationship skills.

"lectroconv lsive therapy."CT/ (lectroconvulsive therapy is geared mainly or people who have episodes o severe depression with suicidal tendencies or or people who haven!t seen improvements in their symptoms despite other treatment. (lectroconvulsive therapy is a procedure in which electrical currents are passed through your brain to trigger a seizure. +esearchers don!t ully understand #ust how (0T works. But it!s thought that the seizure causes changes in brain chemistry that may lead to improvements in your mood. 'ospitali+ation )n some cases, people with bipolar disorder may bene it rom inpatient hospitalization. .ospitalization or psychiatric treatment can help stabilize your mood, whether you!re in a ull-blown manic episode or a deep depression. *artial hospitalization or day treatment programs also are options to consider. )revention There!s no sure way to prevent bipolar disorder. .owever, treatment at the earliest sign o a mental health disorder can help prevent bipolar disorder rom worsening. "ong-term preventive treatment also can help prevent minor episodes rom becoming ull-blown episodes o mania or depression. *ife Style and 'ome #emedies Bipolar disorder isn!t an illness that you can treat on your own. But you can do some things or yoursel that will build on your treatment plan' Ta$e yo r medications as directed. (ven i you!re eeling well, resist any temptation to skip your medications. ) you stop, bipolar signs and symptoms are likely to come back. )ay attention to (arning signs. 1ou and your caregivers may have identi ied a pattern to your bipolar episodes and what triggers them. 0all your doctor i you eel you!re acing an episode. )nvolve amily members or riends in

watching or warning signs. ,ddressing symptoms early on can prevent episodes rom becoming ull blown. ,void dr gs and alcohol. )llicit drugs and alcohol may be part o what triggers episodes o bipolar disorder. Chec$ first before ta$ing other medications. 0all the doctor who!s treating you or bipolar disorder be ore you take medications prescribed by another doctor. &ometimes other medications trigger episodes o bipolar disorder or may inter ere with medications you!re taking to treat bipolar disorder. Coping and S pport 0oping with bipolar disorder can be di icult. :edications can have unwanted side e ects, and you may eel angry or resent ul about having a serious condition that re3uires li elong treatment. -uring periods when you eel better, you may be tempted to stop treatment. .ere are some ways to cope with bipolar disorder' *earn abo t bipolar disorder. (ducation about your condition can empower you and motivate you to stick to your treatment plan. 0oin a s pport gro p. &upport groups or people with bipolar disorder can help you reach out to others acing similar challenges. Stay foc sed on yo r goals. +ecovery rom bipolar disorder can take time. &tay motivated by keeping your recovery goals in mind and reminding yoursel that you can work to repair damaged relationships and inancial and legal problems. %ind healthy o tlets. (xplore healthy ways to channel your energy, such as hobbies, exercise and recreational activities. *earn relaxation and stress management. Try such stress reduction techni3ues as meditation, yoga or tai chi. ,lternative Medicine &ome people with bipolar disorder turn to complementary and alternative medicine treatments to help manage symptoms, improve mood and reduce stress. These treatments may include prayer or spiritual healing, meditation, and vitamin and herbal supplements. ,lthough some complementary treatments can be a good addition to your regular treatment, take some precautions irst' -on!t stop taking your prescribed bipolar medications or skip therapy sessions. 0omplementary medicine is not a substitute or regular medical care. Be honest with your doctors and mental health providers. Tell them exactly which complementary treatments you practice or would like to explore. Be aware that some complementary treatments can inter ere with your regular treatment. (ven over-the-counter or so-called natural supplements can inter ere with your prescribed medications.