How Can I Tell If I Have Bipolar Disorder – Misrepresentations in the media about bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions can lead to fear and stigma, making it difficult for people to understand what it’s like to live with bipolar disorder.
This misinformation can also affect the quality of care that people with bipolar disorder receive. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 2021 Mood Disorders Survey, more than 5 in 6 adults believe that bullying is a major barrier to treatment for mood disorders such as depression.
How Can I Tell If I Have Bipolar Disorder
Severe episodes of mania and depression are characteristic of bipolar disorder. This condition can affect a person’s energy and activity levels, as well as their ability to concentrate.
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The mood swings that occur in bipolar disorder are not normal mood swings that everyone experiences from time to time. They make it very difficult for a person to function and perform daily tasks, such as work, housework, and caring for themselves or others.
People with bipolar disorder are usually diagnosed in adolescence or early adulthood. However, symptoms can occur in children.
Physical activity can complement medications and therapies to help manage some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder, improve sleep, and improve heart and brain health. People with bipolar disorder may benefit from:
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness, but it can be treated. A mental health professional may recommend medication, talk therapy, or a combination of the two.
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Bipolar disorder is a complex illness that affects many aspects of a person’s mental, emotional, and physical health.
Mood swings are a symptom of bipolar disorder. Although they can be significant, they often differ from media portrayals.
A better understanding of bipolar disorder can help improve awareness and reduce stigma. Being able to talk openly and honestly about the symptoms of bipolar disorder is important to improving access to treatment.
With proper medical care, many people with bipolar disorder can reduce the effects of their illness and gain control over their mental health.
Nimh » Bipolar Disorder In Children And Teens
Medical News Today includes rigorous source recommendations and information from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutes, and medical journals and associations. We do not use third party links. We cite key sources of information in each article, including studies, scholarly references, and statistics, and list them in the Resources section at the bottom of our articles. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and relevant by reading our editorial policy. Bipolar disorder (formerly called manic-depressive or manic depression) is a mental illness that causes abnormal changes in mood, energy, activity level, and concentration. , and the ability to perform daily tasks.
There are three types of bipolar disorder. All three types involve significant changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. These moods range from periods of “elevation,” excitement, excitement, or feeling energetic (called a manic episode) to periods of “shock,” sadness, apathy, or hopelessness (called a depressive episode). More severe manic periods are called hypomanic episodes.
Sometimes people may have symptoms of bipolar disorder that do not fit into the three categories listed above, and this is called “other specified and unspecified bipolar disorder and related disorders.”
Bipolar disorder is usually diagnosed during adolescence (teenage) or adolescence. Sometimes children may develop bipolar symptoms. Although symptoms may change over time, bipolar disorder usually requires lifelong treatment. Following a prescribed treatment plan can help people manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
How Do I Know If I Have Bipolar Disorder?
People with bipolar disorder experience periods of unusually intense emotions, changes in sleep patterns and activity levels, and periods of unusual behavior—often without realizing the potentially harmful or negative effects. These different moments are called “emotional moments”. An emotional episode is very different from the mood and behavior that is normal for a person. During an episode, symptoms persist for most of the day each day. Episodes can last for days or weeks.
Sometimes people experience both manic and depressive symptoms at the same time, and this is called a mixed episode. People experiencing mixed episodes may feel sad, empty, or hopeless, but also feel very strong.
A person may have bipolar disorder, even with fewer symptoms. For example, some people with bipolar II disorder experience hypomania, a less severe form of mania. During a hypomanic episode, a person may feel very well, capable, and connected to everyday life. A person may not feel that anything is wrong, but family and friends may recognize changes in mood or activity level that are possible signs of bipolar disorder. Without proper treatment, people with hypomania develop severe mania or depression.
Proper diagnosis and treatment can help people with bipolar disorder live healthy and active lives. Talking to your doctor or other licensed health care provider is the first step. A health care provider may perform a physical examination and order any necessary medical tests to rule out other conditions. The health care provider may then conduct a mental health evaluation or make a referral to a trained mental health provider, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker, who has experience diagnosing and treating bipolar disorder.
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Mental health providers often make a diagnosis of bipolar disorder based on an individual’s symptoms, life history, experiences, and in some cases, family history. Correct diagnosis is especially important in young people. You can find tips for talking to your health care provider in the Tips for talking to your health care provider section of your mental health information sheet.
Many people with bipolar disorder have other mental disorders or conditions, such as anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), drug or alcohol abuse, or eating disorders. Sometimes people with severe manic or depressive symptoms also have psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions. Psychiatric symptoms correspond to a person’s mood. For example, during a depressive episode, a person with psychosis may be deluded that they are in financial distress, while during a manic episode, a person with psychosis may delude themselves that they are famous or have special powers.
Looking at symptoms and a person’s family history can help determine whether a person has bipolar disorder, along with other disorders.
Researchers are investigating possible causes of bipolar disorder. Most agree that there is no single cause, and many factors can contribute to making people more likely to develop the disease.
Nimh » Bipolar Disorder
Brain structure and function: Some research suggests that the brains of people with bipolar disorder may differ from the brains of people without bipolar or other mental disorders. Learning more about these differences can help scientists better understand bipolar disorder and determine which treatments work best. Meanwhile, health care providers base their diagnosis and treatment plan on a person’s symptoms and history, not on brain imaging or other diagnostic tests.
Genetics: Some studies show that people with certain genes are more likely to develop bipolar disorder. Research also shows that people who have a parent or sibling with bipolar disorder are more likely to develop the disorder. Many genes are involved and none of them cause the disorder. Learning more about the role of genetics in bipolar disorder may help researchers develop new treatments.
Treatment can help many people, including those with the most severe form of bipolar disorder. An effective treatment plan often involves a combination of medication and psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy.
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness. Episodes of mania and depression usually return over time. Most people with bipolar disorder do not experience mood swings between episodes, but some may have chronic symptoms. Long-term, continuous treatment can help people manage these symptoms.
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Some medications can help manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Some people may need to try several medications and work with their healthcare provider before finding the one that works best for them.
The most common types of medications doctors prescribe are mood stabilizers and atypical antipsychotics. Mood stabilizers such as lithium or valproate can help prevent or reduce the severity of mood episodes. Lithium also reduces the risk of suicide. Medications that target sleep or anxiety are sometimes added to mood stabilizers as part of a treatment plan.
Although bipolar depression is often treated with antidepressants, mood stability should be maintained because antidepressants can trigger a manic episode or rapid cycle in a person with bipolar disorder. Because people with bipolar disorder are more likely to seek help for depression than when experiencing mania or hypomania, a careful medical history is necessary to ensure that bipolar disorder is not mistaken for depression.
Avoid stopping medications without talking to your healthcare provider first. Stopping the drug suddenly can cause a “relapse” or worsening of bipolar disorder symptoms. For basic information about medications, visit the Mental Health Medications webpage. Read the latest drug warnings, patient recommendations, and information about newly approved drugs on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website.
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Psychotherapy as well
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