What is Bipolar Disorder?

bipolar disorder

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that many people have heard of but are still relatively unfamiliar with. Although the general public often characterizes it as a mood swing disorder, much more to the illness than mood changes. In truth, bipolar disorder can affect mood, activity level, concentration, energy, and even the capacity to perform everyday duties.  


Types of Bipolar Disorder

There are three different kinds of bipolar disorder: type I, type II, and Cyclothymia. Mental health professionals categorize Bipolar I Disorder as manic episodes lasting a week or more. Sometimes symptoms can require hospitalization, especially when depressive symptoms are also present. 

Bipolar II Disorder is less severe than type I, as the symptoms are episodes of depression and extreme highs. This type of bipolar disorder does not typically require hospitalization, and doctors help manage it with medication and other treatment plans. 

Cyclothymia is essentially a long-term version of bipolar II disorder. The symptoms can last as long as two years. It is important to note that the signs do not qualify as depressive or hypomanic episodes. 


Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

The symptoms of bipolar disorder can be more than just mood swings. Extreme highs can come with these symptoms:

  • irritability
  • little need for sleep
  • no appetite
  • fast-talking
  • reckless behavior
  • feeling excessively important
  • a sense of superior multitasking 

On the other hand, depressive episodes are often accompanied by near opposite experiences, including these:

  • sadness
  • restlessness 
  • sleeping too much or trouble sleeping
  • increased appetite
  • speaking slowly
  • difficulty thinking clearly
  • inability to perform daily tasks
  • little interest in or unable to feel pleasure
  • feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness


How is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed?

With symptoms all over the board, how can bipolar disorder get diagnosed? First and foremost, if you think that you may have bipolar disorder, it is essential to discuss your concerns with your doctor. Given the similar symptoms for numerous other health issues, your doctor will likely require some tests and physical examinations. 

When the testing and exams point toward a mental disorder, your general physician may choose to refer your case to a mental health professional. A psychologist or psychiatrist can examine your information, including symptoms, personal history, family history, and more, to make a diagnosis. 


Other Similar Mental Health Illnesses

Sometimes other mental health illnesses come with bipolar disorder. While it is crucial to treat bipolar disorder, it is also critical that other diseases receive treatment. For instance, anxiety is a common mental health issue that comes with the condition. People with bipolar disorder can also develop drug and alcohol addictions and eating disorders.

Psychosis is another mental health illness that may come with bipolar disorder. This illness causes psychotic symptoms and delusions relating to the particular mood the person is in. It can be hazardous and requires medical attention. If you feel that you are experiencing such symptoms, contact your mental health professional or general physician as soon as possible. 


Getting Help

Help comes in many forms. Getting help for bipolar disorder can be in the form of medication, therapy, and other assistance. Our professionals at Unitas Healthcare Systems will help you get the help you need. Reach out today to take the first step by calling (617) 401-7441 or by sending us an email at info@uhsma.com.

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