One moment you feel like you’re on the top of the world, full of life, and like nothing can bring you down. Another moment, and you feel sluggish, hopeless, and even angry.
Everyone has their ups and downs. But when someone consistently feels extreme mood swings without a clear cause, they may be dealing with bipolar disorder.
But bipolar is a word that gets bandied about a lot, leading to misconceptions about what it actually is. If you or someone you know is experiencing unexplainable emotional extremes, check out these signs and symptoms to see if it’s time to seek a professional evaluation.
Recognizing Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is so named because those who suffer from it swing between emotional extremes. It was formerly called “manic depression” for the same reason. Individuals alternate between periods of extreme highs and extreme lows.
It’s a not uncommon disorder — about five million American adults are affected by it. Individuals with bipolar disorder experience manic periods that last between a few days to a few weeks. These are accompanied by depressive periods lasting around two weeks.
In a manic period, individuals often feel euphoric and are full of energy. While that may not sound bad, these periods also tend to encourage risky or behavior. Drug use, having unprotected sex, or financial recklessness are all common behaviors.
Depressive periods may entail feelings of deep sadness and hopelessness, listlessness, loss of interest in activities, and even suicidal thoughts.
These varied symptoms can make bipolar disorder difficult to spot, even though it’s not a rare condition. Hence if you spot these symptoms, it’s important to seek out a professional appraisal.
Bipolar Disorder Treatment
Despite being a common disorder, the causes of bipolar are still not well understood. Genetics is a possible culprit, with bipolar often showing up in several members of a family.
Abnormalities in a person’s brain structure are another suspected cause. And due to the way they can alter brain function, factors like extreme stress or emotional trauma may also trigger it.
As with many disorders, treatments vary from one patient to another.
Common medications include mood stabilizers like lithium and antipsychotics like Latuda. Many of these medications are available. Patients can often even look online to find lower prices.
Other courses of treatment may include various forms of therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one example. It’s a technique where a therapist helps a patient understand their thought patterns and guides them on ways to manage them.
With Help, Bipolar Disorder is Manageable
Like any mental illness, bipolar disorder can have a substantial impact on a person’s quality of life.
But the good news is that the condition is manageable, and many bipolar patients are able to live normal, satisfying lives. That’s why if you suspect that you or someone you know may be suffering from bipolar disorder, it’s important to seek professional help early. The sooner treatment begins the sooner the condition can improve.
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