6 FAQs about Bi-polar Disorder

Bi-polar Disorder

Do you feel like your moods are out of control? Do you experience highs and lows that seem extreme? You might be wondering if you have bi-polar disorder.

Bi-polar disorder is a mental ailment characterized by extreme mood changes, including manic episodes (highs) and depressive episodes (lows). 

Neurotransmitters are the chemicals in the human brain that control mood. When the brain cannot produce a normal level of neurotransmitters, it can result in bi-polar disorder. The chemicals most often affected are serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.

If you feel you might have bi-polar disorder, it can be helpful to learn more about the condition. Here are some FAQs about bi-polar disorder that can help you better understand the condition.

1. What are the symptoms of bi-polar disorder?

Extreme mood changes characterize bi-polar disorder. These changes can include extreme manic episodes followed by periods of depression. During a manic episode, you might experience increased energy, decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, and impulsive behavior. You may also hallucinate or have delusions during a manic episode. 

During a depressive episode, you might experience symptoms such as fatigue, low mood, difficulty concentrating, and changes in appetite. If you feel like your temper is out of control, or you are experiencing highs and lows that seem extreme, it may be worth talking to a doctor about whether you have bi-polar disorder.

2. How is bi-polar disorder treated?

Bi-polar disorder is a condition that lasts your entire life. By treating bi-polar disorder, you can help manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. There is no one-size-fits-all cure for bi-polar disorder, but there are a variety of options that can be effective.

Medication: Medication is usually used to stabilize mood swings. Commonly prescribed medications include mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants.

Therapy: Therapy can assist you in understanding your condition and developing coping skills. It can also provide support and guidance. Common therapy styles include cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and psychoeducation.

Hospitalization: In severe cases, people suffering from bi-polar disorder may need to be hospitalized. It is often necessary during manic or depressive episodes. Hospitalization can help keep you safe and ensure you receive the care you need.

Self-care: Self-care is an integral part of treatment for bi-polar disorder. It can help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Self-care measures include regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and avoiding alcohol and drugs.

3. What are the causes of bi-polar disorder?

The real reason for bi-polar disorder is unclear. Yet, it is believed that it may be caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. An imbalance of neurotransmitters inside the brain is also a contributing element. There is often a family history of bi-polar disorder, which points towards there being a genetic component behind this condition. However, the condition is not linked to a single gene. It is believed that multiple genes play a role in the development of bi-polar disorder. Environmental factors such as trauma, stress or substance abuse may also contribute to the development of bi-polar disorder. 

4. How is bi-polar disorder diagnosed?

If you feel you might have bi-polar disorder, you must talk to a doctor. They will ask you about your symptoms and family history. They may also perform a detailed physical exam to determine other potential causes of your symptoms. If they think you might have bi-polar disorder, they may refer you to a mental health professional for further evaluation. A mental health specialist will assess your symptoms and conduct a psychological evaluation. They may also use tests such as the Mood Disorder Questionnaire or the Bi-polar Depression Rating Scale to help diagnose bi-polar disorder.

5. What are the types of bi-polar disorder?

There are four major kinds of bi-polar disorder. They include:

Bi-polar I Disorder: This is characterized by manic episodes that last for at least seven days. The manic symptoms of this type are so harsh that they require hospitalization. You may also experience depressive episodes that last for a minimum of two weeks. Common characteristics of a manic episode are:

  • Increased energy
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Racing thoughts
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Elevated mood

Bi-polar II Disorder: This kind of bi-polar disorder is indicated by depressive episodes that alternate with hypomanic episodes. Hypomanic spells are similar to manic episodes but are not so severe. They may last for four days or less. Bi-polar II is a less intense form of manic depression. Individuals with this kind of bi-polar disorder rarely require hospitalization for mania. Bi-polar II is sometimes mistaken for depression since the majority of depressive symptoms may be experienced simultaneously as the person seeks medical help. When the manic phase characteristic of bi-polar disorder is not present, the depressive symptoms become more pronounced and the focus of attention.

Cyclothymic Disorder: This state of bi-polar disorder is less severe than other forms and consists of cycles of hypomanic symptoms followed by periods of depression that can last for days or weeks. However, the highs and lows of cyclothymic disorder are not as extreme as those of other forms of bi-polar disorder. Cyclothymic disorder usually affects teenagers. People with the condition often appear to function normally, although they may seem “moody” or “difficult” to others. Those who suffer from cyclothymia may be hesitant to get help because their mood swings do not appear severe. But if left untreated, cyclothymia can raise the chance of developing bi-polar disorder.

Rapid-Cycling Disorder: This type of bi-polar disorder is characterized by four or more episodes of mania or depression within 12 months. The symptoms of the rapid-cycling disorder can be severe and often lead to hospitalization. Females are more likely to experience rapid cycling than men. People with rapid-cycling disorder often have difficulty functioning in their day-to-day lives.

6. Are there any risks associated with bi-polar disorder?

Bi-polar disorder can lead to several problems if it is left untreated. People with untreated bi-polar disorder are at increased risk for suicide. They may also have difficulty keeping a job, maintaining healthy relationships, and caring for their physical health. If you have bi-polar disorder, it is essential to get treatment to reduce your risk of complications.

Conclusion

Bi-polar disorder is a complex cognitive health condition that can be difficult to understand. It is important to remember that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment for bi-polar disorder. We hope this article has addressed some of your questions about this condition. If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us or a qualified mental health professional. We are here to help!

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