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Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder

Today I Could Conquer the World, but Tomorrow Will I Be Able to Get out of Bed?

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder where a person goes through periods of extreme highs and extreme lows. A person suffering from bipolar disorder will often gradually sway between the two extremes having periods in between where their mood is balanced and controlled. However, in some cases, the switch can also happen very quickly.

During a high period (mania), a person will feel overly happy or elated. This feeling may make them feel as if they are on top of the world. Then during a low period (depression), the person is sent into a state of extreme sadness and apathy. They may go from feeling highly productive and motivated to feeling like they can’t get out of bed or no longer want to live.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?

Symptoms for bipolar disorder can vary based on the severity of a person’s condition. Bipolar I Disorder patients often experience extreme highs during their manic phase. On the other hand, someone with Bipolar II Disorder will have a less intense manic stage.

Even though the severity of the symptoms experienced will vary from person to person, there are certain overarching symptoms that are typically associated with the manic and depressive episodes often experienced by people with this disorder.

Depressive Symptoms

  • Decreased/increased appetite
  • Difficulty staying focused
  • Impaired decision making
  • Loss of energy
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Extreme sadness
  • Irritability
  • Thoughts of suicide

Manic Symptoms

  • Feeling as if your thoughts are racing
  • Extreme elation or happiness
  • Irritability
  • Atypical social behavior
  • Increased libido
  • Increased rate of speech
  • Significant increase in energy
  • Poor decision making
  • Loss of sleep because of the increased energy level

What Are the Current Treatments for Bipolar Disorder?

The current treatments for bipolar disorder include drugs such as lithium along with various antidepressants and mood stabilizers. In extreme conditions, a person may even be hospitalized in order to keep them safe during periods of irrational thinking.

What Is It like to Live with Bipolar Disorder?

For people living with bipolar disorder, it is not only difficult to find medications or treatments that will actually work, but finding a way to live with the extreme change in moods can be an ongoing and often frustrating process. Some people may even struggle with taking medication and instead will choose to use other forms of treatment to manage the various phases of their disorder.

Dealing with the various moods is an ongoing struggle. Many people claim that even though the manic state gives them a feeling of invincibility, it can also be frightening at the same time. Feeling a loss of control and having such extreme feelings can be overwhelming.

For family members and friends, this disorder can be frustrating as well. However, understanding the disorder and knowing how to recognize the symptoms associated with the various phases can be helpful. Overall, this disorder is complex and challenging. How to treat and manage this disorder is truly an ongoing puzzle for both doctors and their patients.

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