Coping with Bipolar Disorder

Coping with Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental disorder that is a lifelong struggle. It is characterized by severe mood swings and changes in behavior and energy in the form of manic and depressive episodes. This means that coping with bipolar disorder can be challenging.

In addition to the standard approach to treatment with medication and therapy, here are some tips to help you make living with bipolar disorder easier.

Be Informed

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to become as well-informed about your disorder and involved in your treatment as you possibly can to make your journey less rocky. Having in-depth knowledge about your condition and your treatment will give you a peace of mind when you go through episodes that no doctor possibly can.

Have Patience

Finding the right medications can sometimes take time, so it is important to have patience and not expect miracles once you start treatment. It is also highly critical to discuss disruptive changes in mood, behavior, and energy with your doctor so that you can switch medications if needed.

Have a Support System

Remember that you are not alone and also that you must have a strong support system to make your battle with bipolar disorder easier. You can have close family members or friends who understand what you go through, or you can choose to join a support group. Support groups are especially recommended as it can be very therapeutic to share your daily struggles with people who know what you go through.

Have a Routine

It is also important that you have a routine and an overall order in your life, which has been shown to improve the lives of people with bipolar disorder. Having a schedule and structure to your daily life with various activities such as exercise and socializing can help you avoid episodes. Having a regular sleep schedule and getting enough rest is also crucial to prevent episodes.

Have a Healthy Diet

Your diet plays a big role in your overall health but also in your mental health. Having a healthy diet high in nutrient-rich, natural foods can have many benefits for the mind and body just as processed foods, stimulants like caffeine, refined sugar, and excess alcohol can have detrimental effects on your body and mood. Alcohol and drug abuse especially can worsen bipolar disorder symptoms and become an easy trigger for episodes.

De-stress

Stress can lead to manic and depressive symptoms in people with bipolar disorder, so it is important to reduce and manage stress. Stress management strategies such as breathing exercises, yoga, and medication are all effective ways to manage stress.

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Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder that causes periods of manic and depressive episodes. Bipolar can be a severe condition and have an immense impact on an individual’s daily life, including their professional and social life. Accurate diagnosis and treatment of bipolar are crucial to prevent the condition from having adverse effects on an individual’s life and overall health.

Bipolar Disorder Types

There are two main types; bipolar I and bipolar II. Bipolar I is characterized by severe manic episodes but can also cause depressive episodes. Bipolar II, on the other hand, causes periods of less severe manic and depressive symptoms. Some people may also have symptoms that do not fit the criteria of either type, in which case their bipolar disorder type is referred to as non-specified.

Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis

There was a time it was quite difficult to diagnose bipolar as it could be mistaken for depression or even schizophrenia. Thankfully today, with our more in-depth understanding of mental health, doctors recognize symptoms much more easily, as well as treat the condition much more effectively.

Unfortunately, bipolar is not a disorder that can be diagnosed using a blood test or scan, so the only way to diagnose it is to discuss symptoms such as changes in behavior and mood swings. The most important aspect of the diagnosis process is the discussion of symptoms, from their frequency to their severity.

Doctors make use of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, also known as the DSM, to reach an accurate diagnosis. Some symptom highlights are periods of irregularly elevated or down mood, low energy, and insomnia.

You may also be asked to complete a checklist or questionnaire about your symptoms to provide your doctor with a clearer picture. Your doctor may also ask you questions about your medical history and history of mental disorders in your family as bipolar disorder can be run in families.

Some symptoms of bipolar such as changes in mood, energy, and behavior are shared by some other mental health disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, borderline personality disorder, and anxiety disorders, so it is important to seek medical attention for a diagnosis.

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Bipolar Disorder Types

Bipolar Disorder Types

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition defined by severe mood swings. While most of us experience mood swings to a certain degree, bipolar disorder is a different case. Neurological imbalances, genetics, and irregularities of neurotransmitters can all contribute to bipolar disorder, characterized by extreme ups and downs that can have an overall negative impact on an individual’s daily life, everyday activities, professional life, and relationships. In addition, there are multiple bipolar disorder types. 

Bipolar disorder is a serious, lifelong condition, but it is manageable with proper care and treatment. Bipolar disorder has different types, and each type requires a different treatment approach. So here is an overview of the main types of bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Disorder Types

Living with bipolar disorder does not simply refer to alternating periods of manic and depressive episodes. Individuals with bipolar disorder do experience periods of no symptoms or symptoms mild enough for them to keep functioning. There are two primary types of bipolar disorder: bipolar I and bipolar II.

Bipolar I — Bipolar I disorder is primarily characterized by manic episodes, and in most cases, a manic episode usually lasts a week. However, periods of depressive episodes can also occur.

Bipolar II — Bipolar II disorder, as opposed to bipolar I, is predominantly characterized by periods of depressive episodes, typically a couple of weeks at a time. In most cases, a depressive episode occurs following a hypomanic episode, which is a less intense form of a manic episode.

Non-specified Bipolar Disorder — Some individuals may experience depressive, manic, or hypomanic symptoms, but these may not necessarily meet the diagnostic criteria of any known bipolar types. In these cases, the condition cannot be defined as bipolar I or bipolar II and the patient is diagnosed with a non-specified bipolar disorder.

Cyclothymic disorder — Also referred to as cyclothymia, this disorder is not exactly a type of bipolar disorder but is a nearly identical form of the condition with less severe depressive and hypomanic symptoms that cannot be defined as episodes. Without treatment, cyclothymia can progress to full-blown depressive and manic episodes, so it is important to seek medical attention.

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Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, also referred to as manic depression, is a serious mental disorder that results in mood swings, noticeable changes in energy levels, and has an overall impact on an individual’s everyday life.

The condition has four main types, with each type causing somewhat similar symptoms, characterized by distinct swings in mood and energy levels. Bipolar episodes are divided into three distinct categories; manic, depressive, and hypomanic.

A manic episode is characterized by energized and elevated behavior whereas a relatively less intense manic episode is referred to as a hypomanic episode. A depressive episode, on the other hand, is characterized by feelings of sadness and despair and a loss of energy.

Bipolar Disorder Types

Bipolar I — this type of bipolar disorder is known to primarily cause severe manic episodes, which can last up to a week. Bipolar I can also cause depressive episodes that can persist a couple of weeks at a time.

Bipolar II — Bipolar II disorder is characterized by a clear structure of alternating periods of depressive and hypomanic episodes. However, bipolar II typically never causes severe manic episodes.

Cyclothymic disorder — This type of bipolar disorder causes a number of long-term depressive and hypomanic symptoms that can last for up to a couple of years. Although these symptoms do not meet the diagnostic criteria to be characterized as full-blown depressive and hypomanic episodes.

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

Individuals with bipolar go through periods of extreme changes in mood, behavior, sleep patterns, and energy levels which are referred to as episodes. These episodes can be characterized as manic or depressive.

Manic episodes are defined by elevated feelings, having lots of energy, difficulty sleeping, increased activity, becoming irritable, difficulty focusing, speaking really fast, and taking part in risky activities.

Depressive episodes are characterized by feelings of sadness, despair, emptiness, and worry. Depressive episodes can also cause fatigue, sleep troubles or too much sleeping, a loss of interest in enjoyable activities, and thoughts of death.

It is possible to experience manic and depressive symptoms at the same during an episode as well such as being overwhelmed with feelings of sadness and despair but also having a lot of energy.

Bipolar disorder can also exhibit itself without extreme changes in mood such as when people have a hypomanic episode, which is a mild manic episode. People who go through hypomanic episodes may not become aware of their situation as they typically feel and function just fine, but those close to them may detect the irregularities in their mood, energy, and behavior.

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Depression Causes and Treatments

Depression Causes and Treatments

Depression is a common mood disorder that is characterized by feelings of sadness and loss of interest in enjoyable activities. It impacts an individual’s life in a variety of ways and does not simply mean feeling sad; depression can take over an individual’s life, affecting their feelings, thoughts, and behavior. Therefore, it can be helpful to examine the depression causes and treatments.

Depression can also be caused by a number of factors, including genetics, trauma, and brain chemistry. Thus, depression is not being weak or a state that an individual can control as it is a legitimate medical condition that can paralyze a patient’s life in a multitude of ways without emotional support and proper treatment.

Depression Causes and Risk Factors

Genetics — People who have a family history of depression are more likely to experience depression.

Chemical and hormonal imbalances — Both hormonal imbalances in the body such as in postpartum depression and chemical imbalances in the brain can result in the appearance of depression.

Trauma — Stressful incidents or traumatic events that can, for example, involve abuse, violence, or a loss can also trigger depression.

Other mental health conditions — Conditions such as anxiety disorders and eating disorders put one at an increased risk of depression.

Some other causes and risk factors include chronic conditions like cancer and heart disease, drug and alcohol abuse, having low self-esteem, having body-image issues, and being LGBT without support.

Depression Treatment

The two most effective approaches to depression treatment are antidepressants and psychotherapy. In most cases, a combination of medications and talk therapy is preferred. Some of the most common antidepressants in use are SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Popular antidepressants like Prozac, Lexapro, and Zoloft are all SSRIs.

Depending on your case and symptoms, your psychiatrist may also choose to put you on serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors or SNRIs, tricyclic antidepressants, or atypical antidepressants. Finding the right antidepressant may take time and several tries, and most antidepressants take at least a few months to take effect.

Talk therapy is just as important as an antidepressant in the long-term management of depression as a therapist can guide you through your negative thoughts and feelings and may even help you learn how to control and manage them. Therapy is especially essential in adopting healthy, positive behaviors that can help one cope with negativity and sadness a more effectively on a daily basis.

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Symptoms of Depression

Symptoms of Depression

Depression has become an alarming common and major mental health concern, both on its own and as a symptom of more serious conditions like bipolar disorder. Despite the fact that most people experience depression, a majority of these individuals are often unaware of their depression until they get a diagnosis. However, indeed, depression is so common today that 3 out of 10 individuals experience at least one episode of depression in their lifetime. So what are the symptoms of depression?

Depression can exhibit itself in as many ways as it can be brought on.   The good news is, once diagnosed, depression is highly treatable.

Becoming Familiar with the Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Depression symptoms that adults and younger individuals experience are nearly the same with the exception that the younger you are, the harder it may be to identify feelings and the need for professional help. While there is a common misconception that being depressed simply means being sad all the time, this is far from the truth. An individual experiencing depression can become sad and despondent, true, but depression does not simply mean feeling sad.

While teens and children exhibit symptoms such as sadness, irritability, neediness, negative feelings, and poor academic performance, the symptoms are more varied in adults.

  • Feelings of sadness, despair, guilt, anger, and shame
  • Losing interest in enjoyable activities, often including sexual intercourse
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Fatigue, body pain, and loss of energy
  • Memory, concentration, and overall cognitive performance issues
  • Loss of appetite or increased appetite

The severity of these symptoms varies individual-to-individual, but in most cases, a combination of some of these symptoms are enough to have a major impact on one’s everyday life and activities, and even their social and private life.

Treating Depression

There are a lot of treatment options that address the symptoms of clinical depression. The two primary treatment approaches are medication, antidepressants specifically, and psychotherapy. Though, it is common practice to combine the use of antidepressants with therapy on a regular basis.

Depending on your case and symptoms, your doctor chooses an antidepressant that is ideal for you, but in some cases, there may be a trial-and-error period until the right medication is found. It is also important to have a strong emotional support system in addition to professional help such as close family members and friends who understand what you go through.

Depression is not a sign of weakness or just feeling sad; some people are genetically predisposed to depression simply due to a family history of the condition or chemical imbalances in the brain. It is vital to be informed about this common mental health condition and have a positive outlook.

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An Overview of Depression

Depression

Being sufficiently informed about depression is essential to help improve the symptoms of the condition. It can be difficult to live with but it is treatable. However, the first step should be to understand what depression means and how it affects an individual’s life to also understand how it is treated.

What Is Depression?

Depression is a mental health condition that negatively impacts an individual’s mood, emotional state, thoughts, and even appetite. While it can be characterized by feelings of sadness, it can affect an individual’s behaviors and feelings in a multitude of ways.

It is very common, affecting 1 in 10 people at least once in their lives. It is more common among women than it is in men. Genetics play a role in the appearance of depression, meaning a family history can increase one’s risk. Individuals with chronic conditions are also more at risk.

There are a few types, including major depressive disorder, seasonal affective disorder, and postpartum. It is, however, is one of the most easily treated mental health conditions, typically with antidepressants and therapy.

What Can Cause Depression?

Depression may be brought on by one or more factors. Typically, the factors that contribute to the occurrence are chemical imbalances in the brain, genetics, difficult life circumstances, traumas such as abuse or violence, and substance abuse.

It does not only cause feelings of sadness but can exhibit itself with a wide array of symptoms, including losing interest in activities that you used to enjoy, feelings of guilt and shame, fatigue, weight loss or gain, loss of libido, and productivity and concentration issues.

If you experience any of these symptoms for longer than a few weeks, it is important to consult a doctor for a diagnosis and course of treatment to prevent the condition from impacting your everyday life.

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Understanding Depression

Understanding Depression

Depression is a pervasive and severe disorder that negatively impacts nearly every aspect of an individual’s life, from their behaviors to their thoughts, affecting nearly 7% of the population every year. While it can be a challenge to live with depression, this psychological condition can be treated. Women are at a higher risk of depression than men. Depression can occur at any time in anyone, but it is more likely to first occur between late teens and mid-20s. Because of these factors, understanding depression can be challenging.

Symptoms of Depression

Depression is often characterized by feelings of sadness, but as a matter of fact, it can cause a wide variety of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe depending on the individual. So depression does not simply equal sadness. Depression symptoms include feelings of sadness and despair, losing interest in hobbies and activities one normally enjoys, loss of or increase in appetite, fatigue, feelings of shame and guilt, concentration issues, and even suicidal thoughts.

In most cases, an individual needs to exhibit one or some of these symptoms for at least a couple of weeks to be diagnosed with depression by a medical professional. It is also important to note that there are conditions whose symptoms can be similar to depression such as a brain tumor or a thyroid condition, so a thorough examination is necessary to rule out physiological conditions.

Depression Risks

While anyone can experience depression even those who appear to have it all together, there are a number of factors that contribute to depression.

Brain chemistry — Chemical imbalances in the brain can be a cause of depression in some individuals.

Family history — Genetics also play a role in the appearance of depression, so if you have a close family member with depression, the risk of you experiencing depression is higher.

External factors — Abuse, violence, and other traumas can also lead to depression.

Personality risks — Individuals who are prone to stress, who have feelings of low self-esteem, body-image issues, and anxiety are also at an increased risk of depression.

Treating Depression

Most individuals with depression are able to improve their condition with highly effective treatments. The two most common approaches to treating depression are medications and therapy. Since depression has a lot to do with chemical imbalances in the brain, antidepressants are typically used to alleviate one’s symptoms. In mild cases, only therapy may be enough to cope with the effects of depression on a daily basis, or it can be a supplement to antidepressants.

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