Bipolar Disorder Symptoms and Treatment

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Learn About Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder (formerly called manic depressive illness or manic depression) is a mental health condition that causes extreme changes in mood, or “mood episodes” that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). In addition to mood swings, people often struggle with unusual sleep habits, energy levels, judgement and behavior.

People may have manic episodes, depressive episodes or mixed episodes in which both manic and depressive symptoms are present. Mood episodes are intense and often happen along with extreme changes in behavior and energy levels. Episodes can last one to two weeks or sometimes longer, and symptoms are present every day for most of the day.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is typically diagnosed during the teen years or early adulthood and is a lifelong condition, but it can be managed effectively with a treatment plan that includes medication management and psychotherapy. An estimated 4.4% of U.S. adults experience bipolar disorder at some time in their lives.

People having a manic episode may:

  • Feel very “up” or “high”
  • Feel “jumpy” or “wired”
  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Become more active than usual
  • Talk really fast about a lot of different things
  • Be agitated, irritable, or “touchy”
  • Feel like their thoughts are going very fast
  • Think they can do a lot of things at once
  • Do risky things, like spend a lot of money or have reckless sex

People having a depressive episode may:

  • Feel very “down” or sad
  • Feel very “down” or sad
  • Sleep too much or too little
  • Feel like they can’t enjoy anything
  • Feel worried and empty
  • Have trouble concentrating
  • Forget things a lot
  • Eat too much or too little
  • Feel tired or “slowed down”
  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Think about death or suicide

Sometimes people experience both manic and depressive symptoms in the same episode. People experiencing mixed features may feel very sad, empty, or hopeless while at the same time feeling very energized.

Conditions That Can Co-Occur with Bipolar Disorder

Many people with bipolar disorder may have other mental health conditions such as anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety, panic disorder, and PTSD.

Sometimes people who have severe bipolar episodes of mania or depression can also have psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions.

Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis and Treatment

Proper diagnosis and treatment can help people with bipolar disorder lead healthy and active lives. Long-term, continuous treatment can help those with even the most severe forms for bipolar disorder.

A typical treatment plan includes a combination of medication and psychotherapy (talk therapy). Between bipolar episodes some people are free of mood changes, but a long-term continuous treatment is important for lifetime management of bipolar disorder symptoms.

The first step is making an appointment with a qualified Novum Psychiatry psychiatrist who is experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of Bipolar Disorder.

More complicated than normal emotional extremes, bipolar episodes can be managed effectively with medication and therapy.

Bipolar Disorder Resources

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We know that taking the first step can be difficult. Whether this is your first time seeking psychiatric care or if you are seeking a new provider, Novum Psychiatry can help. Our team of psychiatrists and therapists are committed to understanding your unique experience and working closely with you on a treatment plan to maximize the quality of your life.

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