Bipolar disorder was formally known as manic depressive disorder. While there are different types of bipolar disorders, they may involve emotional highs and lows. Bipolar disorders are serious and treated with therapy and psychotropic medication.
What’s Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes an individual to experience extreme mood swings, including emotional lows (depression) and emotional highs (hypomania or mania).
The mean age of onset for Bipolar disorder is 25. If not treated, people living with Bipolar disorder often have difficulty managing daily tasks, such as school, work, or maintaining healthy relationships with their spouse, friends, or family members.
Bipolar Disorders and Related Disorders
Bipolar 1 Disorder
For a person to be diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder, they must meet the criteria of at least one manic episode. Note, the manic episode may be preceded or followed by hypomanic episodes or major depressive episodes.
A manic episode is a period where an individual has an abnormally and persistently expansive, elevated, or irritable mood. Furthermore, they may persistently experience goal-directed behaviors, lasting at least one week — or less if they require hospitalization. A manic episode may also include thoughts of grandiosity, decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, pressured fast speech, distractibility, psychomotor agitation, and high-risk behaviors.
Bipolar II Disorder
Bipolar II disorder is similar to Bipolar I. However, in Bipolar II Disorder, a person does not reach a manic state; instead, they experience hypomania. They must also have experienced a depressive episode. Unlike mania, hypomania is not as extreme and does not require hospitalization. Furthermore, unlike bipolar I, to be diagnosed with Bipolar II, the individual must experience a depressive episode.
An individual with Cyclothymic Disorder experiences hypomanic and depressive symptoms but does not meet the full criteria for hypomanic episodes or depressive episodes.
Bipolar Disorders: Hypomania, and Mania
You might be wondering what differentiates these disorders? What is mania? What is hypomania?’
Although mania and hypomania are different episodes, they share several symptoms. However, mania is more extreme and can lead to psychosis or trigger a break from reality, requiring hospitalization. Hypomania, on the other hand, can be interpreted as “energetic or fun.” However, this can become problematic because the person may experience poor judgment that negatively impacts their lives.
Hypomania and Mania: Symptoms
- Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
- Needing less sleep than usual – feeling well-rested after 3 hours of sleep
- More talkative than usual
- Racing thoughts
- distractibility – attention is easily diverted
- high-risk behaviors, such as unrestrained and impulsive spending, sexual indiscretions, or foolish investments
- Psychomotor agitation
- An increase in goal-directed behavior – at work, school, socially, or sexually
Major Depressive Disorder: Symptoms
- Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
- Loss of Interest in things you found once enjoyable
- Feelings of guilt
- Loss of energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in appetite
- Psychomotor retardation or agitation
- Sleep difficulties
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Can Bipolar Disorder Be Cured?
Bipolar disorder is not curable. However, there are ways to manage it. A combination treatment of psychotherapy and medications are believed to be the most effective. Psychotherapy will usually focus on the behavioral strategies that you can use to manage your symptoms. These strategies could include sleeping regularly, eating regularly, and identifying situations that can trigger mood episodes. Furthermore, the appropriate medications will help stabilize moods and reduce symptoms.
Bipolar Disorder Treatment in Miami, Florida
Bipolar disorder can be frightening and debilitating, but there is help. You are not alone. Schedule your appointment today.
Hello, I’m Dr. Carolina Raeburn, a licensed Clinical Psychologist with a subspecialty in neuropsychology in Miami. I help people with emotional concerns and those adjusting to life changes. I offer coaching and bespoke psychotherapy for individuals and couples, providing cognitive behavioral therapy, depression treatment, anxiety treatment, panic attack treatment, stress management, as well as help those going through life changes, such as grief and loss, chronic and terminal illness, injuries, retirement, perfectionism, and much more.
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*All the information published in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Any information provided here is offered in generic form. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.