Bipolar disorder is typically described as having “high highs and low lows,” however there is a lot more to this mental illness that many people do not know, such as:
- Different symptoms of bipolar disorder
- The neurobiology of bipolar disorder
- The four different types of bipolar disorder
- The diagnosis of bipolar disorder
- Different treatment options for bipolar disorder
Symptoms of bipolar disorder can look different on each person, but there is a lot more to this disorder than what you may have seen from different TV shows and movies. Unless you have been directly affected by bipolar disorder, it is easy to believe different myths around it and throw the term “bipolar” casually out as an insult to someone who may be moody. Bipolar disorder is a serious illness, but there are treatment options. If you or a loved one is in need of a treatment center, or are suffering from drug induced bipolar disorder, Eagle Recovery is here for you.
Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
In simple terms, bipolar disorder can be described as extreme mood swings ranging from extreme highs, or mania, to extreme lows, called depression. The manic or depressive episodes can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks.
When a person is manic, they may feel extreme happiness or feelings of overjoy, be full of energy, talk very quickly, stay up for several days without sleeping, have delusional thoughts, and make risky or dangerous choices without fear of any consequences.
On the other hand, …
When a person is in a depressive episode, they may feel extreme sadness or hopelessness, lack energy and interest in daily activities or things they once loved, feel empty or unworthy, or have delusional or even suicidal thoughts.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
We often hear people call others “bipolar” without actually knowing the depth of the disorder. The truth is this disorder can be extremely serious and being able to recognize the different symptoms of bipolar disorder can potentially save a person’s life. When a person has entered either a manic or depressive episode, they may do things they would not normally do while in a ‘normal” state. People with extreme mood swings can be at danger of harming themselves or others and it is so important that they receive the help they need.
Neurobiology of Bipolar Disorder
Mental illnesses all occur within the brain and can affect the way a person thinks and views the world. Because bipolar disorder is within the brain, there are no scans that can determine whether it is present within a person or not. Genetics, stress, drugs or alcohol use can all be factors in causing this disorder. There has only been some research done that shows small differences in brain activation with those with the disorder.
It is important to be able to identify the different symptoms of bipolar disorder and seek help when needed because when left untreated, this mental illness can have life-threatening outcomes.
Four Types of Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
Understanding the different symptoms of bipolar disorder can help you or your loved one be most accurately diagnosed with the correct type of illness. There are 4 types of bipolar disorder:
- Bipolar 1 consists of manic episodes that may last up to several weeks and may require hospitalization
- Bipolar 2 consists of having both manic and depressive episodes, but the manic is less severe as type 1 and is called hypomania
- Cyclothymic Disorder consists of having less severe episodes of both mania and depression for two years or longer
- Other Types Disorder occurs when a person has symptoms that may not fall under the first 3 types, and can be drug induced bipolar disorder
Myths about Bipolar Disorder
When dealing with such a serious illness, you should know there are many different myths about this disorder. Two of the most common myths about this disorder are:
- Bipolar disorder just means a person is “moody.”
- Mania is just having a lot of energy and being excited.
– Myth! Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that can affect a person’s day to day life. The mood swings are far more severe and if left untreated can lead a person to be hospitalized or in dangerous situations.
– Myth! Mania does include having a lot of energy and feeling joyful, but it also can have damaging effects such as not sleeping for days at a time, feeling out of control, or engaging in risky and dangerous behavior. Mania can also be followed by deep depression. There is nothing fun about it.
If you or someone you know may have symptoms of bipolar disorder, do your research so you are not falling into the trap of believing these different myths and misconceptions.
Parenting with Bipolar Disorder
Just because a person is diagnosed with bipolar disorder does not mean they should not have children. In fact, many individuals with this disorder have healthy children. Sure, there is a higher risk that the child may also develop the disorder, but it also gives the parent the chance to model behavior of treating the illness and to educate their child on mental health and illnesses.
With the right treatment it is absolutely possible to have and raise beautiful children regardless of having bipolar disorder.
Stigma Associated with Bipolar Disorder
Although the U.S. seems to be acknowledging mental health more, there is still so much stigma around mental illness but also specifically bipolar disorder. So, what is the stigma associated with bipolar disorder?
People often think that bipolar disorder or mental illness in general means a person is weak or broken. The stigma is that if you have to seek help to control your emotions, you are not as strong as the rest of us. What people do not understand is that bipolar disorder is not a chosen illness. Nobody with this disorder chose to have it and having it does not make them any less of a human than the rest of us. It just requires a person to seek medical help in the same way a person with diabetes needs insulin.
Famous Celebrities with Bipolar Disorder
The media today has done a great job at creating realistic characters with bipolar disorder, such as Ian Gallager from Shameless or Carrie Mathison from Homeland. What may come as a shock though, is that many celebrities that we all know, and love suffer from this mental illness.
The most well-known and iconic celebrity with a mental disorder is Brittney Spears after her head-shaving incident, but there are many others who have not made front page of magazines. Celebrities such as Mariah Carey, Demi Lovato, Mel Gibson and Carrie Fisher all have 1 of the 4 types of bipolar disorder. Some in which have done a lot of advocacy work towards spreading awareness.
Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
To diagnose a person with 1 of the 4 types of bipolar disorder, a doctor may perform a physical exam, have an interview to gather more information on different thought patterns and experiences, and order lab work. Typically, a doctor then uses the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to determine which type of bipolar disorder it may be. A treatment plan may be established after a diagnosis is made.
If you or someone you know may be presenting with any of the symptoms of bipolar disorder, you should seek help from a doctor immediately as the conditions may worsen over time.
Treatment Options for Bipolar Disorder
Treatment does not have to be a scary thing. Seeking medical help should be a top priority if you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder. With the help of a doctor or psychiatrist, you may be prescribed one of the several different medications that can help treat the disorder. There are also many different treatment centers for bipolar disorder as well as drug-induced bipolar disorder. Eagle Recovery(888-512-1378) is an addiction treatment center located in Southern California. Contact them today for more information about starting your journey to recovery.Citations:
- NHS. “Symptoms- Bipolar Disorder.” https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/bipolar-disorder/symptoms/ Reviewed 14 March, 2019.
- NAMI. “Bipolar Disorder.” https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Bipolar-Disorder Reviewed August 2017.
- Boston Mind Care. “4 Types of Bipolar Disorder.” https://bostonmindcare.com/4-types-of-bipolar-disorder/
- WebMD. “Celebrities with Bipolar Disorder.” https://www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/ss/slideshow-celebrities-bipolar-disorder Reviewed 16 May, 2021.