What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder, also referred to as manic-depressive disorder, is a mental illness in which extreme mood swings and abrupt changes in energy levels are experienced. The magnitude of intensity with bipolar is far more severe than with normal ups and downs. Switching from a manic episode to a depressive mood happens within a very short period of time for individuals with bipolar disorder.
3 Types of Bipolar Disorder
All three categories of bipolar disorder involve manic and depressive mood swings, but to different degrees.
Bipolar I Disorder
Manic episodes continue for at least seven days, or hospital intervention becomes necessary. Separate episodes of depression occur for approximately two weeks.
Bipolar II Disorder
Experiencing depressive and manic episodes but to a lesser intensity than the first type; referred to as hypomanic episodes.
Milder hypomanic episodes than the second type. Symptoms can persist for a year in youth and two years in adults.
Other Specified or Unspecified Related Disorders: Symptoms of bipolar that don’t match the other categories mentioned above.
Vulnerability to Substance Abuse
As with other mental illnesses, individuals with bipolar disorder are likely to seek ways to numb their consciousness via harmful substances, like alcohol and drugs. In particular, those without a solid support network or suitable management of their illness, may self-medicate as a temporary escape route. This commonly leads to addiction, which significantly worsens the problem. Seeking bipolar treatment becomes vital to prevent detrimental outcomes. Treating the disorder in a holistic way makes it more successful.
Once a mental health professional confirms the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, a treatment plan and support system should be established. Bipolar treatment will be more effective when used holistically, and with long-term support. Treatment options to control the symptoms of bipolar disorder include medications and psychotherapy. Medications typically reduce the intensity of the mood swings, while psychotherapy focuses on stabilizing cognitive and behavioral functionality. Depending on the severity of the manic-depressive episodes, other treatment options may be used.
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness of mood instability. If not treated early on, individuals may attempt self-medication, leading to addiction of harmful substances. Bipolar treatment has proven to be effective if approached correctly. Mental health professionals using a combination of medications, psychotherapy and long-term support, have been able to successfully help individuals struggling with bipolar disorder.