Bipolar disorder is a condition that affects numerous individuals. It can affect anyone regardless of race, age, gender, background, or ethnicity. According to research presented by the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 4.4% of adults will experience the symptoms of bipolar disorder during their lifetime. It's important to spread awareness about this disorder and learn to recognize its signs.
If you struggle with bipolar disorder, you will experience sudden and drastic changes in mood and energy levels. This condition is also referred to as manic-depressive disorder. It can impact not only your ability to function, but it can also take a toll on your mental health and overall quality of life. Some people struggle with substance misuse and bipolar disorder simultaneously.
The good news is that these symptoms can be managed through proper treatment.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
It is not always clear what specifically causes bipolar disorder, but there are certain factors that can definitely contribute. One of these factors is experiencing some sort of trauma. This could stem from some sort of abuse, witnessing an act of violence, surviving an accident or natural disaster, or the sudden loss of a loved one. The effect of this trauma can shift something in the brain, altering your mood and ability to regulate stressful situations.
Other factors that can contribute to bipolar disorder include unexplained biological discrepancies, genetics, extended periods of intense stress, and frequent substance misuse. Most of the time, this disorder is detected when a person is still a young adult, but it can be diagnosed later in life as well.
The Different Types of Bipolar Disorder
The two primary types of bipolar disorder are bipolar I and bipolar II. If you are someone who struggles with bipolar I, then you struggle with episodes of mania that are followed by episodes of depression. If you struggle with bipolar II, you've never had a manic episode, but you have had depressive episodes or episodes of hypomania in the past.
You might be wondering what mania and hypomania episodes involve. Someone going through a manic episode may experience a sort of detachment from reality. They may enter a state of psychosis and require emergency care to keep themselves and those around them safe. Hypomania is a less severe and intense version of mania.
If you're going through a manic or hypomanic episode, you might exhibit some of the following symptoms:
- Unusual jumpiness or trouble sitting still
- Racing thoughts
- Increased energy, excitement, or irritability
- An increased willingness to engage in risky or dangerous activities
- Increased talkativeness
- A sense of euphoria or invincibility
For those that experience depressive episodes, their symptoms can last an extended period of time. These episodes may affect one's ability at work or school. Some common side effects of these episodes include:
- A sense of hopelessness and intense sadness
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- Sudden drops in energy
- No longer finding excitement in hobbies that were once enjoyable
- Feeling the need to isolate from friends and family
- Sudden fluctuations in weight
Finding Happiness With Bipolar Disorder
Living with bipolar disorder can feel overwhelming and exhausting at times, but there is hope and treatment options available that can help you find relief. Start by reaching out to your primary care provider. They can provide you with a diagnosis and prescription medication if they find it necessary. Mood-stabilizing medications can really help alleviate the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Anti-psychotic medications can also help those struggling with severe manic episodes.
There are also things that you can do on your own to find lasting happiness while living with bipolar disorder. Start by learning more about your condition. The more you know and understand yourself, the better equipped you will be for handling symptoms that may arise. You will also be better equipped to inform those close to you of ways they can support you.
If you have bipolar disorder, having a strong support system around you is also important. This support could come in the form of family members, friends, or coworkers. However, it is important to keep in mind that if someone has not experienced bipolar disorder themselves, they might not be able to always provide you with useful advice. It's for this reason that joining a support group with other people that have this disorder can be extremely beneficial. Not only can these individuals relate to and understand what you're going through, but you can learn from each other too.
One of the best ways to manage bipolar disorder is to try to keep as much balance as possible in your life. You can do this by keeping a daily routine and staying on a normal sleep cycle. Practices like yoga, mindfulness, and other forms of meditation can also help.
As with many mood disorders, living with bipolar disorder can have its challenges. Some people turn to substance misuse to cope with the pain. This can further exacerbate the problem. The good news is that through proper treatment and positive life changes, it is possible to receive relief from your symptoms. If you are struggling with bipolar disorder, reach out to your doctor today. At The Ho Tai Way, we have helped many people struggling with mental health issues and addiction. We are here to help you too. Call our team today at (714) 581-3974 to learn more about the different types of treatment that we provide. We can answer any questions you may have.