Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that is more common than people realize. At least 5.7 million adult Americans are affected by it. And enough of these adults are severely affected for this condition to be considered the sixth leading cause of disability.
But, sadly, despite how pervasive bipolar disorder is, many are unaware of what exactly the condition is or whether they even have it. So this article is here to shed some light on bipolar disorder and what you can do once diagnosed with it.
First, realize that there are several types of this disorder.
It’s easy to mistake bipolar disorder as one disorder. Many of us — even this article — will generally refer to bipolar disorders as just bipolar disorder as a sort of umbrella term for several conditions.
But if you want to determine whether you or someone you love has it, you need to know that there are at least four different types:
• Bipolar I Disorder —
This condition is defined by its pattern of manic and depressive episodes. People with bipolar I disorder will typically experience manic episodes for around seven days. These episodes are then usually followed by depressive episodes. However, in some cases, bipolar I disorder can have a mix of both manic and depressive episodes simultaneously.
• Bipolar II Disorder —
Unlike bipolar I disorder, this condition has less severe manic episodes. But it still carries the same trait of depressive episodes alongside manic episodes.
• Cyclothymia —
People with this condition do not meet the diagnostic criteria for a less severe manic or depressive episode. But they still experience a number of even lesser manic and depressive symptoms that can last for at least two years.
• Other Similar Disorders —
While these disorders may not have a name or match the three previous categories, they still share some bipolar disorder symptoms.
Bipolar disorders can appear similar.
Despite there being different types of bipolar disorder, there are some general signs and symptoms you can spot for any of the conditions.
Some manic symptoms include:
• Feeling high
• Having lots of energy
• Talking fast
• Getting irritable
• Acting on risky behaviors like excessive spending or having reckless sex
Meanwhile, depressive symptoms may involve:
• Feeling hopeless
• Dealing with low energy levels
• Being unable to concentrate
• Thinking about death or suicide
• Having difficulty enjoying anything
They can also have common risk factors.
Likewise, all bipolar disorder conditions are more prone in people with the following risk factors:
• Brain structure and functioning differences
• Having certain genetics
• Being related to family members who already have the condition
If any sign, symptom, or risk factor sounds familiar, you may have a bipolar disorder.
But don’t panic! You may have a completely different condition.
The only way to be sure is to go talk to your doctor about your concerns. They will have the tools necessary to give you a proper diagnosis over your mental health.
Once diagnosed, consider going for treatment.
So, you’ve talked to your doctor, and you’ve been properly diagnosed with a form of bipolar disorder. Now what?
Well, at this stage, you should seriously consider treating your bipolar disorder. Without treatment, bipolar disorders can wreak devastating damage on a person’s life. They can keep you in a cycle of feeling invincible for several days and like a waste of space the next. And they can increase your risk of suicide and even make functioning in life incredibly difficult.
To avoid these issues, consider treatments like medication and therapy.
For most with a bipolar disorder, medication is considered a significant stepping stone to better mental health. This is because medication can help drastically curb the highs and lows of bipolar disorder.
So, talk to your doctor about medication for your condition. Make sure they know about your medical history, including any medications you already take and any allergies you have.
Once your doctor has all the information they need, they should be able to narrow down what medications might help you. There are a number of bipolar medications out there, including quetiapine. But not all are likely to be effective. So both you and your doctor need to be patient when trying out medication.
After you’ve both determined what medication might be the best for you, look for international or Canadian pharmacy meds online that are equivalent to your medication. These equivalents will be cheaper than your typical American prescription medications. So you can save money and still get the treatment you need!
In addition to medication, consider therapy. This form of treatment can help you recover from the effects that bipolar disorder has likely had on your life. It will teach you how to cope with your feelings, relationships, and stress.
Three types of therapy in particular are considered quite effective for bipolar disorders:
• Cognitive behavioral therapy —
Under this form of therapy, with the help of a therapist, you’ll learn how your emotions are impacted by your thoughts. And eventually, this will help you determine how to turn negative thoughts and actions into more positive ones.
• Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy —
Both interpersonal therapy and social rhythm therapy are usually combined to form one type of therapy. That way, you get the interpersonal therapy focus on current relationship problems and the social rhythm therapy focus on keeping your biological needs like sleeping on a proper schedule.
• Family-focused therapy —
Bipolar disorders typically strain your relationships with family members, so this type of therapy aims to help heal that strain.
Don’t forget to give yourself some self-care, too.
As you undergo your bipolar disorder treatment, remember that you’re only human. There are going to be some days where your bipolar disorder will feel harder to manage than on other days. But eventually, you’ll find a way that works best for you. It all just takes time. So comfort yourself in the presence of friends and family members and do your best to work towards a mentally healthier, happier life.