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Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar can be damaging to your relationships and self worth. Learning to manage it takes time but it can be achieved.

While we all may experience ups and downs throughout our lifetime, those who suffer from bipolar disorder will experience severe highs and lows that begin to negatively impact the quality of their life. Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder which is typically characterized as experiencing unpredictable periods of mania and depression. Bipolar disorder is a mental health issue that can last throughout the span of a person's whole life. Treatment has been shown to be effective, but must remain constant throughout one's lifetime. If you believe that you are suffering from bipolar disorder, it is imperative that you seek help right away as the constant episodes of mania and depression can be devastating, negatively impacting your quality of life.

During therapy for bipolar disorder, there are a few different forms of treatment that may be able to decrease your symptoms. Every case of bipolar disorder can be different, so being open with your doctor and therapists about your experiences, lifestyle, and symptoms is your best shot at finding the treatment that will work best for you.

If you believe that you are suffering from bipolar disorder, know that you do not have to suffer in silence. Our therapists will be committed to helping you find the right treatment to get you feeling better and living a happy, healthy, and productive life.

What is a Manic Episode?

Bipolar disorder is characterized as having unpredictable episodes of mania and depression. What is mania, though? Mania is a phase that occurs in bipolar disorder and is characterized by feeling extremely energetic, productive, and hyperactive. Mania can cause sleep issues, as well as impulsive and reckless behaviors.

Signs and Symptoms of a Bipolar Disorder Manic Episode

Understanding the signs and symptoms of a manic episode in bipolar disorder is beneficial to seeking treatment, understanding the diagnosis, and being more informed. The signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder manic episodes are:

  • Feeling "high". Manic episodes include high feelings that can either cause extreme optimism or irritability.

  • Overconfidence. A manic episode will give one unrealistic beliefs about their abilities, which can lead to risky behaviors.

  • Sleep issues. Manic episodes can cause one to feel energized off little sleep, which can cause health issues later on.

  • Rapid speaking. Manic episodes can make someone talk a mile a minute, often making them hard to understand.

  • Racing thoughts and quickly changing subjects. When someone is experiencing a manic episode, they may quickly change subjects while speaking or thinking.

  • Struggling to concentrate. With thoughts racing through their mind, it is no wonder why people who are experiencing a manic episode tend to be easily distracted and struggle to concentrate.

  • Impulsive actions. One may act impulsive, reckless, and with impaired judgment when experiencing a manic episode. They may participate in actions like reckless driving, gambling, quitting their job, leaving a relationship, or getting in trouble with the law.

  • Hallucinations and delusions. When one is suffering from a severe manic episode, they may begin to hallucinate and experience delusions which will impact the way they live their life.

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What is Hypomania?

Hypomania is a type of mania that is less severe typically being characterized by feeling motivated, energetic, and elated. To others, someone experiencing an episode of hypomania may appear to be in an extra good mood. This is because when one is experiencing feelings of hypomania, they will still be able to function in their everyday lives and simply appear to be happier on the outside. The issue with hypomania is it can lead to poor decisions that can cause relationship, career, or health problems. Hypomania is also typically followed by a full-on manic episode or a major depressive episode.

What is Bipolar Depression

Despite common belief, regular depression and bipolar depression disorder are not the same thing. They are not effectively treated in the same way and typically have some differing signs and symptoms.

Some common signs and symptoms of bipolar depression are:

  • Feeling sad, hopeless, or numb. When one is suffering from bipolar depression, they are experiencing a severe low state that leaves them with feelings of despair and emptiness.

  • Feeling guilty and worthless. Bipolar depression can lead to a disturbance in one's self-worth.

  • Loss of motivation and a lack of energy. Bipolar depression can lead one to feeling lethargic and fatigued. They may struggle to find the motivation to live their life.

  • Slowed movements and speech. The lack of energy caused by bipolar depression will often result in sluggish thought processes, movements, and speech.

  • Being unable to experience pleasure. The things that once brought joy and pleasure to a person suffering from bipolar depression will often fall flat.

  • A change in appetite. This can swing either way. A person suffering from bipolar depression may struggle with overeating or undereating as a result of the bipolar depression.

  • Sleep issues. This can also go either way. When one is experiencing bipolar depression, they may struggle to fall asleep or struggle to get out of bed.

  • Cloudy mind. Bipolar depression can cause confusion, concentration issues, and a lapse in memory.

  • Thoughts of death or suicide. If you are experiencing thoughts of depression or suicide, contact Lifeline Australia at 13 11 14. If you are in immediate danger of suicidal thoughts, call 000 immediately.

What is a Mixed Episode?

A mixed episode of bipolar disorder often presents symptoms of both a manic (or hypomanic) and depressive episode. Commonly, this can occur with symptoms of depression appearing with symptoms of mania like insomnia, problems concentrating, irritability.

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How Treatment Can Help

Bipolar disorder can cause many disruptions and issues in your life. You do not have to suffer in silence, though. Bipolar disorder is a treatable condition. Every case of bipolar disorder is different meaning different treatments will be necessary for different cases.

A few possible treatment options for bipolar disorder include:

  • Family-focused therapy: a form of therapy in which the person suffering from bipolar disorder, along with family members are included. When treating bipolar disorder in family-focused therapy, the goals will be for the individual with bipolar disorder and their family to leave educated about symptoms, cycles, causes, and warning signs; how to prevent the symptoms from getting worse; communication skills; and problem-solving skills.

  • Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy: this form of therapy asks the patient to record their activities, bed time, wake time, and their moods as changes are made to their routine. The patient will be taught how to form and regulate a routine for their daily life in order to create stability within their moods. Interpersonally, the therapist and patient will discuss issues and solutions to preventing them from reoccurring.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: a form of therapy that focuses on the correlations occurring between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy: a form of therapy that include group and individual therapy sessions and teaches mindfulness skills like how to examine thoughts non-judgmentally.

  • Group Psychoeducation: support groups that offer a place to share and education.

We Can Help...

Bipolar disorder can be hard to deal with. It can cause issues and disturbances in your relationships, career, health, and overall quality of life. If you believe that you are suffering from bipolar disorder, know that you are not alone. Our compassionate and experienced therapists are here to help you.

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