This isn't necessarily the most common manifestation of bipolar disorder, but it does occur. And usually, if you're stuck in a particular mood, it's bipolar depression that lasts for years. If left untreated, a mania episode can last from a few days to several months. In most cases, symptoms persist for a few weeks to a few months.
Depression may appear soon after, or may not appear for weeks or months. The frequency and duration of bipolar cycles are as varied as the people who experience them. A change or change in mood can last for hours, days, weeks, or even months. Episodes of mood swings may occur rarely or several times a year.
While most people will experience some emotional symptoms between episodes, some may not experience any. Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, so treatment is a lifelong commitment. Sometimes, it can take several months or years before you and your healthcare provider find a comprehensive treatment plan that works best for you. While this can be discouraging, it's important to continue treatment.
Sometimes you can feel immensely excited or full of energy. Other times, you may find yourself sinking into a deep depression. Some of these emotional peaks and valleys can last for weeks or months. Depressive episodes in bipolar disorder are similar to regular clinical depression, with depressed mood, loss of pleasure, low energy and activity, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, and suicidal thoughts.
When there are no manic episodes suggesting bipolar disorder, depressive symptoms become the focus. There are three basic types of bipolar disorder; all of them involve clear changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. The ability to make decisions in people with bipolar disorder depends on whether the person is manic, depressed, or between episodes. For these reasons, first-line treatments for depression in bipolar disorder include medications that have been shown to have antidepressant properties, but there is also no known risk of causing or worsening mania.
In the context of bipolar disorder, a mental illness that involves extreme changes in mood, a cycle is the period of time in which an individual goes through an episode of mania or hypomania and an episode of depression. The main difference between bipolar 1 and bipolar 2 disorders lies in the severity of manic episodes caused by each type. Other mood-stabilizing treatments that are sometimes recommended for treating acute bipolar depression include lithium, Depakote, and lamotrigine (Lamictal) (although none of the latter three drugs are approved by the FDA specifically for bipolar depression). Bipolar disorder can be a major factor in suicide, job loss, and family discord, but proper treatment leads to better outcomes.
An individual with bipolar disorder may have manic episodes, depressive episodes, or “mixed episodes”. Health care providers sometimes prescribe antidepressant medications to treat depressive episodes in bipolar disorder, combining the antidepressant with a mood stabilizer to prevent a manic episode from triggering. Researchers are learning that the structure and function of the brain of people with bipolar disorder may be different from the brain structure and function of people who do not have bipolar disorder or other psychiatric disorders. Occasionally, they also develop psychotic symptoms, such as delusions and hallucinations, which can cause difficulty distinguishing bipolar disorder from other disorders such as schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.
People with certain types of bipolar disorder, such as bipolar II disorder, experience hypomania, which is a less severe form of mania. Some physical conditions, such as thyroid disease, can mimic mood and other symptoms of bipolar disorder. The antipsychotic lurasidone (Latuda) is approved for use, either alone or with lithium or valproate (Depakote), in cases of bipolar I depression. .