What is the depression stage of bipolar disorder?

A person with bipolar disorder can sometimes feel very sad but also full of energy. The surest sign of a depressed phase is that you feel depressed for a long time, usually at least 2 weeks. You may have these episodes rarely or several times a year. Bipolar disorder is characterized by mood episodes.

These episodes include stages of depression and mania, but there are other stages involved in an episode. It's important to recognize the symptoms at each stage so that Mercy's provider can help provide appropriate treatment. Despite the similarities between the two, there are some symptoms unique to the depressive phase of bipolar disorder. For example, people with bipolar disorder may experience feelings of restlessness and unpredictable changes in mood during the depression phase.

They may also be more prone to irritability. Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings. These can range from extreme climbs (mania) to extreme lows (depression). Although bipolar disorder affects people assigned as female at birth (AFAB) and people assigned as male at birth (AMAB) in equal numbers, the condition tends to affect them differently.

People with bipolar disorder are more likely to have thyroid disease, migraines, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other physical illnesses. Cyclothymia (hypomania and mild depression): Cyclothymia is a milder form of bipolar disorder that involves cyclical mood swings. A careful medical history is essential to ensure that bipolar disorder is not confused with major depression. You may be initially diagnosed with clinical depression before you have a manic episode (sometimes years later), after which you may be diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Health care providers often prescribe antidepressant medications to treat depressive episodes in bipolar disorder, combining the antidepressant with a mood stabilizer to prevent a manic episode from triggering. For example, antidepressants that healthcare providers prescribe to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and stimulants they prescribe to treat ADHD can worsen symptoms of bipolar disorder and even trigger a manic episode. Bipolar disorder causes serious changes in mood, energy, thinking, and behavior, from the ups and downs of mania on one end to the lows of depression on the other. Scientists are currently conducting research to determine the relationship these factors have in bipolar disorder, how they can help prevent its occurrence, and what role they can play in its treatment.

People with bipolar disorder experience changes in mood, and these changes can occur at different stages. Managing bipolar disorder starts with knowing more about symptoms and triggers, and being able to recognize them. In most cases, bipolar disorder is treated with medication and psychological counseling (psychotherapy). Mental health providers use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to diagnose the type of bipolar disorder a person may be experiencing.

With bipolar disorder, suicide is an ever-present danger, some people become suicidal in manic episodes, not just depressive episodes. Treatment may also include newer therapies designed specifically for the treatment of bipolar disorder, such as interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) and family-centered therapy.

LaToya Weitze
LaToya Weitze

Amateur internet scholar. Incurable internet evangelist. Extreme travel geek. Infuriatingly humble beer evangelist. Bacon evangelist.

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