Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings. These can range from extreme climbs (mania) to extreme lows (depression). Episodes of mania and depression usually last several weeks or months. Mania and hypomania are two different types of episodes, but they have the same symptoms.
Mania is more severe than hypomania and causes more noticeable problems at work, school, and social activities, as well as difficulties in relationships. Mania can also trigger a break with reality (psychosis) and require hospitalization. The vast majority of people with bipolar disorder have experienced at least one major depressive episode that lasts two weeks or more. Because the symptoms caused by a major depressive episode tend to be even more disturbing and worrying than those that occur during a manic episode, people with bipolar disorder are more likely to seek help when they feel depressed or soon after coming out of the episode.
People with bipolar I disorder usually experience manic episodes that last a week or longer. They may also (but not always) experience episodes of major depression that last at least two weeks. People with bipolar II disorder often experience a combination of hypomanic and depressive episodes that are shorter and less severe. Severe bipolar episodes of mania or depression can include psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions.
Usually, these psychotic symptoms reflect a person's extreme mood. People with bipolar disorder who have psychotic symptoms may be misdiagnosed as having schizophrenia. Ken Duckworth leads bipolar disorder discussions that provide information from individuals, family members, and mental health professionals. Along with mood swings, bipolar disorder causes changes in behavior, energy levels, and activity levels.
Having bipolar disorder along with a substance use disorder can make it difficult to treat either condition and can also affect the outcome of each disorder. 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. Keeping a life chart that records daily mood symptoms, treatments, sleep patterns, and life events can help patients and healthcare providers track and treat. Substance abuse can make bipolar episodes (mania and depression) more frequent or severe, and medications used to treat bipolar disorder tend to be less effective when someone uses alcohol or illicit drugs.
When people have symptoms of bipolar disorder and also experience periods of psychosis that are separate from mood episodes, the right diagnosis may be schizoaffective disorder. Time spent on symptoms of depression, meanwhile, outnumbers time spent on hypomanic symptoms by about 35 to one in people with bipolar II disorder. Having substance use disorder can also make it more difficult to get an accurate diagnosis, as the doctor may struggle to identify which symptoms are due to bipolar disorder and which are derived from substance use. People with certain types of bipolar disorder, such as bipolar II disorder, experience hypomania, which is a less severe form of mania.
This leaflet describes the signs and symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options for bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depressive illness), a brain disorder that causes unusual changes in mood, energy, activity levels, and ability to perform daily tasks. Bipolar disorder is considered one of the most inherited psychiatric conditions; more than two-thirds of people with bipolar disorder have at least one close biological relative with the condition. Signs and symptoms of bipolar I and bipolar II disorders may include other characteristics, such as anxious distress, melancholy, psychosis, or other. While living with bipolar disorder certainly creates some challenges, sticking to your treatment plan, practicing regular self-care, and relying on your support system can improve your overall well-being and keep symptoms to a minimum.
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. Bipolar disorder used to be called by other names, such as manic depression and manic-depressive disorder. . .