When bipolar depression hits?

There are many types of therapies for bipolar depression that work very well. However, proper treatment can make a big difference. What else helps? Keep track of your symptoms over time. That can help you know when a mood change is coming so you can handle it soon.

We all have our ups and downs, but with bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic depression or manic-depressive disorder) these peaks and troughs are more severe. 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. More than just a fleeting good or bad mood, cycles of bipolar disorder last for days, weeks, or months. And unlike ordinary mood swings, bipolar disorder mood swings are so intense that they can interfere with your work or school performance, damage your relationships, and disrupt your ability to function in daily life.

In bipolar I disorder, there doesn't need to be a depressive episode, although in most cases, there is. Bipolar disorder results in a reduction of approximately nine years in life expectancy, and up to 1 in 5 people with bipolar disorder commit suicide. Drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines can cause mania, while alcohol and tranquilizers can cause depression. In addition, a person should experience at least one depressed mood or loss of interest, and at least five or more of the remaining symptoms listed below (such as changes in appetite, insomnia, and fatigue).

When people with bipolar disorder experience four or more manic or depressive episodes in a year, this is called a “rapid cycle.” 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. Symptoms of depression can cause you to lose interest in the activities you normally enjoy and make it difficult to get through the day. Manic episodes are more common during the summer and depressive episodes are more common during the fall, winter, and spring. Dramatic mood swings between the ups and downs of mania and the lows of depression can be exhausting for the person with bipolar disorder.

You may be especially abrupt with others and feel like no one understands your experience, says Louisa Sylvia, PhD, associate director of psychology at the Bipolar Clinic and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective therapy for people with depression and other mood disorders. But understanding what causes mood swings can be the first step in coping with the ups and downs of bipolar disorder. In the manic phase of bipolar disorder, it's common to experience feelings of increased energy, creativity, and euphoria.

During a mixed episode, you have the negative feelings and thoughts that come with depression, but you also feel agitated, restless, and energetic. By the time the obvious symptoms of mania or depression appear, it's often too late to intercept the mood change, so watch for subtle changes in your mood, sleep patterns, energy level, and thoughts.

LaToya Weitze
LaToya Weitze

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

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