Types of Bipolar Disorder

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Bipolar disorder is a “mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs and lows” (“Bipolar disorder”, 2018). As with any disease, bipolar disorder can be diagnosed at any age, but is more commonly diagnosed when an individual is a teenager or in their early 20s (“Bipolar disorder”, 2018). There are several types of bipolar disorder, making it harder to identify, yet they all include some form of mania or hypomania and depression.

Unpredictable changes in mood and behavior are a result in varying types of symptoms expressed by bipolar disorder. Patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder are generally classified under bipolar I or II disorder. Bipolar I disorder is defined has having “at least one manic episode that may be preceded or followed by hypomanic or major depressive episodes” (“Bipolar disorder”, 2018).

Bipolar II disorder is different in that the individual has not had a manic episode, but has had at least one hypomanic episode and at least one major depressive episode (“Bipolar disorder”, 2018). Most patients diagnosed with bipolar II disorder experience a longer episode of depression, making it harder to distinguish this type from regular depression.

Since each individual is unique, symptoms can vary from person to person and can vary over time. One characteristic commonly found with bipolar disorder is mania or hypomania which are two distinct types of episodes that have similar symptoms (“Bipolar disorder”, 2018). Mania is easier to be recognized by friends and family than hypomania because it is more severe and has a larger impact on one’s school and social activities, relationships, and work.

In very severe cases, mania will trigger psychosis, requiring hospitalization (“Bipolar disorder”, 2018). For friends and family to recognize an individual struggling with mania, their episodes will include a combinations of 3 or more symptoms. The symptoms frequently associated with manic episodes are abnormally upbeat, hyperactive, euphoric behavior, abulia, decreased need for sleep, unusual talkativeness, distractibility, and poor decision making (“Bipolar disorder”, 2018). What an individual is not experiencing a manic episode, it is possible that they have fallen into a major depressive episode. These depressive episodes make it difficult for the individual to perform simple day-to-day tasks and if it is bad enough, could cause the individual to have suicidal thoughts. For an outsider looking in, someone experiencing a depressive episode would exhibit five or more symptoms during one episode. These symptoms can vary throughout different episodes or can be identical in each episode depending on the individual.

An indication of a depressive episode would be if the individual was expressing a feeling of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness, anhedonia, cachexia, anorexia, fatigue, insomnia, akathisia, feeling of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt, dysphoria, indecisiveness, or thinking about suicide (“Bipolar disorder”, 2018). The constant swing of emotions can take a toll on the individual’s sleep, energy, behavior, and judgement while also causing stress on relationships and work.

Since drastic mood swings are associated with bipolar disorder, it can be more difficult to diagnose the disorder in children and teens where mood swings are a normal part of growth. Therefore, it is harder for parents to determine if their children are experiencing normal ups and downs of life or if they are signs of bipolar disorder. Consequently, parents should take their child to see a doctor if they are concerned their child is acting abnormally compared to a normal teen.

Although patients with bipolar disorder experience extreme mood swings, it is difficult for the individual to recognize the impact their emotional instability has on their lives or those they love (“Bipolar disorder”, 2018). That is why seeking treatment is the best way for a patient to manage their symptoms associated with bipolar disorder and return to a state of normalcy.

When going through treatment for bipolar disorder, a patient will have a team that is made up of a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker and psychiatric nurse (“Bipolar disorder”, 2018). Working closely with a psychiatrist allows the individual to be treated by someone who is familiar with working with a variety of mental health conditions like bipolar disorder. In most cases, an individual will be recommended to take medications to balance the mood swings and an appointment with a psychotherapist will be set up to learn how to cope with mood swings (“Bipolar disorder”, 2018). The psychotherapy provides insight as to how an individual can identify triggers that may cause mood swings or an individual will learn tools on managing their mood swings.

A psychiatrist may prescribe anything from mood stabilizers to antipsychotics to anti-depressants to anti-anxiety medicine (“Bipolar disorder”, 2018). An individual may have to take a combination of these medications to get the most symptomatic relief depending on their condition. A common problem with treating a patient with bipolar disorder is that they will stop taking their medicine when they feel better. This will cause a relapse of symptoms, and could even cause a full-blown manic or depressive episode. A psychiatrist will recommend a variety of treatment plans based on the individual’s lifestyle and support group, but the treatment options could look anywhere from a day treatment program to substance abuse treatment, or even hospitalization in more severe cases (“Bipolar disorder”, 2018).

Hospitalization is typically recommended for patients who are suicidal, psychotic, or are behaving dangerously. This course of treatment will allow the individual to get more help in a supervised scenario and will ensure that their mood swings are stabilized before they are allowed to interact with the public again. Besides psychotherapy and medications, a psychiatrist may recommend that the individual participate in support groups to prevent an increase in depressive episodes.


Cite this paper

Types of Bipolar Disorder. (2020, Sep 26). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/types-of-bipolar-disorder/

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