Are you or your loved ones exhibiting signs of bipolar disorder? Are lifestyle or genetic factors putting you at risk? How is bipolar diagnosed and treated? When it comes to the mental health of you and your loved ones, unanswered questions and the wide open web can lead to self-diagnosis and self-treatment, which can create significant problems for you and your loved ones.
To avoid unnecessary risk and put you on the path to professional diagnosis and treatment, we’ve answered a few preliminary questions regarding what you should know about bipolar disorder in Baton Rouge.
[If you believe you or someone you love is exhibiting signs of bipolar disorder or another mental illness, please seek professional help immediately.]
Let’s get started!
What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder which causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels, and affects a person’s ability to carry out a daily routine.
There are 4 basic types of bipolar disorder:
- Bipolar I is characterized by manic episodes which last at least 7 days or by manic symptoms so severe that they require immediate hospital care.
- Bipolar II is defined by a recurrent pattern of depressive and hypomanic episodes that are not as severe as the manic episodes of Bipolar I.
- Cyclothymic Disorder, or cyclothymia, is characterized by numerous periods of hypomanic symptoms followed by depressive symptoms for at least 2 years in adults (1 year in children).
- Unspecified Bipolar (and related disorders) is defined by symptoms of bipolar disorder that don’t match any of the other defined bipolar disorders.
What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?
Hypomanic and manic episodes are characterized by:
- Abnormally upbeat, jumpy or wired
- Increased activity, energy or agitation
- Exaggerated sense of well-being and self-confidence (euphoria)
- Decreased need for sleep
- Unusual talkativeness
- Racing thoughts
- Poor decision-making — for example, going on buying sprees, taking sexual risks or making foolish investments
Depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder include five or more of the following symptoms:
- Depressed mood, such as feeling sad, empty, hopeless or tearful (in children and teens, depressed mood can appear as irritability)
- Marked loss of interest or feeling no pleasure in all — or almost all — activities
- Significant weight loss when not dieting, weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite (in children, failure to gain weight as expected can be a sign of depression)
- Either insomnia or sleeping too much
- Either restlessness or slowed behavior
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
- Decreased ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
- Thinking about, planning or attempting suicide
Who is at risk for developing bipolar disorder?
While the exact cause of bipolar disorder has not been determined, several factors can increase a person’s risk of developing bipolar disorder. These factors include:
- Having a first-degree relative with bipolar disorder
- Periods of high stress, especially following a traumatic event
- Drug or alcohol abuse
Bipolar disorder can occur with other psychological conditions, such as:
- Anxiety disorders
- Eating disorders
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Alcohol or drug problems
- Physical health problems, such as heart disease, thyroid problems, headaches or obesity
How is bipolar disorder diagnosed in Baton Rouge?
To make a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, a mental health expert will take a history of your and your immediate family’s mental health, as well as ask detailed questions about your symptom. In addition to these questions, your doctor will also evaluate your reasoning, memory, ability to express yourself, and ask questions about your ability to maintain relationships.
How is bipolar disorder treated in Baton Rouge?
Bipolar disorder is generally treated with prescription medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, and careful monitoring by a mental health professional. When treated consistently, patients have been able to find relief from the extreme nature of their manic and/or depressive episodes and been able to return to productive daily routines.
If you or someone you love is exhibiting symptoms of bipolar disorder, it’s time to seek professional help. With monitored treatment and the support of the mental health experts at Psychiatry Associates of Baton Rouge, you can find relief from the mood swings and uncertainty of bipolar disorder. Call today to schedule a consultation. It’s time to get back to your life.