Living with Bipolar Disorder is never easy to do. When feeling depressed and like you may lose control of your emotions, there is always something that you can do to help with your symptoms. Learn how to live a healthy, sustainable life with Bipolar Disorder. It is possible but it takes making improvements for yourself. This is a brain disorder that causes shifts in your mood, energy levels, and can even affect your activity levels. Bipolar Disorder has also been referred to as manic-depressive illness and may cause difficulty in carrying out everyday tasks.
What is The Cause
Bipolar Disorder has been found to have no specific cause but some factors may increase your chance of developing it.
- Genetics – It has been found that subjects who have immediate relatives with the disorder have a higher chance of developing the disorder too. Research has continued to try and find the specific genes that are involved with its development.
- Hormonal imbalances can trigger the formation of Bipolar Disorder.
- Environmental factors such as mental stress, abuse, or a specific traumatic event.
- There are biological differences in individuals with “mania”. The patients are found to have distinct physical differences within their brains.
- Drug or alcohol abuse.
Bipolar I Disorder
Living with Bipolar I Disorder involves severe mood changes from mania to severe depression. This type includes manic episodes which are going from an extreme high to an extreme low in a short period. In between these different episodes, some individuals can live normal lives if they take the right precautions and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
What is a Manic Episode
Manic comes from the root word “mania”, which means high energy or elevated state of mind. A person who has manic depressive disorder may go from one extreme to another. They can feel like they are at the top of the world, with nothing standing in their way, or have a sense of emptiness and feeling withdrawn. The most common thing with a manic episode is experiencing highs and lows involving their mood. Symptoms involving an episode include; inappropriate irritability, inappropriate social behaviors, poor judgment, a decreased need for sleep, and inappropriate euphoria or elation. Mania is also a key symptom for those who have Bipolar I Disorder.
Bipolar II Disorder
Bipolar two is a less intense version of one. Disorder two still involves high and low mood changes but it is over time that they experience the changes in their mood. Also, their high never reaches mania like “one” does. For the less intense episodes of elevated mood are referred to as “hypomania”. All of the patients with type two disorder are found to experience at least one hypomanic episode.
Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder can vary from patient to patient. Some living with Bipolar Disorder may experience:
- Mood swings, sadness, anger, hopelessness, loss of interest, hyperactivity, and general discontent
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Difficulty falling asleep or excess sleepiness
- Unwanted thoughts, lack of concentration, decrease in activity involvement
- Manic episodes, depression, fatigue, and paranoia
Rapid Cycling in Bipolar Disorder
Rapid Cycling is a pattern of frequent, distinct episodes in Bipolar Disorder. The individual will experience four-plus episodes of depression or mania in a year. Episodes can come and go over the years all depending on how well the individual is treated. Although rapid cycling is not an actual diagnosis, it is found to be more of an identifier for Bipolar Disorder. Anyone can develop the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder and about 2.5 % or 6 million of the population has it.
Cyclothymia is a minor diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder but is a lot less extreme than it. The low and high changes in mood are milder than the ones involved in mania or manic depression. About 0.4% to 1% of the population has Cyclothymia and the disorder equally affects both men and women. The symptoms of Cyclothymia frequently begin at a younger age and the diagnosis is harder to identify. Unfortunately, the symptoms are irregular in most people and can be unpredictable. The periods of depression and hypomania are on and off in between normal behaviors, the period in between the changing moods is never the same. There is no real cause of this disorder and most are unsure of its cause. The genetic map of most individuals experiencing Bipolar Disorder has been linked to causing different forms of the disorder, there are more than four types.
Age and Diagnosis
The most common age that patients with Bipolar Disorder are diagnosed, is between the ages of 15 to 24. The diagnosis lasts a lifetime. It is very rare to see young children or adults over the age of 65 receive a diagnosis with Bipolar Disorder. Some patients experience minor symptoms and others have such severe symptoms that will cause difficulties while working and living a normal life.
Complications and Living With Bipolar Disorder
There are many things that can go wrong when leaving this disorder untreated:
- Developing problems at work/school
- Finding your relationships destroyed
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Suicidal thoughts, attempts, and suicide
- Problems with managing your life that leads to financial problems
Tips to Help With The Highs and Lows
Every case of Bipolar Disorder is different, there are many precautions that you can take to make sure that your life is a little easier. One of the hardest things with depression is isolation. If you isolate yourself from others during a manic episode, it will do more harm than good. The lack of connection to other people can contribute to having worse manic episodes and worsen depression symptoms.
Finding a routine for yourself is very helpful to prepare you for the constant mood swings. While living with Bipolar Disorder, if you are going throughout your day with a schedule, you have a better purpose and less likely to feel helpless.
Developing a crisis plan will be your savior. The individuals who have a plan for when they are experiencing symptoms will be able to find better control. The best is to write out your plan and even giving it to someone(s) that you trust. Your written crisis plan needs to have the contact information of those that you trust, in case of an emergency.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or psychotic behaviors, be sure to have a list of emergency hotline numbers that you can call. If you are unsure of the best place to start with your treatment, make a plan, find people that you trust, and get help. Most areas will have trained therapists who are available to assist you with any help that you may need and for writing out a plan.
What to do With Bipolar Disorder
The best way to treat this disorder is by making a plan, finding support and a stable schedule that suits your life. New Roads Behavioral Health is a treatment center for those individuals that struggle with different disorders and diagnoses. Living with Bipolar Disorder means that you and your health need to be the biggest priority in your life.
The WoRTH Provo Residential Program provides services to women who are struggling with multiple and complex symptoms like BPD, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, Bipolar Disorder, etc. The WoRTH program offers help, healing, and support to all struggling women. The goal is to help build a strong, successful foundation for the future. The program offers dialectical behavior therapy along with dual diagnosis. NRBH focuses on giving you the control you need to have over your recovery. WoRTH strives to help teach you essential life skills.
The New Roads to Healing for men focuses on overcoming obstacles, achieving independence, and building a brighter future. New Roads uses an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team that offers a multi-disciplinary treatment. The NoRTH program also offers a psychiatric intervention to all clients who are experiencing any chronic persistent mental illnesses, like Schizophrenia, BPD, Bipolar Disorder, etc.
This program includes an ACT team as well, to offer the multi-disciplinary treatment. The ACT team consists of therapists, the Program Director, two case managers, a Psychiatrist, a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, a Medical Assistant, and other ad hoc members. The team meets every morning to discuss each client and plan the days’ interventions, including therapies, vocational training, case management, recreation, etc.
Are you experiencing difficulties in your treatment or not feeling like you can handle your everyday life? Try an outpatient program! For some people, to struggle with a mental health disorder they can be helped with an outpatient program. These programs offer enough structure and support to help them get their lives back on track.
The outpatient program at New Roads Behavioral Health combines individual and group counseling sessions, relapse prevention planning, and random drug testing, while still allowing clients to live at home to continue with their everyday lives. We choose one therapist for assessing the individual’s situation and identify the daily challenges that they have. The therapist builds a customized treatment plan to get back on track for every person who enters the program.
The outpatient program focuses on each individual, evaluating their life and making positive changes that will help them to avoid troubling situations. Masters-level therapists and experienced counselors work with each person based on their level of needs.