Every time you hear the phrase bipolar disorder, it is easy to assume that diagnosing this condition is fairly simple and easy. But, it is actually the opposite.
If the condition of a person follows the usual bipolar pattern of cycles of depressed and elevated moods, then, it may be safe to say that there will be a straightforward diagnosis. However, when symptoms don’t follow the anticipated order or these are not obvious in the first place, it might be more difficult to diagnose the problem.
Bipolar Disorder Defined
Previously called manic depression or manic-depressive illness, this is a type of mental health disorder that can cause extreme mood swings, ranging from emotional lows or depression, to highs or hypomania or mania.
Every time you are in a manic period, you will feel euphoric as if there is nothing that can stop you. During a depressive state, on the other hand, you will feel hopeless and sad, losing pleasure in any form of activity.
Such mood swings may be rare occurrences or they can also happen a few times in a year.
What are Its Symptoms?
It can be very tricky to diagnose this disorder when there is a different order to the symptoms or when the mania is undetected or mild.
It is even more difficult for professionals to come up with a definite diagnosis. There are some people who thought they were depressed when in fact, they have this disorder. Some people also consulted three doctors first before they reached the right diagnosis. Many people who have the disorder also suffer from other forms of psychiatric conditions like anxiety that only makes it harder to come up with a diagnosis.
The following are the common symptoms of mania:
- Having a blown up sense of your personal abilities
- Having higher energy levels
- Needing less hours of sleep
- Seeming unusually upbeat
One more symptom of mania is reaching poor decisions like making dangerous investments or taking sexual risks.
Below are the symptoms of major depressive phase:
- Reduced ability to focus and concentrate
- Feeling hopeless and sad
- Noticeable loss of interest in all forms of activities
- Significant weight gain or loss
- Contemplating about suicide
There is no way to cure bipolar disorder but it is still possible to manage and treat it well. The best decision you can make is having it diagnosed at the soonest time possible.
Watch out for warning signs. Being able to address the symptoms early on will help stop them from becoming a full blown episode. Stay away from alcohol and drugs that can worsen the symptoms and be sure to take medications for the condition according to the prescription.
Therapy or counseling may also help and the doctor may suggest either hospitalization or a day treatment program. You might also need to get treated for alcohol or drug addiction if you have these issues.
While bipolar disorder is a condition that lasts for life, you can effectively manage it through proper treatment and support.