Bipolar disorders, formerly manic depression, cause dramatic highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression) in a person’s mood, energy, and thought process.
When depressed, they feel sad and hopeless, losing interest in activities they previously found pleasurable. When their mood shifts to mania, they feel euphoric, highly energetic, and less likely to be irritable.
These extreme mood swings may occur occasionally or a few times a year. While some people experience emotional symptoms when the changes happen, others don’t.
Types of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder falls into these distinct categories:
- Bipolar 1: This type entails manic episodes that last 7 days or more. It may have severe mania that requires hospitalization or a major depressive episode lasting two or more weeks.
- Bipolar 2: It features both mania and depression, but the mania is not as severe as in type 1. Doctors call it hypomania, with the person experiencing a major depressive episode before or after a manic episode.
- Cyclothymic disorder: It comprises symptoms of hypomania and depression, lasting two or more years in adults and 1 year in children. The symptoms don’t wholly fit the criteria for manic or depressive episodes.
Other types of bipolar disorder also exist. Patients don’t experience symptoms in any of the above categories, but the signs stem from alcohol and drug use or medical conditions.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of mis-diagnoses of bipolar disorder, or the diagnosis happens much later than when the symptoms were first present. In such cases, the condition can be extremely debilitating.
Getting the Right Support for Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, but you can manage your mood swings and other symptoms with the right treatment plan. Psychological counseling and medication can treat bipolar disorders in some cases.
At Pandora’s House Psychiatry, we strive to increase access to mental healthcare while raising awareness of the many benefits of treatment. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss possible symptoms and solutions.