Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy level and behaviour. Symptoms of bipolar can include episodes of highs (mania) and lows (depression). People living with bipolar disorder often experience unexpected changes in their mood that can lead to difficulty functioning at work and home, as well as with personal relationships.
Five Signs You Might Have Bipolar Disorder
- Intense swings from feeling “up” or euphoric to feeling very low or depressed: Many people with bipolar disorder experience intense highs (called mania) followed by deep lows (known as depression). If you’ve been feeling unusually energetic for days on end, followed by long periods of lethargy – without any logical explanation – this could be an indication of bipolar disorder.
- Extreme irritability: If you find yourself unnecessarily irritated or become easily overwhelmed even when things appear to be going fairly well, it may be an indication that something is wrong – such as having the symptoms of bipolar disorder.
- Difficulty Concentrating: An inability to focus on tasks for any extended period is a sign that should not be ignored; this symptom can affect school performance and your ability to perform well at work if it’s left unchecked.
- Increased risk-taking behaviour: Taking part in behaviours that are typically considered dangerous such as gambling more money than you can afford or engaging in reckless sexual adventures may mean you have underlying issues related to manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder which needs to be professionally assessed and managed quickly before they escalate out of control.
- Creating unrealistic plans/goals: A typical sign among those who suffer from manic episodes associated with bipolar is having high expectations about activities they plan on doing when they feel energised but then not following through because they don’t have enough self-discipline once the episode passes leaving them unfulfilled and disappointed.
Treatment Options for Bipolar Disorder
- Take action: Talk to your doctor or mental health professional if you are exhibiting any signs of bipolar disorder. A complete physical and psychological evaluation can be conducted to diagnose the disorder accurately, which is key to developing a successful treatment plan.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): Intended to address underlying issues, and symptoms of bipolar through teaching improved problem-solving skills as well as ways to improve communication, relationships, and stress management skills.
- Psycho-education: Involves educating individuals about the nature and biological underpinnings of Bipolar Disorder; the causes behind the symptoms experienced; helps better understand healthy functioning vs extreme reactions; teaches self-monitoring techniques and how best relate with others when managing their disorder; provides suggestions for lifestyle alterations that may be beneficial for symptom management and overall quality of life improvement.
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