How To Overcome Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric disorder that basically involves mood swings. Specifically, it means people having fluctuating periods of depression and mood elevation. Bipolar disorder is a lethal illness. It does have a risk of suicide that’s up to 20 to 30 times compared to the general population so it’s an illness that requires careful attention, monitoring and treatment.
Even if bipolar disorder does not cause more extreme problems of suicide, it is still a leading cause of disability and this is across the world. Globally, it is the seventh leading cause in males and the eight leading cause in females, which is quite astounding given that it only affects 1% to 4% of the population.
Table of Contents
- How Do We Diagnose Bipolar Disorder?
- How To Manage Bipolar Disorder
- How To Support Someone with Bipolar Disorder
How Do We Diagnose Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder has two major mood states: one is depression and the other one is mood elevation. We call these mood elevation episodes of mania and hypomania. You can diagnose a bipolar disorder once someone has had a major depressive episode as well as mood elevation episode.
Major Depressive Episodes
Major depressive episodes are characterized by at least two consecutive weeks of sadness or loss of interest in the usual activities or loss of enjoyment of things that would normally be enjoyable to the person.
In addition to those symptoms is to have three or four other additional symptoms. Some of which are more physical, such as a sudden change in appetite, sleep, and energy while some are more psychic like decreased self-esteem, feelings of excessive guilt, suicidal thoughts. There are some cognitive changes as well such as difficulty concentrating, and increased indecisiveness when they’re depressed.
Mood Elevation Episodes
In addition to having a major depressive episode, what distinguishes bipolar disorder from unipolar disorder is the presence of either a manic or hypomanic episode.
A manic episode is a mood state characterized by a period of at least one week of consecutive mood elevation symptoms where an expansive, or unusually irritable mood exists. As for hypomania, the requirements are a little bit of lenient. A person suspected to be suffering from this only need four days in a row of mood elevation symptoms. So what are the symptoms that we are talking about here?
Mainly, there’s a mood change. The mood becomes either more euphoric, giddy, excitable or losing their temper more easily than they normally would or those two mood states could be occurring in combination with one another and they often are.
The recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mood Disorders, DSM 5, added another criterion that a person also has to be experiencing increased energy or increased goal-directed activity. Beyond these symptoms, one also needs to be experiencing three or four of these other elevations symptoms such as being more self-confident, more grandiose, and needing less sleep than usual. Some other common symptoms during an elevated state include being more talkative than usual and feeling like your thoughts are racing or being easily more distracted.
A classic example is starting one thing and suddenly getting excited about something else– forgetting the one thing he/she were doing and kind of moving around multitasking in a very productive way, but often not in a very productive way. One probably would also experience an increase in their activity level. Suddenly wanting to write a novel, join 20 clubs, stay up all night doing some kind of new project or cleaning the house.
How To Manage Bipolar Disorder
Seek Professional Assistance
The first step in your bipolar disorder treatment is by getting an accurate diagnosis of your mental health status. This is one of the most crucial parts of the process because the mood swings of bipolar disorder can be difficult to differentiate from other problems such as ADHD, borderline personality disorder, and major depression.
Making the diagnosis can be a little tricky for trained professionals, so it is imperative to see someone who really specializes in mental health, such as Brain Wellness Spa because they are more likely to know about the latest and best treatment options for your mental health condition.
Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy is known to have fundamentally improved a patient’s ability to relate to the important people in their life. Addressing and finding ways to solve the interpersonal conflicts alleviates stress in life and significantly enhance the quality of life.
If you have been struggling, and feeling some or all of the symptoms of bipolar disorder mentioned earlier, it is important to immediately ask for professional help and support in order to reduce the pain you have been going through.
Take Good Care of Yourself
Following a regular exercise routine has emerged as an effective means in treating bipolar disorder as it can play as a supplementary activity alongside other interventions. According to one study, there is a paucity of research proving the therapeutic effects of exercise for those with bipolar disorder.
Maintaining a proper diet together with a regular workout has shown to have significantly reduced the symptoms of bipolar disorder. If you’re suffering from this type of disorder, start working out and you will feel a lot better as it has been proven to boost self-esteem, promote better sleep, make you feel good about yourself and most importantly, improve your mental health condition.
Reach Out To Your Family or Closest Friends
Reaching out to a loved one, family members or closest friends can be beneficial for your recovery process. Allowing them to get involved in your healing process will equip them with the right amount of information about the struggles you have been going through and this will encourage them to get educated about the subject matter at hand.
Do not hesitate to ask for help when the symptoms strike as you need all the help you can get because of your situation.
How To Support Someone with Bipolar Disorder
Learn Everything About Bipolar Disorder
Educating yourself about bipolar disorder is the first step towards being a good support system for your loved one suffering from this form of mental disorder. You don’t really have to be an expert in this matter, but knowing the salient features of this disorder such as its sign, symptoms and treatment modalities will surely help them in making the recovery process a lot easier.
Equipping yourself with this information will also expand your knowledge and ability to be more understanding with their current situation. Lastly, you will be aware of their daily struggles and you will realize that these symptoms are not that easy to combat. Education will be able to prepare yourself to be strong for them and for the other members of your family.
Get Involved In the Healing Process
Living with someone who is battling bipolar disorder can be very hard. Regardless of what it sometimes causes in the family or marital relationship, always try to remember that the day-to-day struggles of the patient are far more difficult than any sort of problem you may encounter along the way.
Be open to them. Let them know that their journey is your journey too and you’re all in this together until you conquer the disorder. Always talk to them about how they feel and ask them if something unusual bothers them. Working through problems by way of communication is the key to improving their ability to relate to other people which is an important part of the recuperation process.
About The Author:
Emma Clarke is a dentist by profession and an aspiring writer. She reads a lot and loves dissecting philosophical observations on classic films.