- Bipolar Disorder: Preventing Manic Episodes
- Get answers to your questions
- Bipolar I Disorder | Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide
You feel fantastic.
Bipolar Disorder: Preventing Manic Episodes
Mania symptoms vary, between people and, over time, in one person. Your elevated mood can be infectious and it's as though you're the life of the party. You'll tell friends you're feeling great or never been better.
- Living with Bipolar Disorder.
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However, your behaviour will be recognised as excessive by friends or family. You may also be irritable and experience rapidly changing emotions from laughter to tears to anger and back. You may also find you need less sleep or won't sleep for days, yet be full of energy and have an increased appetite for food, sex or other pleasurable past times. Or you might have a sudden need to spring clean the house, mow the lawn and paint a wall - all in one morning.
With severe mania there may also be signs of psychosis loss of touch with reality. Experiencing mania can also change how you process thoughts, or your ability to concentrate. For example, you may feel like your thoughts are racing and friends may notice you constantly changing the topic of conversation or that you are easily distracted. With these changes comes an increased sense of self-importance that may start out as increased self-confidence. But then, you start to lose touch with reality. For example, you might borrow money and start a business in a field where you have no experience.
If the mania is severe, you may lose touch with reality, believing perhaps, that you have a special relationship with God, Jesus, the Queen or that you have special powers. Psychosis usually takes the form of an exaggeration of some symptoms, for example your thoughts may race so fast your speech is incomprehensible. Over-activity and easy distraction may result in total disorganisation.
Similar to mania symptoms, you may feel like not only do you have a special tie with a famous figure, but that you can control events in the world or have a destiny to save the world. Sometimes these beliefs or voices may take on a more paranoid form. You might believe you are being persecuted, perhaps because of your special powers or status. Signs of depression also vary.
Not everyone with depression will complain of sadness or a persistent low mood. Or you might find you eat much less, or much more, than usual. Depression can cause you to lose interest in usual activities, become irritable, find it hard to concentrate or make everyday decisions. This condition can also make thinking clearly quite difficult; you may lose confidence, feel excessively guilty for minor wrongs and have thoughts of hopelessness, death and suicide.
This is when there is a mixture of symptoms of mania and depression. Mood alternates between high and irritable, and depressed. There is no test to diagnose bipolar affective disorder. A diagnosis is made when you have some or all of the symptoms mentioned above. Before bipolar affective disorder can be diagnosed there must have been symptoms of mania for at least one week.
If you have previously had depression, bipolar affective disorder is only diagnosed if you have an episode of mania at some point. Treatment of bipolar disorder can take many different forms: medication, talking therapies, complementary therapies, education sessions, workshops and sometimes respite care in the community is useful.
Usually a combination of these is the best solution if you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Get answers to your questions
In treating bipolar, medicines are most often used for making your mood more stable and for helping with depression anti-depressants. If you are prescribed medication, you are entitled to know the names of the medicines; what symptoms they are supposed to treat; how long it will be before they take effect; how long you will have to take them for and understand the side effects.
Finding the right medication can be a matter of trial and error. There is no way to predict exactly how medicines will affect you.
Talking therapies are effective in the treatment of bipolar, especially for the treatment of depressive symptoms. Sessions may be held on a one to one basis, sometimes include partners or family, or be held in a group. The focus of psychological therapy or counselling in the treatment of bipolar is on education and support for you to understand what is happening to you, to learn coping strategies and to pursue a path of recovery.
Sessions help you regain the confidence and belief in yourself that is critical to recovery.
It should be consistent with and incorporate your cultural beliefs and practices. This might include how to work together to communicate effectively, solve problems and deal with stress. It could also mean learning about treatment, understanding symptoms and behaviour and how to support the recovery process.
Bipolar I Disorder | Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide
It's important those close to you become part of your recovery team if they want to. In the longer term, the mental health professional your doctor refers you to, and who supervises your recovery and education, could include help finding you housing, paid employment or accessing workshops to help you build different skills such as stress management or relaxation techniques. The term complementary therapy is generally used to indicate therapies and treatments that differ from conventional western medicine and that may be used to complement and support it.
Certain complementary therapies may enhance your life and help you to maintain wellbeing. In general, mindfulness, hypnotherapy, yoga, exercise, relaxation, massage, mirimiri and aromatherapy have all been shown to have some effect in alleviating mental distress. It is also really important to look after your physical wellbeing. Make sure you get an annual check up with your doctor. Being in good physical health will also help your mental health.
When you are well and your mood is stable, you'll want to stay that way as long as possible. Some of these signs are similar to those that occur in children and adolescents with other problems such as drug abuse, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, major depressive disorder, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, or even schizophrenia. Bipolar disorder can begin in childhood or during the teenage years. The illness can affect anyone.
However, if one or both parents have bipolar disorder, the chances are greater that their children may develop the disorder. The diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children and teens is complex and involves careful observation over an extended period of time. A comprehensive evaluation by a child and adolescent psychiatrist or trained mental health professional can help identify bipolar disorder and is the first step to starting treatment.
Children and teenagers with bipolar disorder can be effectively treated. Treatment for bipolar disorder usually includes education of the patient and the family about the illness, mood stabilizing medications such as lithium, or atypical antipsychotics, and psychotherapy. Medications often reduce the number and severity of manic episodes, and may also help to prevent depression.
Psychotherapy helps the child understand himself or herself, adapt to stresses, rebuild self-esteem, and improve relationships.