A Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Agency



Posted by on October 14, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Bipolar disorder is a condition in which people go back and forth between periods of a very good or irritable mood and depression. The "mood swings" between mania and depression can be very quick.

Causes »

Bipolar disorder affects men and women equally. It usually starts between ages 15 - 25. The exact cause is unknown, but it occurs more often in relatives of people with bipolar disorder.

Types of bipolar disorder:

• People with bipolar disorder type I have had at least one manic episode and periods of major depression. In the past, bipolar disorder type I was called manic depression.

• People with bipolar disorder type II have never had full mania. Instead they experience periods of high energy levels and impulsiveness that are not as extreme as mania (called hypomania). These periods alternate with episodes of depression.

• A mild form of bipolar disorder called cyclothymia involves less severe mood swings. People with this form alternate between hypomania and mild depression. People with bipolar disorder type II or cyclothymia may be wrongly diagnosed as having depression.

In most people with bipolar disorder, there is no clear cause for the manic or depressive episodes. The following may trigger a manic episode in people with bipolar disorder:

• Life changes such as childbirth

• Medications such as antidepressants or steroids

• Periods of sleeplessness

• Recreational drug use

Signs and symptoms

Bipolar disorder is a condition in which people experience abnormally elevated (manic or hypomanic) and, in many cases, abnormally depressed states for periods of time in a way that interferes with functioning. Not everyone's symptoms are the same, and there is no simple physiological test to confirm the disorder.

Symptoms »

The manic phase may last from days to months. It can include the following symptoms:

• Easily distracted

• Little need for sleep

• Poor judgment

• Poor temper control

• Reckless behavior and lack of self control

o Binge eating, drinking, and/or drug use

o Poor judgment

o Sex with many partners (promiscuity)

o Spending sprees

• Very elevated mood

o Excess activity (hyperactivity)

o Increased energy

o Racing thoughts

o Talking a lot

o Very high self-esteem (false beliefs about self or abilities)

• Very involved in activities

• Very upset (agitated or irritated)

These symptoms of mania occur with bipolar disorder I. In people with bipolar disorder II, the symptoms of mania are similar but less intense.

The depressed phase of both types of bipolar disorder includes the following symptoms:

• Daily low mood or sadness

• Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

• Eating problems

o Loss of appetite and weight loss

o Overeating and weight gain

• Fatigue or lack of energy

• Feeling worthless, hopeless, or guilty

• Loss of pleasure in activities once enjoyed

• Loss of self-esteem

• Thoughts of death and suicide

• Trouble getting to sleep or sleeping too much

• Pulling away from friends or activities that were once enjoyed

There is a high risk of suicide with bipolar disorder. Patients may abuse alcohol or other substances, which can make the symptoms and suicide risk worse.

Sometimes the two phases overlap. Manic and depressive symptoms may occur together or quickly one after the other in what is called a mixed state.

Exams and Tests »

Many factors are involved in diagnosing bipolar disorder. The health care provider may do some or all of the following:

• Ask about your family medical history, such as whether anyone has or had bipolar disorder

• Ask about your recent mood swings and for how long you've had them

• Perform a thorough examination to look for illnesses that may be causing the symptoms

• Run laboratory tests to check for thyroid problems or drug levels

• Talk to your family members about your behavior

• Take a medical history, including any medical problems you have and any medications you take

• Watch your behavior and mood

Note: Drug use may cause some symptoms. However, it does not rule out bipolar affective disorder. Drug abuse may be a symptom of bipolar disorder

Dobi Healthcare Services will try to find out what may have triggered the mood episode. We may also look for any medical or emotional problems that might affect treatment.

Please cont act us now for help. 318- 670- 8858, FAX 318- 670- 8947.


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