Understanding Bipolar Diagnosis
What is Bipolar Disorder?
According to National Institute of Mental Health, Bipolar Disorder (formerly known as manic-depressive illness or manic depression), is a mental disorder that causes and unusual shift in mood, with extreme highs and lows.
Types of Bipolar:
- Bipolar I
Having at least one manic episode followed by hypomanic or major depressive episode. Manic episodes lasting at least 7 days or needing immediate hospital care
- Bipolar II
Having at least one major depressive episode and at least one hypomanic, but no manic episodes
Having periods of hypomanic symptoms as well as periods of depressive symptoms lasting for at least 2 years (1 year in children and adolescents). However, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for a hypomanic episode and a depressive episode.
Types of Episodes:
A manic episode is characterized as at least one week of being extremely high-spirited or irritable most of the days, possessing more energy than usual, and at least 3 of the following:
- Decreased need for sleep
- Fast speech
- Uncontrollable racing thoughts/quickly changing topics while speaking
- Increased activity
- Increased risky behaviors
Some people in manic episodes report psychotic features, such as false beliefs and/or hallucinations.
Hypomanic is characterized with less severe manic symptoms only 4 days in a row versus a week.
- Major Depressive
Major depressive is characterized by at least 2 weeks where at least 5 of the following symptoms present:
- Intense sadness or despair
- Loss of interest in activities the person once enjoyed
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Increased or decreased sleep
- Increased or decreased appetite
- Restlessness or slowed speech or movement
- Difficulty concentrating
- Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
Bipolar Disorder comes with lifelong treatment. Medication is used to balance and stabilize mood. Along with medication, therapy/counseling has proven to be helpful with managing the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder.
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