It can feel overwhelming to find an answer to the question: How do I know if I have bipolar disorder? While many consider it daunting, this is not the case. You may be seeking answers to understand the issue better if you suspect you or someone you love suffers from it.
When navigating a bipolar diagnosis, knowledge is power, which is incredibly accurate. By understanding your mental health condition, you will be able to improve your quality of life and cope better.
In this article we will discuss how to know if you have bipolar disorder, what treatment options are available, and more as we discuss the signs and symptoms of the condition.
What Is A Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that causes extreme shifts in moods and energy levels, often with periods of depression and mania.
The manic episodes are characterized by elevated mood, decreased need for sleep, increased talkativeness, and other changes in behavior. It is a medical condition that affects a person’s mood, energy levels, sleep patterns, ability to function in daily activities, and thoughts. The exact cause of this condition is not known; however, genetics may play a role.
Some researchers believe that certain genes may predispose someone to develop bipolar disorder. Other factors that could contribute to the development of bipolar disorder include brain injury, environmental factors like stress, substance abuse (alcohol use disorder), and family history.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by periods of extreme highs and lows. These episodes are called manic and depressive states. A person who experiences one or both of these states is said to have bipolar disorder. It is often misunderstood as merely experiencing wild mood swings. Unfortunately, this type of misconception can make it difficult to research how to determine whether you are bipolar or not.
An individual with bipolar disorder experiences high periods of mania (known as “highs”) and low periods of depression (known as “lows”).
In contrast, the depressive episodes are marked by feelings of sadness, lethargy, loss of interest in activities, appetite change, and suicidal thoughts. These episodes can last weeks, months, or even years at a time.
What Are The Signs and Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder?
In the early stages, mania and depression are common symptoms. However, these periods may go beyond depression and mania. They become longer-lasting and more severe than normal. This is when individuals begin to experience psychosis.
During a bipolar episode, manic symptoms (extreme highs) and depressive symptoms (dark lows) can last for a week or more, with some patients experiencing symptoms of both daily.
Look for any of the following signs of mania or bipolar depression to know the symptoms of bipolar disorder:
Three Or More Of The Following Bipolar Disorder Symptoms Can Accompany Episodes Of Mania:
- Racing thoughts uncontrollable
- A feeling of unusual optimism
- Lack of sleep
- High mood or activity levels
- Restlessness and impulsivity
- Inflated self-esteem
- Increased sense of well-being
- Lack of decision-making ability
- Risky behaviors
- Distraction/inability to focus
- Impaired judgment
Five Or More Of The Following Symptoms Can Be Associated With Major Depression In Bipolar Disorder:
- Loss of energy
- Depressed mood
- Thoughts of suicide
- Thinking of self-harm
- Lack of appetite
- Significant weight loss or gain
- Shifts in mood (Episodes of crying)
- Social withdrawal
- Disinterest in past hobbies
- A feeling of worthlessness
Since mental disorders often overlap these symptoms, it is essential to understand the difference between bipolar disorder and borderline personality.
What Are The Signs Of Bipolar Disorder?
It is common for mania and severe depression to act together creating a rollercoaster of emotions that most people find difficult to deal with. It’s important to consider how it might affect your daily life if you suspect having BPD.
You can examine yourself for some of the symptoms by answering a questionnaire online even before getting a professional diagnosis.
The Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) is an easy way to identify the symptoms of bipolar disorder. If you have answered yes to three or more questions on the MDQ, then you should seek help from a doctor. And if you answer no to all of them, there is little chance of having bipolar disorder.
If you feel like you have bipolar disorder, but your doctor has not diagnosed you with it yet, you can still use the MDQ to check if you are suffering from bipolar disorder.
There are other questionnaires available online that can help you determine whether you have bipolar disorder or not.
If You Doubt Having A Bipolar Disorder, Ask Yourself The Following Questions:
- Have you been experiencing symptoms of mania and depression?
- Is there another illness that causes you to experience psychosis?
- Are you prone to depression and mania cycles?
- Are you affected by depression or mania daily?
We must never forget that depression and sadness are different emotions, just as mania and happiness are other. ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), major depressive episode, and schizophrenia can often mimic symptoms of BPD. Aside from mimicking psychiatric disorders, they can also imitate non-psychiatric conditions like syphilis, HIV, and lupus.
How Do I Know If I Have Bipolar Disorder?
Symptoms of bipolar disorder vary among individuals. Symptoms typically begin between ages 15 and 25. They usually last several years before disappearing completely. However, some people continue to experience symptoms throughout their lives.
If you recently found that you have bipolar disorder, it’s time to start exploring effective treatment options and learning how to deal with bipolar disorder in relationships.
What Are The Treatment Options For Bipolar Disorder?
The first step is to determine if you have bipolar disorder.
After that, you need to find out what treatment plan is available. This condition can be managed with the help of skilled and experienced professionals. It is no doubt terrifying to receive a diagnosis of bipolar disease, especially at the beginning of the journey when so much remains unknown.
However, you also need to understand that it can lead to severe consequences if not treated. To learn how to treat these symptoms, it’s essential to recognize them first.
Getting an accurate diagnosis of bipolar disorder need not be frightening.
When you’re ready to start exploring bipolar disorder treatment options, a doctor, therapist, or psychiatrist may recommend starting with any of the following bipolar disorder treatments:
Medications such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotic drugs can be helpful after diagnosis. These medications can include:
- valproic acid (depakene)
- divalproex sodium (depakote)
- carbamazepine (tegretol)
However, some of these medications are not to be used during pregnancy.
In addition to helping balance mood changes, these medications may help treat manic episode and hypomanic episode, address anxiety disorders, and resolve sleep patterns.
If you are on bipolar medication, you should take it as directed and never stop taking it without consulting your doctor first.
A day program for people who don’t want to stay in a hospital but still need intensive care can be beneficial. Day programs provide individualized services to patients, including group therapy sessions, art classes, exercise, and recreational activities.
Day program provides a safe environment where patients can focus on their recovery while receiving 24-hour supervision. It helps patients maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid relapse. You will most likely need to attend a day program for several months before returning home.
You can also learn to manage bipolar depressive symptoms with the help of day treatment programs. Lifelong treatment is usually necessary to lead a fulfilling life, including therapy sessions and medication. It’s vital to continue treatment even if someone is feeling better.
A hospital can provide the type of psychiatric care required during the most severe period of significant depression or manic disorder. For example, ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) may be recommended by the doctor in severe cases.
IPSRT (Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy)
IPSRT relies on the concept that a set of routines can help you stay on top of your mood. The focus will be on sleeping, eating, and exercising. In this approach, you’ll work with a therapist to develop a personalized schedule that works best for you.
By using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), you can identify the triggers of severe episodes. By learning about them, you can come up with a plan to avoid or deal with them. The goal of CBT is to help you identify negative, unhealthy thoughts or behaviours to replace them with more positive, healthy ones.
By learning about bipolar disorder, you will be better able to identify issues and plan before a mood disorder episode occurs. You will also be more motivated to pursue treatment.
An effective way to assist people to stay on track with their treatment.
Work to achieve a work-life balance, avoid high-stress situations, and implement relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, regular exercise and deep breathing.
Knowing you have bipolar disorder can be viewed positively. Once diagnosed, you can start seeking treatment. Finding the right mental health professional can play an essential role in treating bipolar disorder since it is treatable, just like any other mental illness.
Get in touch with your health care providers to learn more about bipolar disorder and how to manage it.