Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is commonly associated with irregular and unmanageable mood swings and extreme fluctuations in the level of both energy and activity. The severity of bipolar disorder symptoms can be severe, contributing to an inability to maintain employment, poor academic performance, and disruption of interpersonal relationships.

Various factors may appear to contribute to the presence and severity of bipolar disorder symptoms such as genetic predisposition, traumatic events, and the environment.

Furthermore, there is a strong correlation between bipolar disorder and drug and alcohol abuse, perhaps due to efforts to self-medicate the disorder's unwanted symptoms.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

There are various commonly recognized signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder, including a period of emotional distress with depression and an overly joyful episode of mania. During an episode of depression, the person with bipolar disorder may experience the following symptoms:

  • Feel sad and depressed
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration and memory
  • Lack of interest in daily activities
  • Fatigue

During an episode of mania or manic episode, the person with bipolar disorder may be overly happy, outgoing, and sometimes irritable. The most commonly reported symptoms of bipolar disorder mania are:

  • Hyper-verbal
  • Racing thoughts
  • Extreme irritability
  • Easily distracted
  • Engaging in high-risk behaviors

Bipolar Disorder

There are four basic types of bipolar disorder according to diagnostic guidelines outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM).

  1. Bipolar 1 Disorder is diagnosed when there is a pattern of manic or mixed episodes, which may include depression that lasts for at least seven days, or with manic symptoms so severe requiring immediate hospitalization.
  2. Bipolar 11 Disorder is diagnosed when there is a pattern of both depressive and hypomanic episodes without full-blown manic or mixed episodes.
  3. Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified is diagnosed when symptoms of bipolar disorder exist. However, diagnostic criteria for Bipolar I and Bipolar II are not met, provided the symptoms are clearly out of a person’s normal range of behaviors.
  4. Cyclothymic Disorder is recognized as a mild form of bipolar disorder. It is diagnosed when a person presents

Treatment for bipolar disorder can be beneficial, providing a person diagnosed with the disorder the opportunity to live a fully active and productive life. When conducted in conjunction with medication management, psychotherapy can be a highly effective treatment for bipolar disorder. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the most effective forms of psychotherapy for treating bipolar disorder. Patients learn to change self-destructive and negative patterns of thoughts into more positive and constructive ones.

Medication management for bipolar disorder is highly effective, while at the same time, complicated by the fact that not all patients respond to medications in the same way.

Mood stabilizers are the most commonly prescribed medication to treat bipolar disorder:

  • Lithium (Lithobid)

Anticonvulsant medications prescribed to treat bipolar disorder include:

  • Valproic acid (Depakote)
  • Lamotrigine (Lamictal)
  • Topiramate (Topomax)
  • Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal)
  • Neurontin
  • Gabapentin

Atypical Antipsychotic medications prescribed to treat bipolar disorder include:

  • Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • Aripiprazole (Abilify)
  • Quetiapine (Seroquel)
  • Risperidone (Risperdal)
  • Ziprasidone (Geodon)

Antidepressant medications prescribed to treat bipolar disorder include:

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin)

If you or a loved one is suffering from bipolar disorder symptoms, you are encouraged to call Behavioral Help Solutions now for a confidential review of your case.