Bipolar disorders define themselves with extremes of emotion ranging from mania to depression. The extent of symptoms vary widely, though they tend to fall in roughly grouped patterns.
The pendulum swings of bipolar disorders range from emotionally up periods, the mania stages, to the down and depressed times. Your illness is generally classed by how wide these arcs stretch, as well as how long you dwell in the extremes. However, your symptoms may be unlike any standard definition.
It’s important to understand though that your condition can be treated, just like arthritis or diabetes. Sometimes, finding the right blend of therapies takes time, so partnering with specialists like those at the Bowman Medical Group improves your chances of finding the right management plan for your bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder types
Let’s examine two of the most common types of bipolar disorder to understand some of the boundaries within which many patients range.
The most severe form of bipolar disorder, bipolar I combines dramatic mood swings alternating between depression and mania, though diagnosis may be based on mania alone. Manic states may last for a week or longer, and they may be severe enough to require hospitalization. During a manic episode, you may have difficulty sleeping and can feel irritable. You might be extremely talkative, or you may speak very quickly. You may also find your thoughts racing along with your other symptoms.
Depressive states lasting two weeks or more may find you feeling so tired you can’t get out of bed, with little interest in accomplishing anything. Your thoughts may even extend to death or suicide. Should this happen, seek emergency medical help, the support of friends and loved ones, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
With symptoms usually less extreme than bipolar I, diagnosis of bipolar II includes recognition of major depressive episodes as well as periods of elevated emotion called hypomania, that aren’t as extreme as those in a bipolar I condition. A bipolar II patient likely won’t need hospitalization when experiencing hypomania.
Both bipolar types I and II often include periods of stability between manic and depressive episodes.
Other bipolar experiences
You may experience symptoms of both mania and depression simultaneously, a condition called bipolar with mixed features. Cyclothymic bipolar disorder is essentially a milder form of the condition, perhaps better described as mood swings rather than manic or depressive episodes. You need to experience these symptoms for two years or more to be diagnosed with it.
Living with bipolar disorders
It can be difficult to function with any bipolar disorder. Without treatment, it can be disruptive, making it hard to hold a steady job, concentrate in school, or focus on lasting relationships. You can feel victimized or down on yourself.
Some people turn to self-destructive behavior as a coping mechanism. Others disengage from family or friends, making themselves feel more isolated. Managing your symptoms is often crucial to living a full life with bipolar symptoms, and it usually takes medical assistance to find a solution.
Call Bowman Medical Group at 310-982-7003 for assistance with any bipolar symptoms, or schedule an appointment online. Their mental health professionals can help you find balance and harmony within the confines of your turbulent disorder.