What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is often called manic-depressive illness. This condition causes a person to experience unusual changes in moods and energy levels. Bipolar Disorder may present as depression, mania/hypomania or a mixed state which has symptoms of both. The condition can negatively impact one's ability to function normally. During manic periods, individuals experience high energy, feelings of powerfulness, and impulsive behavior. This eventually transitions into the opposite, a deep depressive state, with feelings of fatigue, worthlessness, and intense sadness. Left undiagnosed and untreated, bipolar disorder sufferers often find it difficult to lead normal lives and may struggle with maintaining employment and relationships. Fortunately, this is a treatable condition with a good prognosis for those that seek help. It extremely important to get a proper diagnosis before beginning treatment as the symptoms can be easily overlooked or confused with another diagnosis.
Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is often misunderstood by many people today. A common misconception is that people with bipolar disorder have major mood swings during a single day. In fact, people with Bipolar Disorder is not characterized by quick and obvious changes that happen constantly. True bipolar disorder results in mood swings that persist for days to weeks. Many bipolar disorder sufferers have trouble with maintaining a regular sleep schedule, especially during their episodes. A person with bipolar disorder may experience an episode where they are highly irritable for several days or weeks and then shift into an upbeat mood for several more days or weeks.
Do Other Disorders Have Similar Symptoms?
People who suffer from unipolar depression, or many of the different personality disorders, may show symptoms that seem to be quite similar to those of bipolar disorder. Due to these similarities, many patients with Bipolar Disorder have often been misdiagnosed. At West End Consultation Group, we have successfully treated many patients with Bipolar Disorder and experienced in making a proper diagnosis of the illness.
Bipolar Disorder Treatment
Treatment of bipolar disorder varies depending on a patient's current symptoms and history. Medications for Bipolar Disorder include mood stabilizers, as well as other psychiatric medications. Medication options for Bipolar 1, differ from those who suffer from Bipolar 2. Antipsychotic medications, such as Lamictal, Latuda, Saphris, Geodon, Risperdal are often used. Other mood stabilizers include anti-convulsant medications, including Tegretol, Depakote, and Topamax. Antidepressants may be appropriate to treat Bipolar Disorder, but the proper dosage is extremely important, so as not to induce mania. There are also non-medication aspects that can be used to optimize treatment plans including cognitive behavioral therapy.