What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder was formerly known as manic-depressive disorder because mania and depression are the two key symptoms. There are different types of bipolar disorder, however, with varying degrees of mania and depression.
The types of symptoms cause changes in mood, activity level, and energy. Most patients cycle between them with periods of normal mood between bipolar episodes.
The three main types of bipolar disorder are:
Bipolar I disorder
Patients with bipolar I disorder have had at least one major episode of mania that was severe enough to interfere with daily activities. They may also experience major depression or have mixed features, which means having mania and depression at the same time.
Bipolar II disorder
This type of bipolar disorder is defined as having at least one episode of major depression and at least one hypomanic episode. Hypomania causes the same symptoms as full-blown mania, but they’re less severe and usually don’t affect daily life.
If you have cyclothymic disorder, you frequently and constantly swing between hypomania and depression. Although you may have more episodes than the other types of bipolar disorder, your symptoms are milder.
What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?
In many cases, patients experience depression before they have their first manic episode. The symptoms of both include:
- Feeling sad, down, or hopeless
- Having little to no energy
- Decreasing activity levels
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Increasingly worried or anxious
- Finding it hard to concentrate
- Eating too much or too little
- Thinking about death or suicide
- Feeling up with an exaggerated sense of self-esteem
- Having excessive energy
- Increasing activity levels
- Finding it hard to sleep
- Talking too fast (pressured speech)
- Feeling agitated or irritable
- Experiencing racing thoughts
- Engaging in risky behaviors (spending too much money, reckless sex)
While mania is noticeable for its extreme energy levels and excessive behaviors, hypomania is hard to recognize. In many cases, the increased energy of hypomania may seem good because it makes you more productive, yet it’s not so extreme that it leads to problems.
How is bipolar disorder treated?
Dr. Messina & Associates offers a variety of treatments for bipolar disorder, which usually includes medications to balance your moods, as well as psychotherapy.
Our psychiatrists work closely with each patient, prescribing the best medications for their symptoms, and monitoring their ongoing health.
If you have questions about your behavior and whether it could be bipolar disorder, call the office of Dr. Messina & Associates or book an appointment online.
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Call us to book your appointment today.