Bipolar disorder, otherwise known as bipolar affective disorder, is an emotional health disorder that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (Mania or hypomania) and lows (recovery or depression).
It is a common condition which affects millions of people around the globe and one in ten men and one in eleven women will experience at least one episode of this condition during their lifetime.
Episodes of this bipolar disorder are marked by sudden changes in mood, which can last for several hours, sometimes days, and involve both the mind and body.
This bipolar affective disorder is divided into two main sub-types
- Bipolar I disorder, with a milder form of bipolar affective disorder; and
- Bipolar II disorder, with a more severe form
Manic episodes of the bipolar disorder occur when a person is in a state of abnormally elevated moods for no apparent reason. These moods may be prompted by
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Sexual activity
- Even a perceived slight rejection by others
Although these moods are usually short-lived, they can remain for days, weeks, or even months at a time and have the potential to last indefinitely. A manic episode is also distinguished by four additional symptoms:
- Increased talk volume
As these bipolar disorder symptoms increase, so do the chances of a depressive episode. The first step in combating bipolar disorder is to make an appointment with your local family or community mental health professional.
Your doctor may recommend you see a psychiatrist or encourage you to take an herbal dietary supplement (preferably with Pueraria Mirifica). However, there are no studies that prove that these medicinal treatments are effective in the long term.
In addition, the side effects of these medications may be undesirable, especially when used over a long period of time. Many people suffering from bipolar disorder will be diagnosed using a tool called the Positive Qualities Test (PQT).
This test is designed to identify whether your major depressive episodes, hypomanic episodes, mixed states, or mixed episodes occur regularly and are associated with symptoms that are deemed related to bipolar disorder.
If you are diagnosed with this condition, your doctor will prescribe you an assortment of mood stabilizers (antipsychotics), antidepressants, and antipsychotic drugs.
Depending on the doctor’s evaluation of your symptoms, you may also be given medications to improve your muscle tone, vision, bladder control, and muscle relaxation.
Doctors like to avoid using antipsychotic medications unless the patient is experiencing an unmanageable level of pain and if the side effects of these medications are deemed medically tolerable.
Bipolar patients will also likely be prescribed neuroleptic drugs (antipsychotics), particularly when the cause of mania is thought to be related to chemical imbalances in the brain.
Patients with bipolar disorder symptoms who are on atypical antidepressant medication are most often prescribed Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are not well tolerated by people with anxiety disorders.
Some anxiety disorders have similar bipolar disorder symptoms but tend to respond more favorably to psychotherapy than do other anxiety disorders. Because moods can have such a strong impact on your quality of life, it is essential that you work to manage your depression and moods.
Proper diet and exercise, as well as maintaining a healthy social life, can help you feel better and prevent bipolar disorder symptoms from interfering with your life.
You can visit your doctor regularly for tips and information regarding effective ways to manage your mental health. Remember that moods are not the only possible causes of bipolar disorder; however, they can make things much worse if left unchecked.
Bipolar disorder in teenagers can be one of the most difficult to deal with
The sad truth is that teen-bipolar disorder is more common than most people think. If you have a teen who is showing some of these warning signs of bipolar disorder, you need to get help immediately.
Teenagers with bipolar disorder are more likely to commit suicide, so look for warning signs of teenager bipolar disorder before it’s too late. Warning signs include
- Extreme mood swings
- Giving away prized possessions
- Becoming obsessed with one topic
- Having extreme suicidal thoughts
- Spending lots of money without making any financial payments
- Having very strong emotional arguments
- Changing from a happy and talkative child to a very talkative and moody teenager
In some cases, teens with bipolar disorder may not display these symptoms but be diagnosed with the condition anyway because of the symptoms they exhibit.
If you or a loved one is showing one or several of these symptoms, get help as soon as possible. The sooner bipolar disorder in teenagers is treated, the better the chance for the patient to remain stable and healthy as he or she gets older.
Research studies have shown that people who suffer from bipolar disorder have a genetic predisposition for the illness. In other words, their parents or other relatives may have had the disorder, too.
Other causes of bipolar disorder in teenagers include
- Hormonal imbalance
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Imbalances in brain chemistry and function
Other causes include
- Teenage drug use and abuse
- Problems with peer groups
- Substance abuse
These things can increase the likelihood that bipolar disorder will develop in a person. The good news is that there are treatments available to help treat bipolar disorder in teenagers.
Treatment options for bipolar disorder in teenagers include
- Lifestyle changes
- or a combination of all three that work to help treat the symptoms
The sooner patients receive treatment, the better their chances of getting better. The first step in getting treatment for bipolar disorder in teenagers is to receive a diagnosis from a psychiatrist or psychologist.
You can do this by going to a mental health clinic, or by using the Internet to find a local therapist. During the diagnostic process, your therapist will ask about your family, your history of medication use, and your views about religion and spirituality.
The goal of the evaluation is to learn as much about you and your history as possible so that your therapist can develop an accurate diagnosis for your condition.
Treatment options will depend on the results of the diagnostic test and on the results of your therapist’s assessment. If medication is prescribed, your doctor will likely recommend that you take it for a period of time and then stop.
Some children may need to stay on the medication longer. Therapy is most helpful when treatment is started early in the course of bipolar disorder in teenage children.
Some of the symptoms that may appear in children who are suffering from bipolar disorder in their teenage years include
- Mood swings
- Extreme self-esteem
- Rapid cycling mood changes
- Poor judgment
- Lack of concentration
- Problems with sleep
When the mood swings begin, it is important to remember that mood changes are common in everyone at different times. It is important not to feel as if your mood is out of control.
In fact, even when you are feeling quite down, there may be periods where you feel extremely happy. Conversely, you might be having very bad moods, but you might not realize that you are doing this until you are driving home from work and you get a feeling of sadness or loneliness in your mind.
If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be suffering from bipolar disorder in teenage mood swings, see your mental health professional for further evaluation and treatment options.
The symptoms of this illness in teenagers are treatable. With proper treatment and a healthy lifestyle, bipolar disorder in teenage years can be successfully managed. You do not have to suffer alone.
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