Symptoms of Bipolar Depression
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Depression and bipolar disorder are inextricably linked, though the symptoms of bipolar depression can differ from clinical, or major depression. Learn to recognize the symptoms that set bipolar depression apart from other mood disorders.
Transcript: Bipolar Disorder is characterized by unpredictable and dramatic mood swings between poles of mania and...
Bipolar Disorder is characterized by unpredictable and dramatic mood swings between poles of mania and depression. But what exactly does the depressed side of Bipolar Disorder look like and what are the symptoms? Occasionally feeling sad, anxious or down is a normal part of life. However, the intense feelings of sadness, anxiety and emptiness that typically characterize Bipolar depression may affect virtually every aspect of day-to-day living, causing a person to suffer both emotional and physical symptoms. The severity and frequency of Bipolar depression symptoms vary from person to person, and not everyone experiences every symptom. Typically, however, symptoms of depression may adversely impact relationships, ability to function at school, work or home, and affect physical well-being as well. The primary symptoms of Bipolar depression typically involve feelings of extreme sadness, hopelessness and worthlessness, as well as an overall sense of guilt and pessimism. Those suffering Bipolar depression may experience uncontrollable crying, or be extremely restless and continually feel unsettled, along with feeling uncharacteristically irritable. Symptoms of Bipolar depression often typically include an inability to experience pleasure, along with loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable. For example, sufferers may no longer find any appeal in hobbies, social activities or sexual activity. Bipolar depression sufferers may also experience a debilitating loss of energy and fatigue, as well as physical and mental sluggishness in general. This may result in the person moving or speaking more slowly than usual, along with difficulties concentrating, making decisions and remembering. Additionally, many sufferers may experience a variety of sleep-related symptoms. Some people may have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up too early. Others may continually oversleep or simply can't bring themselves to get out of bed. Changes in appetite are also a common symptom of Bipolar depression. Some may overeat, which may result in significant weight gain. Or they may have little or no appetite at all, causing considerable weight loss. One of the most serious symptoms of Bipolar depression is a preoccupation with death or thoughts of suicide, especially when depression is severe. Factors such as a history of alcohol or drug abuse, or a family history of suicide may heighten the risk of suicide. Because sufferers may purposely isolate themselves and avoid interactions with family and friends, it's particularly important to be aware of the symptoms of suicidal behavior, which may include reckless actions, talking about being a burden to others, saying goodbye, seeking pills or obtaining a gun. Bipolar depression can often be accompanied by unexplained and persistent physical symptoms that don't respond to typical treatment including digestive disorders, headaches and chronic pain. When depression is especially severe, sufferers may develop psychotic symptoms and experience a break with reality. What separates these depression symptoms from Unipolar Major Depression is that those with Bipolar Disorder experience manic or hypomanic episodes as well. If you recognize yourself or someone you know in the symptoms described here, please see a mental health professional.More »
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What is bipolar disorder? This mental disorder affects a significant portion of the population in the United States. Find out more about this by watching this video.
Transcript: Bipolar disorder, once known as manic depression, affects nearly 6 million American adults. But what...
Bipolar disorder, once known as manic depression, affects nearly 6 million American adults. But what exactly is bipolar disorder? Bipolar disorder-which used to be called Manic Depressive psychosis-is a severe mood disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person's mood, energy, and ability to function. Different from normal ups and downs, the dramatic swings of bipolar disorder shift from periods of frenetic activity, or "manic" moods, which may include excessive spending, promiscuity, and little sleep, to hopeless "depressive" moods characterized by excessive sleep, lack of interest in life, and lasting sadness. Fortunately, bipolar disorder is treatable and people with this illness can lead full, productive lives. It is estimated some 6 million Americans currently suffer from bipolar disorder. Many groundbreaking creative thinkers are thought to have suffered from bipolar disorder, including Beethoven, Virginia Woolf, and Sylvia Plath. In more recent years Ben Stiller, Sting and Larry Flynt have all spoken openly about living with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder typically develops in late adolescence or early adulthood. While the precise mechanism that causes bipolar disorder is not entirely understood, but it is likely that both genetics and a person's environment are factors. Although the disease certainly tends to run in families, concordance rates for bipolar disorder between identical twins is just 50%, showing conclusively that genetics are not the sole cause of bipolar disorder. There are actually several different forms of bipolar disorder. The most common form, which involves recurring episodes of mania and depression, is called bipolar I disorder. Some people never develop severe mania, and instead experience milder episodes known as hypomania that alternate with depression; this form of the illness is called bipolar II disorder. Just as there is a chronic form of low-grade depression known as Dysthymia, there is a similar chronic, cyclical low-grade version of bipolar disorder called Cyclothymia, in which both hypomanic and depressive behavior occurs and continues over at least a 2-year period. People that experience severe mood shifts from mania or hypomania to depression and back again more than four times a year are said to have rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. Rapid cycling tends to develop later in the course of illness and is more common among women than men. Because it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between normal mood swings and the symptoms of bipolar disorder, many people suffer for years before the illness is properly diagnosed and treated. Once diagnosed, it is a treatable illness, but bipolar disorder must be carefully managed throughout a person's life. Bipolar disorder is a complex illness-if you think you might be suffering from it, please see a mental health professional.Want to learn more? Check out other videos and sources on this site for more information.More »
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Bipolar disorder is characterized by periods of mania and depression. Watch our video and find out about the symptoms of bipolar disorder in detail.
Transcript: Nearly six million Americans suffer from Bipolar Disorder, yet studies suggest it may take up to 10 years...
Nearly six million Americans suffer from Bipolar Disorder, yet studies suggest it may take up to 10 years before the illness is accurately diagnosed. So how can you tell if you, or someone you care about, is suffering from Bipolar Disorder? Identifying and understanding the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder is essential for helping sufferers, and their families, find effective treatment and cope with the illness. However, Bipolar Disorder is a complex disorder and the symptoms may vary in frequency and intensity from one person to another. Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder are distinctly different from the emotional ups and downs that are a normal part of life. The primary symptoms of Bipolar Disorder are dramatic and unpredictable mood swings, from extreme highs to equally extreme lows. These mood swings are called "episodes." Symptoms of these mood swings may often include extreme changes in emotional state, energy levels, as well as sleeping and eating patterns, depending on whether they're experiencing a manic or hypomanic episode, or a depressive one. Symptoms of mania may include hyperactivity, decreased need for sleep, sudden euphoria or rage, inflated self-esteem, extreme arrogance, racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, along with virtually non-stop speech, with the person jumping suddenly from one thought to another. Manic symptoms such as these may often be disregarded as traits of an eccentric, outgoing, negative or risk-taking personality. However, there are additional symptoms of mania that may result in significantly more serious consequences, such as impulsive spending, gambling, risky sexual behavior and even stealing. Mania may be so severe that it causes a psychotic break from reality. Symptoms of psychosis may range from hearing voices to sufferers believing themselves to be godlike, invincible, the victim of a conspiracy, or having a special connection with a celebrity or political figure. Another symptom of Bipolar Disorder is hypomania, which is a milder, less severe form of mania. Hypomania may be challenging to recognize because it may masquerade as heightened creativity and productivity, or as well as happiness, high energy or optimism. Those with Bipolar Disorder also experience symptoms of depression to varying degrees. These symptoms typically include persistent sadness, hopelessness, pessimism, loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed, decreased energy or fatigue, as well as thoughts of death or suicide. Studies suggest depression symptoms tend to be predominant in most types of Bipolar Disorder. In addition, these symptoms may occur more frequently and with greater intensity in comparison to manic or hypomanic symptoms. Other symptoms of Bipolar Disorder may include "mixed episodes," in which sufferers may experience the highs and lows of the illness simultaneously. Mixed episode symptoms may include sadness or hopelessness in conjunction with feeling extremely energized, as well as agitation, appetite changes and difficulty sleeping. If you recognize yourself or someone you know in the symptoms described here, please see a mental health professional.More »
Last Modified: 2013-11-22 | Tags »
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Did you know that millions of people around the world have bipolar disorder? To find out what causes bipolar disorder in the first place, watch this video.
Transcript: Bipolar Disorder affects nearly six million American, typically resulting in extreme shifts in mood,...
Bipolar Disorder affects nearly six million American, typically resulting in extreme shifts in mood, adversely affecting sleep and behavior patterns. But what exactly causes Bipolar Disorder? The exact cause of Bipolar Disorder is not completely understood. However, over the past decade, experts' understanding of this mood disorder has increased, leading to the belief that a number of factors including biological, genetic and environmental components may be responsible for causing Bipolar Disorder. Current thinking places considerable emphasis on biological causes, based on the belief that people who suffer from Bipolar Depression may have an imbalance in important brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine, each of which plays a role in mood and emotions. For example, when certain neurotransmitter levels are low, depression may result. Similarly, abnormally high levels of some neurotransmitters may cause mania, which is characterized by either sudden euphoria or rage, along with hyperactivity, decreased need for sleep and reckless behavior. Experts believe these causes may lie dormant indefinitely, and could be activated for an unknown reason, or be triggered by various factors including a traumatic life event such as abuse, the death of a loved one, job loss or divorce. It's also thought that stress, lack of sleep or frequent use of stimulants may prompt the onset of Bipolar Disorder, for those who are vulnerable to the illness. Imaging studies suggest brain structures of those with Bipolar Disorder sufferers may differ slightly from those who don't have the illness. Scientists have also observed abnormal hyperactivity in areas of the brain associated with emotion, and low activity in areas related to concentration, judgment and inhibition. Other imaging scans and tests have resulted in researchers observing over-secretion of the stress hormone cortisol in people with Bipolar Disorder, as well as an excessive influx of calcium into brain cells. Numerous studies suggest Bipolar Disorder has a significant genetic component. Researchers have linked multiple genes involving several chromosomes to the illness. Approximately half of Bipolar Depression sufferers have a family member with a mood disorder. Having a parent with Bipolar Disorder may pose a 15-25 percent risk of developing the illness; having an identical twin with the disorder may increase risk to more than 85 percent. Scientists are also examining links between certain viruses and Bipolar Disorder. Researchers are looking into possible connections between the illness and the Borna disease and Epstein-Barr viruses. And some evidence suggests an increased risk for adult children of mothers with herpes simplex 2 during pregnancy. The good news is Bipolar Disorder is treatable and sufferers can lead full and productive lives. If you think you may be suffering from Bipolar Depression, please see a mental health professional.More »
Last Modified: 2013-11-22 | Tags »
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Your child's unusual moods and mood swings may be a sign of a bigger problem--bipolar disorder. Watch this video to learn more signs your child may be bipolar.
Transcript: Your child or teen frequently seems despondent, disconnected and fatigued, but may also suddenly become...
Your child or teen frequently seems despondent, disconnected and fatigued, but may also suddenly become inexplicably high-spirited, talkative, easily distracted and reckless. Is it just the normal ups and downs of being a kid, or could it be Bipolar Disorder? Bipolar Disorder is a serious medical illness that's characterized by dramatic mood swings between what's referred to as "poles" of mania and deep depression, which is why it's often referred to as "manic depression." Symptoms of mania typically include extreme mood swings that may range from behavior that's extremely silly or happy, to abnormal agitation, anger and aggressiveness. The "manic" phase of Bipolar Disorder may also include increased talkativeness and energy, accompanied by a markedly decreased need for sleep. Manic symptoms in teenagers with Bipolar Disorder may also include a variety of risky behaviors, such as abusing alcohol or drugs, and engaging in promiscuous sex. The depressed phase of Bipolar Disorder typically includes symptoms such as persistent sadness, crying, irritability and fatigue. Your child or teen may also show a loss of enjoyment in their favorite activities, and frequently complain of physical ailments, such as headaches and stomachaches. Other symptoms of depression include difficulty concentrating, considerable changes in eating, and sleeping patterns, hypersexual behavior, feelings of worthlessness and a possible preoccupation with thoughts of death or suicide. Most people with Bipolar Disorder develop the illness in their late teens or early adulthood, but it may occur in children as young as preschool age. When young people develop the illness, it's called early onset Bipolar Disorder. The various mood swings accompanying Bipolar Disorder are called "episodes." Young people may experience both manic and depressive episodes, as well as "mixed" episodes that include a combination of manic and depressive symptoms. It's believed young people experience MIXED episodes more frequently than adult sufferers. Bipolar Disorder symptoms are typically MORE frequent and intense in young people than in older teens and adults. An episode may continue for a week or longer, but it's NOT uncommon for young people to cycle through manic and depressive periods in the same day. Researchers believe Bipolar Disorder has a significant genetic component, based on studies suggesting having a parent with Bipolar Disorder carries a 15-25 percent risk of developing the illness. The risk increases to 50-75 percent when BOTH parents have Bipolar Disorder. There is also an increased likelihood of developing Bipolar Disorder for children who have anxiety disorders, as well as for children who have a family history of drug or alcohol abuse. To minimize the effects of the illness, experts advise early intervention and treatment for young people with Bipolar Disorder. Untreated, the illness may put your child or teen at risk for serious behavior problems, trouble at school, substance abuse, self-harm and even suicide. While there is no cure for Bipolar Disorder, it can be treated effectively, typically with mood-stabilizing medication, psychotherapy and educating both the child and family about the illness. Good nutrition, regular sleeping patterns and exercise are also advised for young people with Bipolar Disorder. If you believe your child or teen has Bipolar Disorder, please see a mental health professional.More »
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Irrational irritability, feelings of despair and reckless behavior are a few of the major warning signs of bipolar disorder. Check out this video to learn more.
Transcript: Emotional highs and lows are a normal part of life. But unpredictable moods that shift from frenzied...
Emotional highs and lows are a normal part of life. But unpredictable moods that shift from frenzied euphoria to the sadness, withdrawal and hopelessness of depression are NOT normal. When are these symptoms warning signs of Bipolar Disorder? Nearly six million Americans are affected by Bipolar Disorder, also known as manic depression. Characterized by dramatic mood swings between opposite poles of mania (or hypomania) and depression, this disorder can result in reckless behavior, damaged relationships, debilitating depression and thoughts of death or suicide. While mood swings don't NECESSARILY mean Bipolar Disorder, behavioral extremes such as talking incessantly, excessive overconfidence and promiscuity, or fatigue, despair and withdrawal MAY be strong indicators of the illness. Similarly, when a person's mood seems to change from feeling on top of the world and loving life one moment, to feeling completely worthless and detached the next, Bipolar Disorder MAY be the culprit. These intense up and down mood swings are called "episodes," and a person with Bipolar Disorder may experience extreme changes in emotional state, energy levels, and sleeping and eating patterns, depending on whether they're in a manic or hypomanic episode, or experiencing a depressive episode. Warning signs of bipolar mania may include: rapid, virtually non-stop speech, with the person jumping suddenly from one thought to another. Irrational anger and irritability, extreme arrogance, inflated self-esteem, unrealistic goals, difficulty concentrating and a significantly decreased need for sleep may also signal mania. Other, more serious signs of mania typically involve extravagant spending and alcohol or drug abuse, as well as impulsive acts such as gambling, stealing, or inappropriate and risky sexual behavior. Signs of severe mania may be even more serious-and obvious-including delusions that can range from feeling invincible or godlike, to hearing voices. Sufferers may also believe they're the victim of a conspiracy, or have a special connection with a celebrity or political figure. In contrast, signs of hypomania, a milder, less severe form of mania, may not be so easy to identify because it may often be overlooked as simply an outgoing, energetic and optimistic personality. A person experiencing hypomania may also be highly productive and creative. These characteristics often result in hypomania appearing as a pleasant state, rather than a problem. However, studies show hypomania can also result in severe agitation, anger and irritability, and may evolve into mania or even serious depression. Warning signs of Bipolar Disorder also include depression symptoms, such as persistent sadness, hopelessness, pessimism, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, withdrawal from friends and family, decreased energy, anger, irritability, changes in eating or sleeping habits, and preoccupation with death or suicide. If you recognize yourself or someone you know in the signs and symptoms described here, please see a mental health professional.More »
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Diagnosing bipolar disorder is tricky, because its symptoms can mimic other disorders such as schizophrenia. Learn more about bipolar disorder diagnosis.
Transcript: Bipolar Disorder affects nearly six million Americans, typically resulting in extreme, unpredictable...
Bipolar Disorder affects nearly six million Americans, typically resulting in extreme, unpredictable shifts between manic and depressive moods. However, Bipolar Disorder may often be difficult to identify. So how exactly IS Bipolar Disorder diagnosed? While Bipolar Disorder is characterized by dramatic mood swings between opposite "poles" of mania or hypomania and depression, there are other illnesses and certain medications that may mimic these symptoms-underscoring the importance of consulting a mental health professional experienced in treating Bipolar Disorder. The mood swings of Bipolar Disorder may often be difficult to distinguish from other illnesses such as: schizophrenia; anxiety, adrenal and thyroid disorders; Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD; borderline personality disorder; and major depression. Additionally, sufferers typically experience the depression symptoms of Bipolar Disorder with significantly greater frequency and intensity than symptoms of mania or hypomania, which they may not recognize-or see as a problem. Consequently, those with Bipolar Disorder may seek help for their depression symptoms, which can mirror those of Major Depression. This may lead to misdiagnosing Major Depression if the health care professional isn't aware of the mania or hypomania symptoms, or if these symptoms haven't yet occurred. The problem with having Bipolar depression and being misdiagnosed with Major Depression is that there is a big difference in treatment. While the most common pharmaceutical treatment for Major Depression is antidepressant medication, antidepressants may aggravate or intensify Bipolar Disorder by triggering a manic episode. An accurate diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder begins with a thorough physical exam to rule out any illness or medication that may be causing symptoms, plus a comprehensive medical history including any history of depression, mood disorder or Bipolar Disorder among immediate family members. Approximately half of Bipolar Depression sufferers have a family member with a mood disorder. Having a parent with Bipolar Disorder may pose a 15-25 percent risk of developing the illness. Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder also involves a complete psychological evaluation including a comprehensive history of symptoms and any previous mental health treatment, along with frequency, intensity and duration of current symptoms. Experts suggest involving family members or close friends in the evaluation can facilitate an objective discussion of symptoms including mood swings, stressors, relationships and life style habits such as alcohol or drug use. Once the evaluation is complete, symptoms are assessed according to criteria from the American Psychiatric Association. Mania symptoms include sudden euphoria or rage, hyperactivity and decreased need for sleep. Hypomania is a mild form of mania. Some Bipolar types may also experience "mixed episodes," in which mania and depression symptoms occur simultaneously. The DSM-IV criteria address the various types of Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar I Disorder is defined by at least one manic episode or one mixed episode, with or without a major depressive episode. Bipolar II Disorder is defined by at least one major depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode. Cyclothymia involves numerous hypomanic episodes and periods of depression, with symptoms lasting two years or more. Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder is characterized by alternating episodes of mania and depression with in a short period of time. Mixed Bipolar Disorder highs and lows typically occur simultaneously, as either: dysphoric mania, a manic episode with unpleasant or depressed mood; or agitated depression, a depressive episode with mania symptoms. If you think you may be suffering from Bipolar Disorder, please see a mental health professional. You can also find other videos on this site offering more information about Bipolar Disorder.More »
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Bipolar I disorder is the most severe form of bipolar disorder. It involves dramatic mood swings that will affect your daily activities. Find out more about this disorder in this video.
Transcript: Bipolar Disorder is comprised of various types, the most severe of which is Bipolar I Disorder. Also...
Bipolar Disorder is comprised of various types, the most severe of which is Bipolar I Disorder. Also known as "manic-depressive disorder," Bipolar I is characterized by dramatic mood swings between "poles" of mania and depression, which can adversely affect a person's normal daily activities, damage relationships, and result in poor performance at work or school. Bipolar I Disorder's "manic" phase may encompass sudden euphoria or rage, along with hyperactivity, garrulousness, decreased need for sleep and reckless behavior. Inflated self-esteem, racing thoughts, preoccupation with irrelevant or unimportant matters, extravagant shopping sprees, risky sexual behavior, or foolish investments are also characteristic. In contrast, the "depressed" phase of Bipolar I Disorder mirrors the symptoms of Major Depression: persistent fatigue and sadness; lack of interest in activities once enjoyed; changes in sleeping and eating patterns; difficulty concentrating; feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness; and thoughts of death or suicide. The mood swings of Bipolar I Disorder are called "episodes." Sufferers may experience both manic and depressive episodes, as well as episodes of "hypomania," a milder form of mania characterized by hyperactivity and euphoria. Episodes of mania typically begin suddenly, and last an average of four months. Depressive episodes may last longer, persisting for approximately six months, but rarely longer than a year. In some instances, symptoms may be so severe that hospitalization is required, either in the case of severe depression where the person is at high risk for suicide, or because a person experiencing a manic episode is completely out of control. Bipolar I Disorder sufferers may also experience "mixed" episodes, which are characterized by depression, along with symptoms of mania or hypomania including anxiety, irritability, racing thoughts, insomnia and agitation. It's believed this combination of manic and depressive symptoms may significantly increase the risk of suicide. While the precise cause of Bipolar I Disorder is not known, experts believe that a number of factors-including biological, genetic and environmental components-may be responsible. Research suggests those with Bipolar I Disorder may have imbalances in important brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine, each of which plays a role in mood and emotions. In addition, about half of sufferers have a family member with a mood disorder. Having a parent with Bipolar I Disorder may pose a 15-25% risk of developing the illness; an identical twin with the disorder may increase risk to more than 85 percent. Bipolar I Disorder may also commonly occur in conjunction with alcoholism or drug addiction, as well as with other mental disorders such as Anorexia, Bulimia, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Social Phobia and Panic Disorder. Studies suggest Bipolar I Disorder is equally common in men and women, and most often develops in the late teens or early adulthood, but may occur in children as young as preschool age. According to the American Psychiatric Association, diagnosis of Bipolar I Disorder involves at least one manic or mixed episode, and may involve at least one episode of depression. With proper diagnosis and treatment, most people with Bipolar I Disorder can lead healthy and productive lives. If you think you may be suffering from Bipolar I Disorder, please see a mental health professional.More »
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Creating a bipolar disorder self-help plan can help you take an active role in your treatment. Adding yoga, swimming or nature walks are helpful activities. Learn what else you can do.
Transcript: While medication and psychotherapy are the typical prescription for bipolar disorder, there are many...
While medication and psychotherapy are the typical prescription for bipolar disorder, there are many things you can do to take an active role in helping yourself stay balanced, recognize warning signs of manic and depressive episodes, and better manage your illness. One of the most important ways you can help yourself is to learn as much as possible about your illness, and share information about bipolar disorder with your family and friends, so they can better understand what you are experiencing. Experts say that keeping a mood diary is an extremely valuable tool for tracking your emotions on a daily basis, seeing how your moods fluctuate over time and becoming more aware of certain symptoms or situations that can precede a manic or depressive episode. Being attuned to your moods can help you better recognize early warning signs of manic or depressive episodes, enabling you to minimize or stop them before they start, and help you get the appropriate treatment faster. Keeping a regular schedule is also important. Routine and consistency may help you gain better emotional balance. Every day, eat three healthy meals, take your medications as prescribed and go to bed at the same time. A regular sleep schedule is important to overall mental and physical well-being. This may be challenging, however, as depression can make falling asleep or staying asleep difficult. At the same time, lack of sleep, or oversleeping, may trigger a shift in mood. Fortunately, another self-help strategy is regular physical exercise, which may lead to more restful sleep. Practicing yoga, taking a swim or performing aerobics for at least 30 minutes a day, several days a week, may help reduce your stress levels. Additionally, physical activity works to relieve depression symptoms, and may also reduce manic energy. Equally important is eating a healthy diet that ensures you're getting the nutrients your body needs for healthy functioning, such as lean meats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. In managing your bipolar disorder, the things you avoid may be as important as what you prioritize. For example, self-medicating with alcohol or drugs may potentially worsen depression symptoms, affect your medication's effectiveness, or trigger a mood episode, typically leading to additional problems. Similarly, stimulants like caffeine and nicotine may affect sleeping patterns and potentially exacerbate your mood. So try avoiding, coffee, tea and soda. Finally, consider joining a support group, either in your community or online, where you can benefit from the shared experiences of others who understand what you're going through. If you or someone you know is affected by bipolar disorder, please see a mental health professional. To learn more, see additional videos about Bipolar Disorder on this site.More »
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Typically bipolar is treated with medication and psychotherapy. But alternative therapies for bipolar disorder are also an option you can choose. Watch this video.
Transcript: Treatment for bipolar disorder typically involves medication and psychotherapy, though a number of alternative...
Treatment for bipolar disorder typically involves medication and psychotherapy, though a number of alternative therapies exist that may help you manage your illness, often without adverse side effects. Bipolar patients may find that alternative options, such as light and dark therapy, mindfulness meditation, yoga and various forms of exercise may complement conventional treatments, empowering them to better manage their illness. Light and dark therapy focuses on sensitivities to our biological clock that can interfere with critical sleep and wake cycles in bipolar patients. By managing the sufferer's exposure to light, this therapy helps regulate biological rhythms, reducing mood cycling. Mindfulness meditation, which pairs stress reduction with breathing techniques, and cognitive behavioral therapies, may help sufferers learn to recognize and deflect negative thoughts and thinking patterns. Meditation is also believed to activate endorphin release, leading to positive feelings of wellbeing that may linger beyond the meditation period. Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese healing method that seeks to balance and restore life force, called "chi," is currently being studied as a complementary therapy for bipolar disorder. Studies suggest acupuncture may reduce symptoms of depression as well as mania, and may also help relieve stress. Acupuncture helps restores chi through insertion and manipulation of needles along the affected meridian, stimulating the body's ability to overcome imbalances. Acupuncture is linked to improved sleep, increased endorphins, and the release of serotonin, a brain chemical important in mood regulation. Tai chi, also dating back to ancient China, is an exercise system of smooth, slow movements, used to achieve harmony and balance between body and mind. Researchers report that tai chi practitioners experience an enhanced sense of wellbeing, as well as reduced depression, tension and fatigue. Yoga is believed to help ease bipolar's depression and mood swing symptoms, while massage therapy helps to relieve the anxiety by impacting the body's biochemistry. Studies suggest levels of the stress hormone Cortisol may drop as much as 50 percent following a massage. These alternative therapies may be effective in complementing traditional treatments. It's important, however, to talk with your mental health professional about any alternative approaches you're using or considering.More »
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How well do bipolar disorder and dating go together? People with bipolar disorder can successfully engage in relationships, but it's important to share information about the condition early on. Watch this video for tips on dating and sustaining a relationship if you have bipolar order.
Transcript: Relationships can be a challenging even under the most ideal circumstances. If you have bipolar disorder,...
Relationships can be a challenging even under the most ideal circumstances. If you have bipolar disorder, it may be much harder to establish and sustain relationships. Still, many couples in which a significant other is bipolar are able to make it work. Trust, sharing, communication, loyalty, intimacy, and the flexibility to change and grow over time, are typical hallmarks of a healthy relationship. So, while you don't have to let bipolar disorder define a relationship, it's essential to be honest early on. When should you tell a potential partner you have bipolar disorder? Experts say it isn't necessary to bring up the illness on a first date, but advise telling the other person about your illness once the potential to become more serious develops. While most people have heard of bipolar disorder, it's likely they may have preconceived notions or an inaccurate understanding of the illness. So start simply, with the facts. You may want to explain that bipolar is a mood disorder of dramatic up and down mood swings. As with other medical conditions, like diabetes or hypertension, you take medication and see a medical professional to help your symptoms. It may also be helpful to provide materials about the illness, or spend some time together learning about the disorder online. You may also want to explain behaviors that often characterize the illness like the euphoria, increased productivity and recklessness that may result from mania, as well as periods of debilitating depression. Having a relationship when living with Bipolar Disorder may be challenging, but it's not impossible. It does, however, require effort from both partners. It may be helpful to involve your partner in therapy sessions, which may increase understanding of certain behaviors and better help your partner to know how to react. Additionally, your mental health professional may recommend a bipolar support group, where you and your partner may gain valuable insight from the other couples. Many experts recommend a "contract" that allows you and your partner to agree in advance what steps your partner may take, or not take, to help you under certain circumstances. Other ways to help maintain a balanced relationship include keeping a mood diary that, over time, may help you better recognize early warning signs of a manic or depressive episode, enabling you to get treatment more quickly. Experts also say maintaining a regular sleep schedule, eating a healthy diet, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, and exercising several days a week may help you manage stress and better facilitate a well-balanced relationship. If you, or someone you know, may be suffering from Bipolar Disorder, please see a mental health professional. You can also find more videos about Bipolar Disorder on this website.More »
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Medication is not the only tool in an effective bipolar disorder treatment plan. Watch this video about treating bipolar disorder with psychotherapy.
Transcript: Besides medication to stabilize the dramatic mood swings of bipolar disorder, therapy is believed to...
Besides medication to stabilize the dramatic mood swings of bipolar disorder, therapy is believed to help sufferers manage symptoms and life issues, while helping them to control negative thoughts and resolve interpersonal challenges. There are a number of types of therapy (each with its own particular strength) that may be beneficial for people diagnosed with bipolar disorder. These therapies may be conducted privately, in group settings or include the patient and their family members. Therapy allows sufferers to discuss feelings, thoughts and behaviors while promoting insight into the illness and fostering coping skills. Research suggests those who receive therapy may recover more quickly than patients on medication alone. Experts also say maintaining a mood diary and tracking moods on a daily basis may be integral to the therapy process. A diary is a valuable tool for both patient and therapist in identifying symptoms and situations that typically precede a manic or depressive episode. One of the most common types of therapy for bipolar disorder is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, which helps sufferers identify and transform negative or unhealthy thought patterns and behaviors into healthier, more positive ways of coping with, and responding to, stressful situations. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy may also help patients recognize the onset of mania and modify their behavior to minimize an episode, as well as to develop more positive thought patterns and behaviors to help diminish negativity and thwart depression. Another form of therapy, called Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy, helps address and improve relationship issues and daily routines to reduce stress and mood cycling. Key to this approach is the belief that sufferers have highly sensitive biological clocks that may be easily disrupted by subtle differences in routines like sleeping or eating. Another form of therapy, Family-Focused Therapy, helps educate family members about the illness, while helping identify conflicts, and reduce stress and strain within the family dynamic. This type of therapy also helps family members gain awareness, and control, of their emotional response to the illness, and create a healthier, more supportive home environment. Significantly, studies suggest that ongoing therapy, for at least nine months, may be more effective in helping alleviate bipolar depression than medication alone, especially since it's believed that depression medications may be of limited use in treating recurring episodes. If you or someone you know is affected by bipolar disorder, please see a mental health professional.More »
Last Modified: 2014-01-21 | Tags »
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It is possible to cope with bipolar disorder mood swings. By becoming more informed on how to handle your condition, you can minimize them and learn to deal with them. Watch this video.
Transcript: Bipolar disorder is typically characterized by extreme, unpredictable mood swings, ranging from the dramatic...
Bipolar disorder is typically characterized by extreme, unpredictable mood swings, ranging from the dramatic high of mania to the deep low of depression. Coping with these diverse emotional states can pose a monumental challenge for sufferers and the people who care about them. Also known as "manic-depression," the mood swings of bipolar disorder swing between the opposite "poles" of mania and depression. These distinct mood swings, called "episodes," may vary in intensity, ranging from mild to severe. For some people, these manic and depressive episodes may last for weeks or months, while others may experience shorter, more frequent episodes. Getting treatment for bipolar disorder is the most effective way to minimize or prevent mood swings. Experts also suggest that an increased awareness of situations or events that trigger manic or depressive episodes can help reduce their frequency and intensity. Maintaining a mood diary is extremely valuable for tracking your moods on a daily basis, observing how they fluctuate over time to help you become more aware of the symptoms or circumstances that typically precede a manic or depressive episode. Tracking your moods may help you spot increases in energy levels and sex drive that may indicate a pending manic episode. If your energy levels drop progressively, along with your self-esteem and ability to concentrate, a depressive episode may be developing. As well as getting help from a doctor and support from family and friends, knowing what your triggers are may help you head off an episode and keep a change in mood from turning into a major crisis. You may also find that healthy lifestyle changes can help you manage episode triggers. For example, too much or too little sleep may trigger a shift in mood. Try sticking to a regular sleeping schedule. A warm bath or calming music may help if you have trouble sleeping. Try to steer clear of stimulants, such as caffeine and nicotine, which can keep you awake and also pose a risk of triggering an episode. It's also important to avoid self-medicating with alcohol or drugs, which may potentially worsen depression symptoms, affect your medication's effectiveness or trigger a mood episode. If your days tend to be on the erratic side, you may find that establishing a regular routine may reduce stress and help provide a comforting sense of stability. Regular exercise helps reduce stress levels, relieves depression symptoms and may also help reduce manic energy. Episodes of mania or hypomania and depression may not always be preventable, but remaining vigilant about tracking moods, staying on medication, and keeping in touch with your mental health professional, can help you better cope with mood swings and lead a more fulfilling life. If you or someone you know is affected by bipolar disorder, please see a mental health professional. Learn more from additional videos on this site.More »
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