Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms, Relief, and More

Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms, Relief, and More

What’s bipolar disorder?

Euphoric (or extremely elevated) or irritable mood and increased energy or activity for one week (or more) that displays 3 out of 7 symptoms of Mania including social or work impairment, followed by one-two weeks of a depressive episode. Usually, depressive episodes occur as well, typically lasting at least 2 weeks. Episodes of depression with mixed features (having depression and manic symptoms at the same time) are also possible.

What are possible symptoms of Mania?

  • Decreased Sleep
  • Talkative
  • Racing thoughts
  • Distractibility
  • Increased goal-oriented activity
  • Impulsiveness

What are possible symptoms of Depression?

  • Sadness
  • Interest Loss
  • Guilt or Worthlessness
  • Energy Loss
  • Concentration Loss
  • Appetite Change
  • Psychomotor Agitation or Persistent Irritability
  • Sleep Change
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Hopelessness
  • Low Self-Esteem

Note, there are several types of bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar I Disorder— defined by manic episodes that last at least 7 days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care. Usually, depressive episodes occur as well, typically lasting at least 2 weeks. Episodes of depression with mixed features (having depression and manic symptoms at the same time) are also possible.
  • Bipolar II Disorder— defined by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but not the full-blown manic episodes described above.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder (also called cyclothymia)— defined by numerous periods of hypomanic symptoms as well numerous periods of depressive symptoms lasting for at least 2 years (1 year in children and adolescents). However, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for a hypomanic episode and a depressive episode.

What are some things I can do that’ll provide relief?

  • Remind yourself that racing thoughts are not true, just part of the illness
  • Journal your symptoms and experiences
  • Practice mindfulness and being present
  • Create a routine/structure and stick to a strict sleep schedule
  • Avoid any mind-altering substances, including alcohol
  • Create feelings of accomplishment and being productive
  • Educate yourself on bipolar to be able to better understand yourself
  • Exercise frequently and avoid sitting for long periods of time
  • Don’t isolate yourself, but spend time with supportive friends or family members
  • Make time to relax a priority and enjoy leisure time
  • Eat a healthy diet and get your omega-3’s
  • Get involved in your community through volunteering and/or mentoring
  • Work on having consistency with your schedule of socialization with supportive people
  • Working on learning de-stressing skills
  • Finding things to do that help you express your creativity

What are some medical interventions that can help me?

  • Counseling
  • Seeing a Psychiatrist
  • Naturopathic Medicine
  • Intensive Outpatient Group Counseling including DBT therapy
  • Inpatient Hospitalization (if needed for stabilization)
  • Magnesium and Vitamin D (Mayo Clinic)
  • Diet and Exercise
  • Working on Sleep Hygiene and a structured sleep schedule
  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

These techniques do not replace medical advice. Speak with your healthcare practitioner if you think you are suffering with depression. The DSM-5 strives to conceptualize an illness as a spectrum, with a domain that should be construed as normal.

 

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