It’s normal to have good days and bad days. Some people, however, struggle with extreme mood swings that don’t have a clear trigger. One minute they’re feeling hyperactive; the next they plunge into severe depression and can’t find the energy to get out of bed. Repeated unexplained mood episodes are one of the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Some people experience rapid cycling bipolar disorder, with sudden mood swings. There are some signs and symptoms common to every person facing bipolar disorder, however, and those are discussed here.

Understanding Bipolar Disorder

The earliest mentions of bipolar disorder can be traced back to the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370 BC). He described the two moods as melancholia (extreme lows) and mania (extreme highs). The Greeks thought these disorders were caused by excess bile. Today, our understanding of mental health and mood disorders has improved greatly, as have our options for treating bipolar and related disorders.

There are two types of bipolar affective disorder that people should be aware of: Bipolar I Disorder and Bipolar II Disorder. People with Bipolar Disorder I experience extreme mood swings between periods of mania and depression, sometimes going from one extreme to the other in a matter of days or weeks. While people with Bipolar II Disorder only involve episodes of extreme mood swings, milder manic episodes, as well as hypomanic or depressive episode.

Do you or a loved one have the signs of bipolar disorder?!

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Recognizing the Signs of Bipolar Disorder

The first indications of bipolar disorder typically appear when a person is in their late teens or early 20s as they mature and go through changes in their brain structure. They experience mood swings or even cyclothymic disorder, which can turn into bipolar disorder. Professionals aren’t sure how to prevent bipolar disorder, but with early intervention and ongoing treatment, a person can manage the condition.

While young adults are the most likely to develop bipolar symptoms, children and adolescents can also develop bipolar disorder. The biggest sign of bipolar disorders is a person’s erratic behavior, as they appear depressed one moment, then go through manic episodes. In some cases, a person may have other comorbid mental disorders, such as anxiety disorders, major depression or borderline personality disorder, making diagnosis more complex.

The signs of depression in those with bipolar disorder are similar to those in people with depression, but people should also watch out for signs of hidden depression. A person may show signs of a depressed mood or lethargy that doesn’t appear to have a direct cause. Depressive episodes generally last about two weeks or more. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder an individual must have at least one manic or hypomanic episode and one depressive episode within a short time frame. Treating bipolar disorder involves managing these episodes. Though uncommon, manic and depressive symptoms can occur simultaneously. This is often called manic depression or manic depressive illness.

Mania and hypomania have similar symptoms, but mania is more severe. Mania and hypomania symptoms are characterized by an overabundance of energy. A person who’s going through a manic episode may be constantly talkative and unable to sleep.

A person who’s hypomanic may seem happy at first and have more energy. Hypomanic symptoms last up to four days, while severe episodes of mania last up to a week.

Do you or a loved one have the signs of bipolar disorder?!

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Recognizing the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

The symptoms of bipolar disorder can vary depending on the person. As described earlier, Bipolar I disorder is the most severe, while milder episodes are classed as bipolar II disorder. The most important bipolar disorder symptoms are that a person experiences both periods of mania and periods of depression.

Symptoms of depression can vary and are affected by many factors; for example, depression in males and females can be different. It is important to note that depression alone is not enough for a bipolar disorder diagnosis. However, common bipolar depression symptoms include:

  • Indifference and irritability or aggression
  • Low energy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Oversleeping
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Pessimism
  • Inability to concentrate and forgetfulness

Following a depressive episode, a person may experience hypomania or more extreme symptoms of mania. Mild manic symptoms are associated with bipolar II, while stronger symptoms are more common in those with bipolar I disorder.

It’s possible to experience manic depression, which means a person has a manic episode that overlaps with a period of depression. Common mania symptoms include:

  • High energy level and increased talkativeness
  • Hallucinations or psychotic symptoms
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Impulsive actions and irrational decisions
  • High confidence or euphoric attitude

Symptoms of hypomania can include:

  • Overconfidence
  • Being happier than normal
  • Irritability or rudeness
  • Being more energetic or active without a reason
  • Having a strong feeling of mental and physical wellness
  • Being unusually talkative and social
  • Higher libido
  • Having less need for sleep

Early hypomania can progress to mania with more severe symptoms such as hallucinations and insomnia.

Do you or a loved one show any of these symptoms of bipolar disorder?!

Don’t wait another day for treatment for bipolar disorder — Call us today

Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse Can Go Hand in Hand

It’s common for individuals with bipolar disorder to turn to substance abuse to self-medicate their symptoms. This could make the symptoms of bipolar disorder with major depressive episode worse. It’s particularly dangerous for someone with bipolar disorder to self-medicate while taking prescription medication. Mental health services in Austin, Texas, can help those with bipolar disorder manage and can support them if they’re dealing with anxiety disorder or any other mental health condition.

How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed?

The first stage in diagnosing bipolar disorder is a mental health evaluation. Mental health specialists diagnose bipolar disorder by looking at the patterns of a person’s depressive and manic periods. If someone shows a pattern of episodes, they may benefit from bipolar disorder treatment.

Many doctors in Georgetown, TX recommend Alta Loma Transformational Services for those struggling with mental heath conditions. It is often thought of as the premier long-term mental health treatment program not just in the Austin area, but all of Texas.

Bipolar Treatment Helps Stabilize Moods and Manage Symptoms

Though bipolar disorder is a chronic condition, mental health professionals can treat bipolar disorder with medication and other techniques. There are bipolar treatment centers in Texas that can help people suffering from bipolar disorder to recover.

Mood stabilizers and atypical antipsychotics can help manage the condition. Doctors will often prescribe antidepressant medication to individuals with bipolar disorder, starting with mild drugs and the lowest possible dosage to treat each manic or depressive episode. Stronger doses may be used for severe hypomanic and depressive symptoms or those with other mental health conditions.

In some cases, complementary and alternative medicine could be recommended or support through the Bipolar Support Alliance. Talk therapy sessions can help those with mild symptoms.

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Get Started With Bipolar Disorder Treatment at Alta Loma

If you’re experiencing manic or hypomanic episodes or worried a loved one is developing bipolar disorder or another mental illness, it’s important to seek expert advice. A professional diagnosis is the first step toward managing the condition.

Alta Loma Transformational Services can help guide you and provide you with qualified, evidence-based treatments for the different types of bipolar disorder. Call (866) 457-3843 to book an appointment today.