Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that causes major shifts in a person’s mood and energy levels.  Bipolar disorder used to be known as manic-depressive disorder because moods for patients with the illness alternate between a manic or hyper state and a more depressive state of low activity and hopelessness. 

There are three types of bipolar disorder. They all have the same up and down periods of elation, highly energized and irritable to periods of indifference, hopelessness, and depression.

Bipolar I Disorder 

Manic periods last for at least a week and are followed by depressive episodes lasting usually two weeks. States of mania may be so severe they require immediate medical attention. The manic and depressive symptoms can occur at the same time. 

Bipolar II Disorder 

Both Up and down periods are present but manic episodes are less severe than in Bipolar I disorder. 

Cyclothymic Disorder  

Also known as Cyclothymia, people with this type of bipolar disorder have less severe symptoms but they last for more than two years in adults and one year in children and adolescents. 

Symptoms

The symptoms of Bipolar Disorder vary depending on what period the person is experiencing.  The symptoms may be different for each person but one thing that is generally true is that the behaviors are very different from the individual’s normal demeanor. 

Manic episode symptoms:

  • elation 
  • irritability 
  • jumpiness
  • doesn’t need as much sleep 
  • loss of appetite 
  • mind races
  • fast-talking 
  • risky behaviors recklessness 
  • feel overly important 
  • tries to do a lot at once 

Depressive episode symptoms: 

  • hopelessness 
  • restlessness 
  • feeling down 
  • insomnia or sleep too much
  • increased appetite 
  • forgetful 
  • slow-talking 
  • lack of interest 
  • worthlessness 
  • think about death or suicide 

Diagnosis 

If you think you may have bipolar disorder, it is important to be diagnosed by a doctor or health care worker to first rule out other medical conditions that could be causing or contributing to the problems and then by a psychiatrist or other licensed mental health professional to diagnose the bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is often mistaken for depression because the manic period may not be as severe or may not feel as problematic as the depressive period. 

Treatments 

The treatments for bipolar disorder include psychotherapy and medications. Medications for bipolar disorder are mood stabilizers, called that because they are designed to keep you from getting too high or too low. Common mood stabilizers are Lithium, Carbamazepine, Divalproex, Lamotrigine, and Valproic Acid These drugs treat the entire episode of mania or depression. Antipsychotic medications may be used with or without mood stabilizers to target the symptoms of mania. They include drugs like Haloperidol, Loxapine, Risperidone, Aripiprazole, Ziprasidone, and others. Doctors usually avoid prescribing antidepressants because while then may help with depression, they can trigger mania. 

Bipolar disorder can be managed. By working closely with your doctor and mental health professional, you can find a treatment option that works for you.

If you suffer from Major Depressive Disorder and you can’t find an antidepressant that effectively treats your depression, there is another solution.  Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a non-invasive treatment for depression that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate the areas of the brain associated with depression.  It can provide safe, drug-free relief or even remission from the symptoms of depression that can be so debilitating. At GatewayTMS, we provide TMS treatments in a calming, relaxed atmosphere and are focused on your health and wellbeing.  Call GatewayTMS today at (314)909-8487 to find out if TMS is right for you.