Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bipolar Disorder and Mania

Bipolar Disorder and Mania

Bipolar disorder comes in many different forms and facets.  There are different levels of bipolar disorder and it should not be all categorized as the same. 

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness and episodes of mania and depression can occur rapidly if a person does not seek proper treatment.  There are several types of bipolar disorder that are listed below.  

Bipolar I - Bipolar I often involves periods of severe mood episodes from depression to mania.

Bipolar II - Bipolar II is a milder form of mood elevation, involving less dramatic episodes of hypo-mania that alternate with periods of severe depression.

Cyclothymic Disorder - Cyclothymic Disorder describes periods of hypo-mania with brief periods of depression that are not as extensive or long-lasting as seen in full depressive episodes.

Mixed Features - Mixed Features refers to the occurrence of simultaneous symptoms of opposite mood polarities during manic, hypo-manic or depressive episodes.  It's marked by high energy, sleeplessness, and racing thoughts. At the same time, the person may feel hopeless, despairing, irritable, and suicidal.

Bipolar disorder can look very different in different people. The symptoms vary widely in their pattern, severity, and frequency. Some people are more prone to either mania or depression, while others alternate equally between the two types of episodes. Some have frequent mood disruptions, while others experience only a few over a lifetime.

There are four types of mood episodes in bipolar disorder: mania, hypomania, depression, and mixed episodes. Each type of bipolar disorder mood episode has a unique set of symptoms.

In the manic phase of bipolar disorder, feelings of heightened energy, creativity, and euphoria are common. People experiencing a manic episode often talk a mile a minute, sleep very little, and are hyperactive. They may also feel like they’re all-powerful, invincible, or destined for greatness.
But while mania feels good at first, it has a tendency to spiral out of control. People often behave recklessly during a manic episode: gambling away savings, engaging in inappropriate sexual activity, or making foolish business investments, for example. They may also become angry, irritable, and aggressive—picking fights, lashing out when others don’t go along with their plans, and blaming anyone who criticizes their behavior. Some people even become delusional or start hearing voices (helpguide.org)

Common signs and symptoms of mania include:
  • Feeling unusually “high” and optimistic OR extremely irritable
  • Unrealistic, grandiose beliefs about one’s abilities or powers
  • Sleeping very little, but feeling extremely energetic
  • Talking so rapidly that others can’t keep up
  • Racing thoughts; jumping quickly from one idea to the next
  • Highly distractible, unable to concentrate
  • Impaired judgment and impulsiveness
  • Acting recklessly without thinking about the consequences
  • Delusions and hallucinations (in severe cases)
Bipolar disorder is an illness to take very seriously as mood swings can violently change without warning.  Treatment through medication and meeting with a psychiatrist are often needed for an individual to live a successful and peaceful life. 

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