"How to Recognize, Cope and Deal with
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Bipolar Disorder (BP)
Bipolar Disorder is also known as manic-depression. It is characterized by extreme highs and lows, and severe mood swings, and often prevents normal function at work and at home. This is not your typical case of "the blues." It isn’t the normal cycle of up and down days we all have from stress, too little sleep, losing the lottery drawing, or breaking up with a boyfriend.
Bipolar Disorder is a serious disorder that can result in strained or broken relationships, poor job performance, and poor performance in school or group settings. Symptoms do not go away in a week or two. If left untreated, the disorder can even result in suicide. There have been significant advances in the treatment of this disorder. If you are diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, and you seek and follow an appropriate treatment plan, you can expect to be productive, and to lead a normal life.
What are the symptoms?
There are two types of Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar I is characterized by severe, debilitating symptoms, with extreme episodes that can include some or all of the following:
Bipolar II is also called Hypomania. Bipolar II episodes and symptoms are significantly less extreme than Bipolar I behaviors.
How is it diagnosed and treated?
Bipolar Disorder is usually diagnosed by a psychiatrist, a specialist, equipped to recognize the symptoms. An accurate diagnosis is very important, because treatment will usually include medications. If the wrong medications are prescribed, symptoms may worsen, or side effects may occur. It is wise to have a medical evaluation to be sure the symptoms do not come from another source, like poor thyroid or kidney function, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, lupus, even sodium imbalance. Bipolar Disorder can also be misdiagnosed as other psychiatric disorders like borderline personality, eating disorders, or schizophrenia.
If Bipolar Disorder is confirmed, a combination of therapies is often used with good results. These can reduce the frequency and severity of episodes. Treatment(s) can include: