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October 11, 2021

Do I Have Bipolar Disorder?

While everyone experiences emotional highs and lows, people with bipolar disorder are on the extreme ends of the spectrum. Bipolar disorder, once called manic depression, can manifest differently for various people, but its characteristics include depressive episodes interspersed with bouts of seemingly boundless energy and excitement. As many as 4.4% of U.S. adults experience bipolar disorder, while an estimated 82.9% of people with bipolar disorder may struggle with severe impairment. What does this mental health condition entail, and what are your options if you suspect you have it?

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar is an illness of dramatic mood swings. When depression strikes, you may feel hopeless, empty and find it challenging to muster up enthusiasm for most activities. Suicidal thoughts are also common in these phases. During manic periods, you might feel euphoric, animated or invincible. These ups and downs can play havoc with your energy levels, judgment, appetite, sleep quality and decision-making skills. 

Manic and depressive episodes can include psychotic symptoms, including delusions and hallucinations. Some people also experience mixed episodes, which simultaneously have characteristics of mania and depression. 

Depending on your symptoms and their severity, a mental health professional may diagnose you with bipolar I, bipolar II or cyclothymia. All three of these types cause drastic, erratic changes in your overall mood and behavior. While there is no cure for bipolar disorder, a long-term treatment plan can help you regulate your emotions and improve your quality of life.

What Causes Bipolar Disorder?

While bipolar symptoms can affect people in any stage of life, the disorder often manifests in adolescence or early adulthood. Though the specific causes remain unknown, your risk of developing bipolar disorder may be higher if your parents have it. However, bipolar disorder’s genetic component remains unclear. Bipolar episodes may also occur during pregnancy or change with the seasons.

Some initial research indicates that people with bipolar disorder may have a different brain structure than those who don’t. Additional research into these differences can help mental health professionals understand bipolar disorder and determine effective treatments.

Some people’s lifestyle choices and environmental factors might influence whether they have bipolar disorder. For example, stressful or traumatic events can trigger disease symptoms. Often, people with bipolar disorder also have other illnesses, such as PTSD, ADHD, anxiety, an eating disorder or substance use issues. Sometimes, these co-occurring disorders can complicate your diagnosis and make it more challenging to develop a successful treatment plan.

How to Get Help for Bipolar Disorder

Keeping up with your mood swings, sleep patterns and daily behavior in a journal or a tracking app may help make your ups and downs more predictable. Knowing when a manic or depressive episode might be coming on can give you a better sense of control. 

Other ways to treat and manage bipolar disorder may include:

  • Prescription medications like antidepressants and antipsychotics
  • Specific, evidence-based therapeutic techniques, such as cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Mood-boosting activities, including meditation, goal-setting and exercise

Seeking Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

Beach House is a leading treatment facility located in beautiful Juno Beach, Florida. At our state-of-the-art campus, you can receive a full continuum of care, from medically managed detox to inpatient rehab and outpatient services. Here, we have built a unique culture that supports the recovery process by surrounding clients with love and compassion. 

At our beautifully appointed, resort-like campus, residents can enjoy the benefits of beachfront living while forming a therapeutic alliance with their treatment team. To learn more about finding freedom from addiction and mental health disorders at Beach House, please reach out to our admissions counselors anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

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