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What You Need to Know About Bipolar Disorder

Are you looking to learn more about bipolar disorder for yourself or a loved one? Bipolar disorder (BPD), also known as “manic depression”, is a mental health condition that’s recognized around the world by psychiatrists and psychological professionals. In this article, we’ll cover what bipolar disorder is, common symptoms, diagnosis, benefits of getting help from a professional, and treatment options.

What is Bipolar Disorder?
A girl with bipolar disorder struggling with her emotions as she looks outside the window

When someone suffers from bipolar disorder, this is usually associated with extremely low and high moods (mood swings). These mood fluctuations are commonly referred to as “mania” or “hypomania” (abnormally happy moods) and depression (sad moods). Manic, hypomanic, and depressive episodes can influence sleep, emotions, self-confidence, decision-making, interest in activities or hobbies, communication, energy, thinking, weight, and much more.

There are a few different types of bipolar disorder, including:

Bipolar I Disorder

With bipolar I disorder, there are extreme fluctuations in behaviour that include manic “up” periods that last at least a week and are so severe that medical attention or hospitalization is needed. This type also includes extreme “down” periods where an individual might be feeling extreme depression that last at least two weeks. These contrasting episodes often appear in patterns of cycles.

Bipolar II Disorder

This type also involves a cycle of highs and lows, but it isn’t as extreme as bipolar I and doesn’t last as long.

How is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed?

Concerned Person With Black Hair And Black Clothing On A Bus Alone Reading On Their Phone Holding A Water Bottle

It’s extremely difficult to diagnose yourself or someone you know with bipolar disorder. Even though you may see lots of similarities or have a familiarity with the symptoms, a family doctor or psychiatrist should be consulted. They will be able to properly answer questions about bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses you may be struggling with.

Diagnosing an individual with bipolar disorder is about determining whether or not the symptoms associated with their high and low episodes are the cause of BPD or other issues like thyroid problems, depressive disorders, alcohol or drug abuse, or similar mental illnesses. There can be so many different factors to consider with bipolar disorder and other mental disorders, which is why contacting a professional is the best option. Here at Capital Choice Counselling, you can contact us with any questions or concerns you may have. We have a wide variety of experts and professionals that are here at your disposal, and since we have many counsellors who are experts in multiple mental health areas, we can accommodate your needs.

Benefits of Getting Help

People with bipolar disorder might actually enjoy their manic or hypomanic episodes because they feel more productive or happy during these times. However, these periods of euphoria are always followed by an emotional crash. Many individuals with bipolar disorder may not even realize how much their cycle of high and low episodes can negatively impact their lives.

Addressing bipolar disorder and its associated symptoms early on can prevent episodes from getting worse. Identifying possible patterns or triggers can make episodes more manageable and consulting with a doctor can help you flag these triggers or warning signs.

Quality of life can be greatly improved when help is sought out to get your symptoms under control. It can also improve for loved ones and family members that are involved in your life. Not only does bipolar disorder cause problems in daily life for the individual diagnosed, but these disruptions can also create stressful family dynamics and negatively impact relationships.

Treatments & Managing Symptoms

Man With Bipolar Disorder On A Couch In Counselling Speaking With A Psychiatrists

Bipolar disorder is a long-term condition that needs ongoing care and attention. The symptoms an individual with bipolar disorder is experiencing can significantly improve with treatment. Medication or mood stabilizers can be a large part of treatment, along with psychotherapy (talk therapy), and in rare cases electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

As mentioned, relationships and family members can also be impacted when a loved one suffers from bipolar disorder. So family members might also benefit from professional help and resources like support groups.

Feel free to reach out to the professionals at Capital Choice Counselling. We can help during this process of uncertainty and provide life-changing help. To schedule a consultation at Capital Choice Counselling, call us at 613-425-4012.