Bipolar disorder is more common than many think.
Estimates find that around 5% of people worldwide are somewhere on the bipolar spectrum. (Though only 1%-2% of them are officially diagnosed.)
In the U.S. the numbers are that about 4.5% of adults develop bipolar disorder during their lives. And The World Health Organization lists bipolar disorder as one of the 3 top causes for hospitalization for those between 15 and 44 years old.
Guide to Bipolar Disorder
This guide will give you a brief overview of important topics related to bipolar. We’ll cover symptoms, causes and treatment at a high level here. Then link to articles that dig deeper into popular bipolar topics you may want to learn more about.
Bipolar Disorder Symptoms and Signs
Many know that bipolar disorder is characterized by big mood swings. The highs are known as mania. The lows as depression.
Here are the common symptoms and signs for each of those.
Signs of Mania / Hypomania
- Big increase in energy
- Taking fast / jumping from topic to topic
- Being easily distracted
- Having a hard time sleeping / less need to sleep
- Anger and/or aggression toward others
- Displaying risky behavior
- Poor decision making
- Feeling of Self-Importance
Signs of Depression
- Feeling sad / helpless for long periods of time
- Low energy / severe fatigue
- Suicidal thoughts
- Lack of interest in / getting no enjoyment from most activities
- Having a hard time sleeping or sleeping way more than normal
- Big change in appetite
- Memory loss
Bipolar Disorder Causes
The exact cause of bipolar disease is not known. That said, research has found three main things that seem to play a big role in developing bipolar.
Genetics is one. If you have a close relative with bipolar, your chances of having it are higher.
Biological differences in the brain is another. People with bipolar disorder appear to have physical changes that take place in their brain.
The third is stress.
Bipolar Disorder Treatments
There is no cure for bipolar disease. However, there are bipolar disorder treatments that can help people manage the symptoms.
Medications is one option. Doctors may prescribe antidepressants, antipsychotics and/or mood stabilizers. Sometimes just one type of med is enough to help people manage. Other times, different classes of meds may be needed to get good results.
Another common treatment option is therapy and counseling. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one popular option. It can help identify what triggers bipolar episodes. It is also helpful in teaching patients how to deal with stress in stressful situations.
Another good option is Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT). This helps patients develop consistent routines for sleep, diet and exercise.
In some cases, electroconvulsant therapy (ECT) can be helpful. This is for those who show psychotic symptoms and suffer from severe bipolar depression.
There are also alternative and homeopathic treatment options. We have a few articles that cover some of these options. You can find links to them below.
More Bipolar Disorder Topics
The above barely scratches the surface on bipolar disease. Below are links to a number of articles that dive deeper into common topics of interest.
To learn more about treatment options, you can learn about the most effective treatments for bipolar, bipolar treatment guidelines, holistic treatment options, treating it through diet and also treatment centers for those with bipolar.
Disability is also a big concern for those who have trouble working due to bipolar. First, learn about whether bipolar is even considered a disability (it depends). Then learn about can you get disability here, ssi and bipolar here and tips on how to get disability.
Other topics include the link between trauma and bipolar, triggers and warning signs, controlling bipolar anger (without medication), bipolar vs ptsd and how to help someone with bipolar.