Can anyone explain Bipolar Disorder?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2013
Can anyone explain Bipolar Disorder?
6
Thu, 02-07-2013 - 10:24am

Can anyone explain Bipolar Disorder to me? I just had my first appointment with my primary care physician and he suggested I may be dealing a Bipolar Disorder and has referred me to a psychiatrist. How is this diagnosed and how is it treated? Thanks for your help.

Avatar for cmkarla
Administrator
Registered: 01-03-2001
Mon, 02-11-2013 - 10:56am

Hi Phyllis and welcome to the board. I found some information for you from iVillage Health that may help explain some things to you: http://www.ivillage.com/bipolar-disorder-0/4-o-88437

Good luck and do stop by often to tell us how you are doing.

Karla
Community ModeratoriVillage.com

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
Tue, 02-12-2013 - 10:19pm

Bipolar can be a roller coaster ride at mach speed, descending into black holes of despair--the time for each and in between times of "normalcy" varies widely by person and sometimes is different for a person at different times (like in winter or spring).  Sometimes a person will lean more heavily to one side of the scale--I have far more problems with depression--kind of a good thing, cause mania for me means shopping (and my budget is not up to many sprees!).  There is no standard test, a therapist (psychologist/psychiatrist) will usually talk to you over several sessions and make a diagnosis based on what you've told him/her about your life.  Occasionally, your symptoms will be so classic it will only take one for at least a temporary diagnosis.  (I'll try to find some more info for you on that.)  Treatment is medication, but it's not an exact science and it can take a while to find what works for you and the right dose.  LOL-nobody told me that and I was miserable, thinking I was doomed, it can be a frustrating experience.  You'll have to stay on medication--think of it like diabetes or any other chronic medical condition--there's no cure yet, so we take meds until there is.  Therapy, either individual or group, is really helpful especially at first.  Hope I answered your questions to start.

Marci

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
Tue, 02-12-2013 - 10:46pm

Here's something from the National Institute of Mental Health:What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?

People with bipolar disorder experience unusually intense emotional states that occur in distinct periods called "mood episodes." An overly joyful or overexcited state is called a manic episode, and an extremely sad or hopeless state is called a depressive episode. Sometimes, a mood episode includes symptoms of both mania and depression. This is called a mixed state. People with bipolar disorder also may be explosive and irritable during a mood episode.

Extreme changes in energy, activity, sleep, and behavior go along with these changes in mood. It is possible for someone with bipolar disorder to experience a long-lasting period of unstable moods rather than discrete episodes of depression or mania.

A person may be having an episode of bipolar disorder if he or she has a number of manic or depressive symptoms for most of the day, nearly every day, for at least one or two weeks. Sometimes symptoms are so severe that the person cannot function normally at work, school, or home.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder are described below.

Symptoms of mania or a manic episode include:Symptoms of depression or a depressive episode include:Mood Changes

  • A long period of feeling "high," or an overly happy or outgoing mood
  • Extremely irritable mood, agitation, feeling "jumpy" or "wired."

Behavioral Changes

  • Talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another, having racing thoughts
  • Being easily distracted
  • Increasing goal-directed activities, such as taking on new projects
  • Being restless
  • Sleeping little
  • Having an unrealistic belief in one's abilities
  • Behaving impulsively and taking part in a lot of pleasurable,
    high-risk behaviors, such as spending sprees, impulsive sex, and impulsive business investments.

Another good resource to keep on tap is www.nami.org  They've got a great pamphlet on Bipolar Disorder in PDF format & are in the forefront on fighting the stigma of any mental illness.

Marci

Mood Changes

  • A long period of feeling worried or empty
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex.

Behavioral Changes

  • Feeling tired or "slowed down"
  • Having problems concentrating, remembering, and making decisions
  • Being restless or irritable
  • Changing eating, sleeping, or other habits
  • Thinking of death or suicide, or attempting suicide.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2013
Wed, 02-20-2013 - 8:52am

Marci, thank you for taking the time to reply to me. I can't really explain it but the roller coaster thing sounds pretty acurate. I go through periods of feeling desperately low to feeling euphoric. I have always felt like I was "different" but no one really understands.

I am concerned if I tell the doctor how I really feel they will lock me up for being crazy.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2013
Wed, 02-20-2013 - 8:53am

Marci, thank you for taking the time to reply to me. I can't really explain it but the roller coaster thing sounds pretty acurate. I go through periods of feeling desperately low to feeling euphoric. I have always felt like I was "different" but no one really understands.

I am concerned if I tell the doctor how I really feel they will lock me up for being crazy.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
Thu, 02-21-2013 - 7:42pm

Phyllis,  You need to be honest with your doc, that's the only way you can get the help you need (and we've all felt like you do right now).  The only reason you will be hospitalized(against your will) is if you are a danger to yourself or others--sometimes a doctor will recommend a short time as an in patient when starting new meds (they can ramp up dosages quicker that way), but you're the one calling the shots.  Right now grab some books, ask your doc questions, ask questions here and just basically educate yourself.  I know it seems scary as H..., but you can learn to manage this and lead a "normal" life.

Hugs,  Marci