Online Therapy for Bipolar Disorder
On the United We Care mental health platform, you can find licensed bipolar disorder counselors and therapists who are specialized in assessing, diagnosing, and treating manic and depressive episodes of bipolar disorder.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar Disorder is a serious psychiatric disorder characterized by the presence of manic and depressive episodes. During manic episodes, a person may feel a decreased need for sleep, overactive thoughts, excessive self-esteem or disregard for the consequences of their actions, whereas depressive episodes might result in diminished interest in any type of leisure activities, weight loss or gain, excessive sleep, fatigue, or a sense of hopelessness and worthlessness.
Types of Bipolar Disorder
Each type of bipolar disorder is defined by the length, frequency, and pattern of episodes of mania and depression.
Bipolar 1 Disorder
This type is characterized by periods of severe mood episodes from mania to depression. People with Bipolar I disorder experience at least one episode of mania.
Bipolar II Disorder
This type involves one or two episodes of depression, and at least one episode of hypomania.
This is a milder form of bipolar disorder. People with Cyclothymic Disorder don't have severe episodes of mania or major depression. Rather, the disorder consists of cyclical mood swings.
Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
The symptoms of Bipolar Disorder look very different in different people. The pattern, severity and frequency vary widely.
Types of Mood Episodes
There are 4 types of mood episodes in bipolar disorder:
- Mixed episodes of Mania, Hypomania and Depression
- Feelings of heightened energy, creativity and euphoria
- Unrealistic beliefs about one’s abilities or powers
- Sleeping very little, but feeling extremely energetic
- Racing thoughts (jumping quickly from one idea to the next)
- Highly distractible and unable to concentrate
- Impaired judgment and impulsiveness
- Acting recklessly without thinking about the consequences
- Delusions and hallucinations (in severe cases)
Hypomania is a less severe form of mania. In this state, although there are feelings of euphoria, high energy and productivity, the patient is still able to carry on with day-to-day activities without losing touch with reality. Hypomania often results in bad decisions that harm relationships, careers, and reputation.
Bipolar Depression Symptoms
- Feeling hopelessness, sadness, or emptiness
- Inability to experience pleasure
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Physical and/or mental sluggishness
- Appetite or weight changes
- Sleep Issues
- Difficulty in concentration
- Memory problems
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Mixed Bipolar EpisodesA mixed episode of bipolar disorder can have symptoms of mania (or hypomania) and depression. Some common symptoms of a mixed episode include:
- Depression combined with agitation
- Racing Thoughts
This combination of high energy and low mood makes the patient a high suicide risk.
Causes of Bipolar Disorder
There are a combination of factors which can cause Bipolar disorder:
People are more likely to develop bipolar disorder if they have a close family member with the condition. Someone with a parent or sibling with bipolar disorder has a 4 to 6 times higher risk of developing it as compared to someone who does not.
There is a part in the brain called the hippocampus, which is associated with the memory. It is indirectly connected with moods and impulses. The loss or damage to the brain cells in the hippocampus can lead to mood disorders. Also, If there is an imbalance in the neurotransmitters or hormones that affect the brain, it may play a role in the development of Bipolar Disorder.
According to scientists, lifestyle and environmental factors play a role in bipolar disorder, such as:
- Extreme stress
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Substance abuse
- Death of a family member or loved one
- Physical illness
- Ongoing concerns that affect daily life, such as money or work problems
Effects of Bipolar Disorder
Here are the effects of Bipolar disorder that people may experience:
Irritability, unorganized behavior, aggression, agitation, excess desire for sex, hyperactivity, impulsivity, restlessness, or self-harm.
Unwanted thoughts, delusions, lack of concentration, clumsiness, inactivity, or false beliefs of superiority.
Depression, manic episodes, agitated depression, or paranoia
Effects on Mood
Mood swings, sadness, anger, anxiety, euphoria, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, general loss of interest, or loss of interest or pleasure in activities.
Do I Have Bipolar Disorder? | Online Bipolar Screening Test
It is recommended to seek the help of a medical professional to diagnose the symptoms of bipolar disorder. A therapist usually conducts a physical exam, inquire about recent highs and lows, chat your mood swings in the past week and compare your symptoms to those present in DSM-5 to diagnose bipolar disorder.
Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
Here are the recommended treatments for Bipolar Disorder:
CBT-based psychotherapy is a great treatment for long-term bipolar disorder. A psychotherapist is trained to not just diagnose the disorder, but also to motivate the patient to avail treatment. People with bipolar disorder may not feel that something is wrong with them, even though their close friends and family may recognize the sudden changes due to onset of the disorder. Lack of proper treatment could lead to long-term damage for the patient. By working with a therapist, you can learn how to cope with difficult or uncomfortable feelings, repair your relationships, manage stress, and regulate your mood.
Medication is the base in the treatment of Bipolar disorder. It helps in minimizing the highs and lows of bipolar disorder, and keeps the symptoms under control. Do not stop medication without consulting your doctor.
It is very important for you and your loved ones to educate yourself about Bipolar Disorder to avoid problems and dealing with setbacks.
Natural Remedies for Bipolar Disorder | Alternative Bipolar Disorder Treatment
Moderate and regular exercise can help balance the mood and prevent a number of health problems, such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. There are a number of other alternative remedies along with medication and therapy to help manage the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder:
A variety of lifestyle changes will improve the overall quality of life.
Sleeping for 6-8 hours every night is very important to maintain a balance in mood. You could try going to bed and getting up at a fixed time, making sure the room is comfortable, and avoiding screen time before bed.
Maintaining a healthy diet helps in reducing the risk of mental health conditions such as diabetes, low bone density and cardiovascular disease. Always ensure that the diet is varied, well-balanced, and has plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Regular exercise for 20-30 mins helps in balancing the mood, and prevents a number of health problems such as obesity and cardiovascular disease.
The approach of mindfulness mediation is to bring your awareness on the present moment and break negative thinking patterns.Sit in a comfortable place quietly and focus on your natural breathing or on a word or “mantra” that you repeat silently. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment and return to your focus on breath or mantra.Practice this daily for better results.
Blogs About Bipolar Disorder | Expert Advice
2 Types of Bipolar Disorder | A Definitive Guide
In this bipolar guide, we talk all about bipolar disorder, its signs & symptoms and how to treat the 2 types of bipolar disorder.