Handling Bipolar Disorder requires careful consideration to ensure a successful recovery journey. It’s essential to understand that every form of this illness can be treated. Recognizing the symptoms in oneself is a significant first step toward healing. At Maui Recovery, we offer personalized treatments that provide the necessary support for treating this condition.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder (often referred to as manic-depressive illness) is a mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). These shifts in mood can affect energy levels, behavior, and the ability to carry out everyday tasks. The episodes of mood swings can be distinct and may last for weeks, or they can be more subtle and interspersed with periods of normal mood.

The exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, but a combination of genetics, environmental factors, and brain structure might play a role. While the mood swings can be challenging to manage, with proper diagnosis and treatment, individuals with bipolar disorder can lead full and productive lives.

People dealing with bipolar disorder often experience episodes of intense emotion in both manic and depressive states. Some of the following signs and symptoms are what a person will encounter while in an episode:

Manic Episode

  • Feeling like you don’t need as much sleep as they did before
  • Thoughts are fast or are in fast-forward mode
  • Feeling more powerful, influential, or talented

Depressive Episode

  • You can feel a sense of worthlessness or experience suicidal ideation
  • Cannot focus and have difficulty with decision-making.
  • Changes in appetite can cause you to eat more and experience weight gain

Types of Bipolar Disorder

There are three different types of Bipolar Disorder. While they are different, they all are known to cause changes in an individual’s mood, energy, and activity levels.

Bipolar I Disorder

With Bipolar I, the manic episodes will last a minimum of 7 days and include such severe manic symptoms that the individual will require immediate hospital care. The person affected can also experience bouts of depression that will typically last a minimum of two weeks.

Bipolar II Disorder

Bipolar II is characterized by hypomanic episodes. While these may be less severe than manic episodes, they still can interfere with a person’s day-to-day functioning. A person diagnosed with bipolar II will also experience depression episodes, though these are often also less severe than those with bipolar I.

Cyclothymic Disorder (also known as Cyclothymia)

A person with Cyclothymia will swing between hypomania and low-grade depression. Because they experience these episodes on a much smaller scale, they do not fall into the category of bipolar I and bipolar II.

A person can be diagnosed with “other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorders” if they experience symptoms that do not necessarily fall into the above categories.

Bipolar Disorder in the United States

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “More than two-thirds of people with bipolar disorder have at least one close relative with the illness or with unipolar major depression, indicating that the disease has a heritable component.”

The National Institute of Mental Health also showed that “bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans, or about 2.6% of the U.S. population age 18 and older every year.”

The survey also revealed that the onset of bipolar disorder could start as early as childhood or as late as the ’50s, with the median age being 25.

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