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Bipolar Disorder: What is it? by Maritza Garcia

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also known 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 mood swings can affect a person’s energy levels, behavior, thinking, and overall ability to function.

There are several types of bipolar disorder, including:

1.    Bipolar I Disorder: In this type, a person experiences manic episodes that last for at least seven days or are severe enough to require immediate hospital care. Depressive episodes may also occur.

2.    Bipolar II Disorder: This type involves a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes (less severe than full manic episodes).

3.    Cyclothymic Disorder (Cyclothymia): A milder form of bipolar disorder characterized by periods of hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms that last for at least two years.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder can vary from person to person and may include:

·      Manic symptoms: Increased energy, euphoria, irritability, racing thoughts, decreased need for sleep, reckless behavior, and grandiose beliefs.

·      Depressive symptoms: Sadness, fatigue, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, feelings of worthlessness, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of death or suicide.

The exact cause of bipolar disorder is not fully understood, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic, biological, and environmental factors. It can be diagnosed by a mental health professional through a comprehensive evaluation of symptoms, medical history, and family history. Treatment for bipolar disorder typically involves a combination of medication (such as mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, or antidepressants) and psychotherapy (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy). Lifestyle changes, support groups, and stress management techniques may also be beneficial in managing symptoms and improving quality of life.

It is important for individuals with bipolar disorder to work closely with healthcare providers to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses their specific needs and supports their mental health and well-being. Concierge Counseling Services’ professionals are standing by to answer questions and to assist individuals who meet the above criteria for bipolar disorder.

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