Those who suffer from bipolar disorder are prone to abnormal mood changes, as well as shifting activity and energy levels. This is also sometimes called Manic Depressive Disorder. Needless to say, this shifting behavior can make it difficult to perform what others would call routine daily tasks.
There are four primary symptoms/characteristics to help one determine if they suffer from bipolar disorder. The each revolve around the frequency and severity of fluctuations in energy and mood.
Many of those who suffer from bipolar disorder report that it can be difficult to even get out of bed in the morning. However, these low periods can be followed by manic episodes where energy levels are pinned and it’s nearly impossible to get rest and/or think rationally.
Manic phases can cause a feeling of euphoria, coupled with abnormal energy that leads to even reckless behavior. It’s often closely followed by deep depression, leaving one side and feeling hopeless during what can be lengthy episodes of little activity.
Frequent mood changes of those who have bipolar disorder are known as “cycling” by most professionals and patients. The pattern of cycling is never the same from person to person, nor is it even consistent within one individual.
And between the extremes, patients can experience perfectly healthy feelings behavior much like anyone else when experience. However, the patient must remain vigilant for the onset of either mania or depression.
As noted above, these mood changes can often be abrupt and unpredictable. Rapid cyclers report that there “episodes” move back and forth multiple times in a single day, or for some, only after years. In rare cases, depressive and manic episodes can occur for the same person simultaneously, often creating great confusion and danger.
For some, seasonal changes can function as a trigger for the onset of an episode. The key is to always be self-aware when changes began to occur. Past episodes can and do leave clues about what to expect in the future.
Many sufferers find relief through therapy and/or medication. And while it’s not common, there are patients who find the perfect regimen to minimize, or even stop, mood cycling. It’s important to learn to rely on family and friends in spotting behavioral shifts.
Sometimes, they are able to see the warning signs when you cannot. Tell your friends and acquaintances about your disorder ahead of time. It’s important that they understand what you may be facing, in case your behavior becomes erratic while they are present.
Most Effective Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
In most cases, a combination of counseling, psychiatric care and medication provide the most effective treatment for bipolar disorder. In fact, most patients use more than one medication to create mood stabilization.
Popular drug treatment includes antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics and benzodiazepines. This may sound like a lot to take, but it can be a blessing compared to behavior that is destructive and out-of-control.
No one wants to face a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, because like most mental health conditions, it leaves one feeling less than in control of their life. But it’s important to understand that plenty of treatment help is available, and many drugs are effective for controlling the symptoms.