Signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder (also known as bipolar disease, bipolar depression and manic depression) is an often-misdiagnosed or misunderstood condition. Many people who suffer from it aren't aware of it, and their family members or friends may not know exactly what they are experiencing in their loved one when bipolar symptoms present.
Bipolar disorder symptoms usually appear sometime between the late teens and age 25. This condition is extremely severe, wreaking havoc on the sufferer's mood and personality. People who suffer from bipolar disorder often have difficulty leading a normal life, developing relationships and holding down a job because their symptoms make it impossible for them to do so.
Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
Bipolar disorder sufferers typically swing between two extreme emotional and psychological states:
- Mania. When a sufferer is going through a period of mania, symptoms include feelings of euphoria and invincibility (often leading to the desire for increased risk-taking and impulsiveness), jumpiness and disturbed sleep.
- Depression. In a depressive period, bipolar disorder symptoms include loss of interest in activities, fatigue, changes in eating and sleeping habits, difficulty concentrating and suicidal thoughts.
Parents of young children rarely have to ask themselves, "What are the signs of bipolar disorder and does my child have them?" but the reality is that early-onset bipolar disorder can occur. Symptoms of a bipolar child are similar to symptoms of other conditions, such as ADD, but are usually more extreme. They generally include extreme anger that can last for hours, risk-seeking and dangerous behavior, and an extreme reaction to any kind of parental boundaries.
Bipolar Disorder Treatment
There is no known cure for bipolar disorder, but treatment options are available. The best treatment for bipolar disorder includes a combination of medications and individual and family therapy. Medications may include mood stabilizers, antidepressants and antipsychotics.
It's important to note that the medications for bipolar disorder can cause difficult side effects, such as extreme fatigue and mental fuzziness. Often, people with bipolar disorder will stop taking their medication either because they cannot cope with the side effects or because they believe they are cured. It's critical, however, that those with bipolar disorder stay on their medication long-term to help control the symptoms of the condition.