Most people have emotional ups and downs from time to time. But in case you have a brain condition known as Bipolar Disorder, your feelings can attain abnormally high or low levels.
At times you may feel immensely excited or energetic. Other times, you may find yourself sinking into a deep depression. Some of these emotional peaks and valleys can last for weeks or even months.
There are four fundamental types of bipolar disorder:
- Bipolar 1 disorder
- bipolar 2 disorder
- cyclothymic disorder (cyclothymia)
- other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorders
Bipolar 1 and 2 disorders are more common than the other kinds of bipolar disorder. Read on to find out how these two types are different and alike.
Bipolar 1 vs. bipolar 2
All types of bipolar disorder are characterized by episodes of extreme disposition. The highs are known as manic episodes. The lows are referred to as depressive episodes.
The main difference between bipolar 1 and bipolar 2 disorders is in the harshness of the manic episodes caused by each type.
A person with bipolar 1 will experience a full manic episode, while a person with bipolar 2 will undergo only a hypomanic episode (a period that is less severe than a full manic episode).
A person who has bipolar 1 may or may not experience a major depressive episode, while a person who has bipolar 2 will experience a major depressive episode.
What is bipolar 1 disorder?
You must have had at least one manic episode to be diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder. A person with bipolar 1 disorder may or may not have a major depressive episode. The symptoms of a manic episode may be so severe that you need hospital maintenance .
Manic episodes are often characterized by the following:
- Exceptional energy
- difficulty concentrating
- feelings of euphoria (extreme happiness)
- risky behaviors
- poor sleep
The symptoms of a manic episode are inclined to be so obvious and intrusive that there is very little doubt that something isn’t right.
What is bipolar 2 disorder?
Bipolar 2 disorder involves a major depressive episode lasting at least two weeks and at least one hypomanic episode (a span that’s less severe than a full-blown manic episode). Individuals with bipolar 2 don’t experience manic episodes extreme enough to need hospitalization.
Bipolar 2 is sometimes misdiagnosed as depression, as depressive symptoms may be the significant symptom in the time that the person seeks medical attention. When there are no manic episodes to indicate bipolar disorder, the depressive symptoms become the focus.
What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?
As stated previously, bipolar 1 disorder causes mania and may lead to depression, while bipolar 2 disorder causes hypomania and depression. Let’s learn more about these symptoms mean.
A manic episode is more than just a sense of elation, high energy, or being diverted. During a manic episode, the mania is so intense it may interfere with your everyday activities. It is hard to redirect someone at a manic episode prior to a calmer, more reasonable state.
Individuals who are in the manic phase of bipolar disorder can make some rather irrational decisions, like spending large amounts of money that they can not afford to invest. They may also take part in high-risk behaviors’, such as sexual indiscretions despite being in a relationship.
An episode can not be formally deemed manic if it is brought on by outside influences such as alcohol, drugs, or another medical condition.
A hypomanic episode is a span of mania that’s less severe than the usual full-blown manic episode. Even less severe than a manic episode, a hypomanic phase is still an event in which your behavior differs from your regular state. The gaps will be intense enough that people around you may notice that something is wrong.
Officially, a hypomanic episode isn’t considered hypomania if it is influenced by drugs or alcohol.
Depressive symptoms in someone with bipolar disorder are like those of someone with clinical depression. They may include prolonged periods of despair and despair. You may also experience a loss of interest in people you once enjoyed spending some time with and activities you used to like. Other symptoms include:
- difficulty concentrating
- changes in sleeping habits
- changes in eating habits
- ideas of suicide
What causes bipolar disorder?
Scientists do not know what causes bipolar disorder. Abnormal physical qualities of the brain or an imbalance in certain brain chemicals may be among the main causes.
Like many medical conditions, bipolar disorder tends to run in families. In case you have a sibling or parent with bipolar disorder, your risk of developing it’s higher. The search continues for the genes which may be accountable for bipolar disorder.
Researchers also believe that severe stress, alcohol or drug abuse, or badly upsetting experiences may trigger bipolar disorder. These experiences can include youth abuse or the death of a loved one.
How is bipolar disorder diagnosed?
A psychiatrist or other mental health practitioner normally diagnoses bipolar disorder. The analysis will have a review of both your medical history and any symptoms that you have which are related to mania and depression. A trained professional will know what questions to ask.
It can be very helpful to bring a partner or close friend with you through the doctor’s visit. They may have the ability to answer questions about your behavior that you may not be able to answer easily or correctly.
If you have symptoms which look like bipolar 1 or 2 bipolar 2, you can always begin by telling your doctor. Your doctor may consult with a mental health professional if your symptoms appear serious enough.
A blood test may also be a part of the diagnostic process. There are no markers for bipolar disorder from the blood, but a blood test and a thorough physical exam may help rule out other potential causes for your behavior.
How is bipolar disorder treated?
Doctors usually treat bipolar disorder with a combination of medications and psychotherapy.
Mood stabilizers are frequently the first medication used in treatment. You may take these for a long time.
Lithium has been a widely used mood stabilizer for several years. It does have several possible side effects. These include low thyroid function, joint pain, and stomach upset. It also requires blood tests to monitor therapeutic levels of the medication in addition to kidney function. Antipsychotics may be used as a treatment for manic episodes.
Your doctor may start you on a minimal dose of whichever medication you both decide to utilize in order to observe how you react. You may require a stronger dose than what they initially prescribe. You may also need a combination of medications or even different medications to control your symptoms.
All medications have potential side effects and interactions with other medications. If you’re pregnant or you take other medications, be sure to tell your doctor before taking any new medications.
Writing in a diary can be an especially useful part of your treatment. Keeping an eye on your moods, eating and sleeping patterns, and important life events can assist you and your doctor know how treatment and medications are functioning.
If your symptoms don’t improve or get worse, your doctor may order a change in your medications or a different sort of psychotherapy.
What’s the outlook?
Bipolar disorder is not curable. But with proper treatment and support from family members and friends, you can manage your symptoms and preserve your quality of life.
It’s imperative that you follow your doctor’s instructions regarding medications and other lifestyle options. This includes:
- Alcohol use
- Medication usage
- stress reduction
Adding your friends and family members in your care can be especially helpful.
It’s also useful to learn as much as you can about bipolar disorder. The more you know about the illness, the more in control you may feel as you adapt to life after identification.
You may be able to repair strained connections. Educating others about bipolar disorder may make them more comprehension of hurtful events in the past.
Support groups, both online and in person, can be great for those who have bipolar disorder. They can also be beneficial for your friends and relatives. Learning about others’ struggles and triumphs may help you get through some challenges you may have.
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance maintains a website that provides:
Personal stories from individuals with bipolar disorder
Contact information for support groups across the USA
Information about the status and remedies
Material for caregivers and loved ones of those with bipolar disorder
The National Alliance on Mental Illness may also aid you in finding support groups in your area. Fantastic information about bipolar disorder and other ailments may also be found on its website.
If you have been diagnosed with bipolar 1 or bipolar 2, you should always remember that this is a state you are able to manage. You’re not alone. Talk with your doctor or phone a local hospital to find out about support groups or other regional resources.