How to overcome Bipolar Disorder – Self Help

What is bipolar disorder?

Extreme mood swings are a feature of the mental health disease bipolar disorder. Manic episodes—also characterized as periods of excessive energy, irritability, and activity—are common in people with bipolar disorder, as are depressive episodes. A person experiencing a manic episode could experience euphoria, excessive energy, and trouble falling asleep. They might act impulsively or riskily, going on shopping binges, speeding, or participating in unsafe sexual conduct. Additionally, they might talk too much and have frenzied ideas. A person experiencing a depressive episode could feel extremely hopeless, have almost no energy and struggle to go about their regular lives. They might also experience adjustments in their eating, sleeping, and thinking.

Bipolar disorder symptoms differ from individual to individual. Throughout a manic or depressive episode, some people just have a few minor symptoms, while others experience more severe symptoms that greatly affect their day-to-day activities.

Example: An individual who suffers from wildly fluctuating moods can be an illustration of an individual with bipolar illness. They may have periods of tremendous happiness and vigor, during which they act impulsively or riskily, and then experience periods of severe sadness and depression, during which they struggle to get out of bed and carry out daily tasks. Bipolar disorder mood swings could be challenging for the individual who has them as well as for others around them, and they may need counseling and/or medication to be managed.

What are the different episodes of bipolar disorder?

Manic episodes, hypomanic episodes, depressed episodes, and mixed episodes are the four main types of episodes of bipolar illness.

  • A manic episode is a stretch of at least a week-long heightened or irritated mood, energy, and activity levels. A person experiencing a manic episode could experience euphoria, excessive energy, and trouble falling asleep. They might act recklessly or impulsively. Additionally, they might talk too much and have frenzied ideas. Manic episodes may be intense enough to prevent someone from functioning normally at work, school, or in their personal relationships.
  • A hypomanic episode is akin to a manic episode and has milder symptoms that don’t affect a person’s capacity to go about their regular lives.
  • A depressive episode is a minimum two-week period of low mood, low energy, and trouble getting things done around the house. A person experiencing a depressive episode could feel extremely hopeless, have little energy, and struggle to go about their regular lives. They might also experience adjustments in their eating, sleeping, and thinking.
  • A mixed episode is a time when a person is simultaneously affected by manic and depressive symptoms.

A sample of each sort of episode is shown below:

  • A bipolar person experiences a manic episode, during which they go on a spending binge and purchase pricey products they neither need nor can afford. They remain awake all night thinking quickly, which makes them agitated and confrontational with their dear ones.
  • During a hypomanic episode, a person with bipolar disorder has brief periods of extremely high energy and productivity. They put in long hours at work and have more sexual desire, yet they are still able to go about their regular lives without any major issues.
  • An episode of depression makes it difficult for a person with bipolar disorder to get out of bed in the morning and leaves them feeling tired all day. They experience decreased appetite, difficulties concentrating, and a sense of helplessness.
  • When a person is experiencing a mixed episode, they simultaneously experience manic and depressive symptoms. They might feel agitated and anxious, but they may also feel depressed and hopeless. They might experience changes in their energy levels, appetite, and sleeping patterns.

What are the signs and symptoms of each episode of bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder can have many different indications and symptoms, which can also evolve over time and vary widely from person to person. Each type of episode does, however, have certain common patterns of symptoms.

A bipolar person might go through any of the following during a manic episode:

  • Elevated mood: being very ecstatic, cheerful, or irritated
  • An increase in energy and activity
  • Less sleep is required
  • Rapid speech and frantic thinking
  • Risky or impulsive actions: such as shopping binges, reckless driving, or unsavory sexual activities
  • Difficulty paying attention or concentrating
  • Irritation or agitation

A bipolar person may go through the following during a hypomanic episode:

  • Rapid-fire thoughts and speech
  • Elevated mood: being very ecstatic, cheerful, or irritated
  • An increase in energy and activity
  • Reduced need for sleep
  • Risky or impulsive actions: such as shopping binges, reckless driving, or unsavory sexual activities
  • Difficulty paying attention or concentrating
  • Irritation or agitation

Note: While the symptoms of a hypomanic episode are comparable to those of a manic episode, they are milder and do not impair a person’s ability to go about their regular lives.

A bipolar individual may go through the following in a depressed episode:

  • Feeling down, empty, or depressed
  • Energy and activity levels decline
  • Alterations in sleep habits, including excessive or ineffective sleep
  • Consuming too much or too little; changes in appetite; trouble focusing or paying attention
  • Making decisions is difficult
  • The decline of interest in once-enjoyable activities
  • Thoughts of suicide or death a sense of worthlessness or remorse

A bipolar person might go through any of the following during a mixed episode:

  • Excessively cheerful, excited, or irritated is referred to as having an elevated mood.
  • Mood deterioration: a depressed, gloomy, or empty sensation
  • Higher levels of energy and activity
  • Diminished levels of energy and activity
  • Sleeping too much or having trouble falling asleep, or changes in sleep habits
  • Eat too much or too little
  • Trouble focusing or paying attention
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Changes in appetite
  • A loss of interest in once-enjoyable activities
  • Thoughts of suicide or death
  • Feelings of shame or worthlessness

What are the risk factors responsible for developing bipolar disorder?

The likelihood of experiencing bipolar disorder is affected by a number of variables, including:

  • Family history: One’s chance of getting bipolar disorder rises if a family member already has the illness.
  • Genetics: According to studies, several genetic variants are linked to a higher risk of developing bipolar disorder.
  • Life events that are difficult: Bipolar illness risk can be increased by exposure to distressing or difficult life circumstances, such as the loss of a loved one.
  • Abuse of drugs: Abuse of drugs, especially alcohol and stimulants like cocaine, can cause or aggravate the bipolar disorder.
  • Other health issues: Some health issues, like thyroid issues or brain traumas, can make someone more likely to develop the bipolar illness.

It’s crucial to remember that a person does not automatically develop bipolar disorder just because they have one or more of the following risk factors. The absence of any of the above risk factors, on the other hand, does not guarantee that a person won’t get the disorder. It is unclear why some people acquire bipolar disorder whereas others do not because it is a complicated condition with many potential causes.

What is the prevalence of bipolar disorder?

Individuals of various ages, races, and ethnicities are susceptible to the widespread mental health illness known as bipolar disorder. The World Health Organization estimates that bipolar disorder affects 1% of the world’s population.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 2.8% of American adults (or roughly 5.7 million people) are thought to have bipolar disorder. Both men and women are equally affected by the illness, which often first manifests in youth or early adulthood. Bipolar disorder is thought to affect 0.4% to 1.5% of Indians, according to a study that was published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 

Since bipolar disorder can be challenging to diagnose and isn’t always documented or recorded consistently, it is challenging to estimate the precise incidence of the condition in India. However, research has indicated that India’s incidence of bipolar disorder may be comparable to that of other nations.

It’s crucial to remember that the prevalence of bipolar disorder might change depending on the community because of variations in how the illness is characterized and identified. Many persons with bipolar illness may not undergo care since the condition might be challenging to diagnose.

How is bipolar disorder diagnosed?

A psychiatrist or psychologist who specializes in mental health can diagnose bipolar disorder. The mental health professional will normally perform a thorough evaluation to identify bipolar disorder, which may include:

  • Medical history: The specialist in mental health will inquire about the patient’s medical background, particularly any past psychiatric illnesses or drug misuse issues.
  • Symptoms: The mental health expert will inquire about the patient’s present symptoms and the duration of their occurrence. To evaluate the severity and recurrence of the person’s symptoms, they could conduct an interview or utilize a standardized questionnaire.
  • Physical examination: To rule out any underlying medical issues that might be contributing to the patient’s symptoms, the mental health expert will perform a physical examination.
  • Laboratory tests: To rule out other disorders that could be causing the person’s symptoms, the mental health professional may advise certain diagnostic procedures, such as blood tests or brain imaging investigations.

The mental health expert will decide if the patient satisfies the requirements for a diagnosis of bipolar disorder after reviewing the patient’s medical history, symptoms, and test findings.

Bipolar disorder can be challenging to diagnose since its symptoms often resemble those of other disorders like anxiety or despair. The most accurate way to identify the bipolar disorder and create a suitable treatment plan is to undergo a complete evaluation by a mental health professional.

What are the co-morbid conditions that may exist with bipolar disorder?

Some comorbidities, such as the following, may arise in people with bipolar disorder:

  • Substance abuse: Those who have bipolar disorder are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, especially stimulants like cocaine. Abuse of drugs or alcohol can make bipolar disorder symptoms worse and management more challenging.
  • Anxiety disorders: People who have bipolar disorder may also develop disorders of anxiety, such as panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder. These disorders may develop concurrently with bipolar illness or as a result of the mood swings that accompany a manic or depressed episode.
  • Bipolar disorder and personality disorders: Borderline or narcissistic personality disorders are two examples of personality disorders that some people with bipolar disorder may also have.
  • Medical conditions: People who have bipolar disorder may also be more susceptible to developing diabetes or cardiovascular disease. These disorders might be brought on by the alterations in behavior that can take place during manic or depressed episodes or by bipolar disorder drugs.

It’s crucial to remember that not everyone who has bipolar illness will experience comorbidities and that having comorbidities does not always indicate that a person has a more severe case of the disorder. Comorbidities, however, may necessitate additional care or management and impede the management of the bipolar disorder.

Read the Blog: Bipolar Disorder and Effective Self-Care Tips to Manage It

Detailed case studies on Bipolar Disorder

Case Study 1: Rachel

Rachel is a 32-year-old woman who has been experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder for the past decade. She first noticed that something was wrong when she was in college and started experiencing periods of extreme energy and productivity followed by periods of extreme sadness and lethargy. She often had difficulty sleeping during these episodes and experienced significant changes in her appetite.

Rachel struggled to get through college and had a hard time maintaining relationships and holding down a job. Eventually, she sought help from a mental health professional and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Rachel was hesitant to accept the diagnosis at first, as she was afraid of the stigma associated with mental illness and was worried about how it would affect her career and relationships. However, with the support of her family and a mental health professional, she began to accept her diagnosis and started treatment.

Rachel began taking medication to manage her symptoms and started attending therapy sessions to learn coping strategies and build a support system. She also made lifestyle changes to support her mental health, such as getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and setting aside time for relaxation and self-care.

Over time, Rachel’s symptoms began to improve, and she was able to complete her degree and start a successful career. She learned to manage her condition and was able to maintain healthy relationships and lead a fulfilling life.

Case Study 2: Tom

Tom is a 45-year-old man who has struggled with bipolar disorder for most of his adult life. He was first diagnosed with the condition in his mid-20s, after experiencing several manic episodes and struggling with his mood.

Tom has had a hard time accepting his diagnosis, as he has struggled with feelings of shame and guilt about his condition. He has often blamed himself for his symptoms and has had difficulty seeking help.

Over the years, Tom has experienced several manic and depressive episodes, which have caused significant disruptions in his life. He has had difficulty holding down a job and maintaining relationships and has often struggled with substance abuse as a way of coping with his symptoms.

Despite these challenges, Tom has been able to get treatment and has made progress in managing his condition. He has worked with a mental health professional to develop a treatment plan that includes medication and therapy and has learned to recognize the warning signs of an impending manic or depressive episode.

Tom has also made lifestyle changes to support his mental health, such as getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and setting aside time for relaxation and self-care. He has also built a strong support system of friends and family members who understand and support him.

While Tom still struggles with his condition, he has learned to manage his symptoms and live a fulfilling life.

Course: Enroll in our course on Bipolar Depression to develop a better understanding of the disorder

What is meant by accepting bipolar disorder?

Accepting bipolar disorder is admitting you have the illness and taking action to treat it. This could entail gaining knowledge of the illness, pursuing therapy, and adapting your lifestyle to improve your mental health.

Accepting bipolar disorder may entail overcoming challenging feelings like fear, guilt, or humiliation as well as dealing with the stigma that is occasionally connected to mental health issues. To regulate your symptoms and keep your mental health in tip-top shape, it could also include making adjustments to your daily schedule and way of life.

Accepting that you have bipolar disorder, however, is a critical first step in seeking care and maintaining your symptoms. A combination of medicine and therapy is usually used to treat bipolar disorder. It is quite effective at helping patients control their episodes and improve their overall quality of life. You may learn to manage the bipolar disease and lead a happy, meaningful life by accepting your diagnosis and obtaining treatment.

Why is it difficult for people to accept the diagnosis of bipolar disorder?

There are a number of reasons why some individuals might find it difficult to accept a bipolar illness diagnosis:

  • Stigma: A diagnosis of bipolar disorder can be challenging for many individuals who suffer from mental illnesses and experience stigma. Having a mental health problem can make some individuals feel humiliated or embarrassed, and they may worry about how others will see them if they are given a diagnosis.
  • Lack of knowledge: Some individuals may not fully comprehend what it implies to have bipolar disorder and may hold false beliefs about the illness. They may find it challenging to accept the diagnosis as a result.
  • Denial: When experiencing a manic or depressive episode, it’s normal for people to deny that they have a mental health illness. They may be ignorant about the severity of their ailment or believe that their symptoms are just a natural aspect of their personality.
  • Afraid of treatment: Some people may be terrified of the therapies or medications that can be used to treat bipolar disorder. As a result, they may find it difficult to accept the diagnosis.

It’s crucial to remember that these are just a few of the factors that some people may find it challenging to accept a bipolar disorder diagnosis. It is common to experience conflicted emotions after learning that you have a mental health disorder, and it can be beneficial to talk about these emotions with a mental health professional or a dependable friend or family member.

Why is it important to accept the diagnosis of bipolar disorder?

Accepting a bipolar illness diagnosis is crucial for a number of reasons:

  • Treatment: The first step in receiving treatment for bipolar disorder is accepting the diagnosis. The symptoms can be controlled with treatment, which can also stop future manic or depressive episodes.
  • Recovery: Acknowledging a bipolar illness diagnosis can help a person truly understand their condition and create symptom management plans. This could play a significant role in the healing process and enhance a person’s quality of life.
  • Support: Connecting with people who have the condition can help a person feel supported and understood after accepting a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. This can be crucial for those who might otherwise feel alone or misunderstood as a result of their disease.
  • Personal development: While accepting a bipolar disorder diagnosis might be difficult, it can also be a chance for the development and acceptance of oneself. People with bipolar disorder can learn to have meaningful and rewarding lives by learning to manage their condition.

It’s crucial to remember that receiving a diagnosis of bipolar disorder is a decision that must be made on a personal level and can be a lengthy process. As you learn to control your condition, it might be beneficial to work with a mental health specialist and to ask for help from friends and family.

What are some strategies that can help an individual to accept the diagnosis of bipolar disorder?

Here are some methods that may aid someone in accepting a bipolar illness diagnosis:

  • Seek support: Discussing your feelings about the diagnosis with a close friend or family member might be beneficial. Connecting with people who also experience bipolar disorder, whether in person or online, may be helpful for you.

Read the Blog: Role of Social Connections- 14 Tips to Enhance Social Connections

  • Understand the disorder: Learning about the bipolar disorder will help you better understand your symptoms and what to anticipate from treatment. Reading about the disease in books or articles or speaking with a mental health expert about your particular worries may be beneficial.
  • Seek treatment: Processing your thoughts about the diagnosis and learning coping mechanisms can both be done in therapy. You can build a plan for managing your condition and work through your feelings with the assistance of a mental health expert.
  • Create a routine: Establishing a regular schedule can assist you in controlling your symptoms and keep your mental health in tip-top shape. This can entail establishing normal sleeping patterns, allocating time for rest and self-care, and taking part in enjoyable activities.
  • Concentrate on self-care: Managing your symptoms and feeling better all around can be facilitated by caring for yourself. This can entail getting enough rest, maintaining a good diet, and doing things you enjoy.

Watch the video: Guided slow breathing meditation to take care of yourself.

Conclusion

In summation, embracing a diagnosis of bipolar disorder might be difficult because it may require overcoming stigma and painful feelings. Accepting the diagnosis, however, is a crucial step in seeking care and controlling the condition. A combination of medicine and therapy is usually used to treat bipolar disorder, and it is quite effective at helping patients control their symptoms and enhance their quality of life. It might be beneficial to gain knowledge about the disease, create a support network, and alter one’s lifestyle in order to promote mental wellness in addition to getting treatment. Individuals with bipolar disorder can learn to cope with their condition and have satisfying and meaningful lives by accepting their diagnosis and getting treatment.

Worksheet: Download our free worksheet to get started with the journey of accepting bipolar disorder

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