Everybody has their usual lives, personalities, and ways of doing things. But people with Bipolar Disorder are sometimes involuntarily thrust into an extreme amusement park and they just aren't themselves for the rides. Sometimes they are stuck way up high and sometimes they are down very low. Sometimes they even bounce upon and down as if on a bungie jump of emotions.
These times are called "episodes." During an episode, a person is "different" than they usually are or what one might call "normal" or "average" for the rest of the population. Perhaps they are too happy, too crabby, too depressed or in a funk - more than what their life circumstances should cause.
Over 5 million children and adults are affected with Bipolar Disorder, many of them being treated for a different/wrong diagnosis. About 70% of the time, doctors are only consulted for one of the problems of Bipolar Disorder such as depression or anger. The resulting treatment and/or medication is wrong. One study I read stated that about 10 years can be wasted before the correct diagnosis is made. So please tell your doctor about everything - happy, sad, angry, anxious, everything! Communication is key! Your doctor only knows what you tell him or her. Don't hold anything back! Sometimes mood disorders are in the family tree, so ask your family questions about relatives and ancestors. Tell your doctor everything.
The experts define three types of episodes- manic, depressive and mixed. The mixed episodes are a roller coaster of both depressive and manic episodes. Warning signs that an episode is coming include slight changes in mood, sleep, energy, self value, sexual interest, concentration, enthusiasm, optimism, and way of dressing and grooming.
Manic episodes can cause people to feel wonderful as if nothing could go wrong, very aggitated and short fused, uncooperative and belligerent, overly angry and aggressive. Examples of manic behavior are talking too fast or constantly, risky or impulsive actions, sexual promescuity, spending binges, going without much sleep, easily distracted and unable to stay focused, having a feeling of great self worth or invincibility, becoming too focused on a goal, and racing thoughts.
Depressive episodes can cause depression and saddness, loss of interest or wanting to do anything, and no longer enjoying the things one used to do for fun. Examples of symptoms include loss of weight without being on a diet, decrease or increase in appetite, insomnia or restlessness, feeling sluggish or excessive sleeping, constant fatigue or loss of energy, feeling worthless or inappropriately or excessively guilty, difficulty thinking, concentrating and making decisions, and thoughts of suicide, making a suicide plan, or actually making an attempt.
Experts do not know what causes Bipolar Disorder. They theorize that too few or too many neurotransmitters (brain chemicals that travel between cells) might be the cause. Scientists have experimented with various drugs to see if something can be found to have a positive effect and have come up with a long list of medications that doctors now prescribe.
For a listing of bipolar medications by brand name and their information, click here .
You will need to do more than just take your medication. You need to see your psychiatrist/psychologist on a regular basis to help you cope with stress and other issues. You will also need to take care of your body and de-stress your life. Eat healthy (stop the junk food and sweets and eat on a regular schedule), exercise (go on walks at the very least), and give up the drugs and booze (join a support group - don't do it alone).