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Bipolar Disorder Article

 Which Way Do I Go?

Nearly 6 million adults suffer from the disease of Bipolar Disorder in the US as of 2007. It can be misdiagnosed as ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) in the early years. Often times, children are medicated for ADHD instead of Bipolar Disorder. When with a little more research, and proper diagnoses, would reveal it to actually be Bipolar Disorder. This is sad but a known fact. Children with ADHD often times have discipline problems. The symptoms are similar, and this is why it is hard to distinguish between the two. Sometimes children suffer from both. If your child has the symptoms, please seek treatment for them from a licensed health professional and help them to adjust to their new illness. They don’t act out because they want to. Often times Bipolar Disorder or ADHD is the cause for the behavior. They will need medication and talk therapy to work through it, and learn to live a productive life. A person with Bipolar Disorder can live a productive life; they just need the proper diagnosis, medications and talk therapy. Suicidal ideations should be taken seriously under any circumstance; it may be a matter of an allergic reaction to a medication.

Bipolar Disorder is defined as severe Manic/Depression. The person who is afflicted with it has extreme highs and unforgiving lows, often with long periods of regularity in between. The medical association changed the name to Bipolar Disorder and made it more definitive. I feel that Manic/Depression is more descriptive of the disorder, but that is just my opinion.

There are two types of Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar I and Bipolar II. People with Bipolar Disorder I, you will have a history of at least 1 episode of mania characterized by irritable moods that are severe enough to impair a person’s ability to function normally, in relationships, social situations and work environments. This manifests its self usually in the late 20’s and early 30’s. In Bipolar II a person experiences at least 1 episode of depression and at least 1 episode of severe mania that repeats itself.

Sometimes the treatment requires hospitalization to control the symptoms and treat the disorder. This can give the health care professional a better picture of which type you have. In most cases the patient is normally in a depression when seeing a doctor or in a state of regularity. The doctor never gets the chance to see the mania. You may experience the same thing. You may describe your manic episodes, but there is nothing better than them actually seeing you in action.

Bipolar Disorder I have many of the same symptoms as Bipolar II; however Bipolar II is not as severe.

The symptoms are as follows:

1.Increased Activity

2.Less need for sleep

3.Euphoric mood

4.Racing thoughts

5.Forceful rapid speech

The warning signs are as follows:

1.Being in a sad mood

2.Being in an anxious mood

3.Excessive feelings of worthlessness

4.Loss of interest in pleasurable things (like sex and hobbies)

5.Difficulty concentrating

Bipolar Disorder II usually takes the form of depression. Manic episodes are defined as Hypomania, and are usually less severe in most cases.

Mania is defined as:

1.Feeling especially energetic or irritable

2.Being too talkative or unusually confident

3.Needing less sleep than usual

4.Being easily distracted

5.Becoming overly involved in pleasurable activities such as spending money excessively or excessive sex

6.Doing things that are out of character

The warning signs of depression include:

1.Being sad

2.Being in an anxious mood

3.Excessive feelings of guilt or worthlessness

4.Loss of interest in pleasurable activities (like sex and hobbies)

5.Difficulty concentrating

Along with the fore mentioned symptoms a person with Bipolar Disorder will have mixed episodes. Meaning that they will experience depressive mania. This is where you switch back and forth between mania and depression very rapidly. This can be very confusing to the person experiencing the episode as well as to those around them. Your doctor can advise you on what to do in mixed episodes. It’s no wonder you don’t understand what is going on, this is a very confusing illness. This is called cycling.

With both, the treatment will include medications and talk therapy. It is very important to find a therapist you can trust with experience in Bipolar Disorder in any case. It is important to practice the following if you are Bipolar:

1.Avoid caffeine


3.Eat a healthy diet

4.Get a good night’s sleep every night

5.Relax; anxiety can trigger mood episodes in many people

6.Reduce stress at home and at work

7.Get onto a schedule with your medications

It is really easy to feel regular after being medicated and many people do not stay med-compliant, because they start feeling better after the medications start working and they stop because they think they are cured. They may find the side effects too much to take. They may be against taking medication in the first place. There are many reasons as to why people stop taking their medications. This only leads to backslides. You will have to start all over again. In many cases the medications can cause seizures and other complications if you stop suddenly, so beware of stopping your medications abruptly.

Bipolar Disorder can be genetic. If anyone in your genetic family has the symptoms, even if they have not been diagnosed, you are at a higher risk for developing the disorder. If you have Bipolar Disorder, changes in sleep patterns or daily routines put you at risk for manic episodes. Antidepressants can also trigger manic episodes. Also a stressful event may set off a manic episode. Most job situations are filled with stress, which can bring on manic episodes.  Alcohol and drug abuse can also trigger a depressive or manic episode. Alcohol is a depressant in the first place. These are the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder.

Bipolar Disorder is an imbalance of serotonin, norepinephrine and/or dopamine in the brain. The medications replace these chemicals in the brain and maintain a healthy balance. There are many forms of medications to treat depression.

1.Tricyclic antidepressants or (TCA’s) are usually used to treat the depression at first. however you may find that you are allergic to these types of medications. Serotonin and norepinephrine help with the 2 levels of chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) in the brain. However they have many side effects as well, so many people are reluctant to use them.

2.Monomine oxidase inhibitors (MAIO’s) are another type of medication used in the early stages of treatment. These drugs are most effective in people with depression who do not respond to other treatments. However, these types of medications are frequently not compatible with many other medications. Always remember, YOU Do Have A Choice In Your Treatment.

3.Selective serotinin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) are a newer form of antidepressant. Their work is with serotonin. They work by altering the amount of serotonin in the brain chemicals.

4.Serotonin and Norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI’s) are another newer form of antidepressant medicine. They treat depression by increasing the availability of the brain chemicals seretonin and norepinephrine.

Sometimes the side effects to these medications deter the individual from trying them.

Some of the side effects are:

1.Dry mouth

2.Increased fatigue

3.Weight gain

4.Blurred vision


6.Bladder problems such as urine retention or incontinence

7.Daytime drowsiness

8.Muscle Twitching (tremors)


10.Increased heart rate

11.Sexual problems

Therefore many people simply don’t take them or stop taking them abruptly while on them due to the side effects. This is not recommended. If you are Bipolar and are on medication DO NOT stop taking your medications abruptly. This type of action may throw you into seizures at inopportune times and may be life threatening. Such as while driving, or operating machinery.

It is important to note that you should not drink alcohol while taking these types of medications, as alcohol can seriously interfere with their beneficial effects. 

In October 2004, the FDA determined that antidepressant medications might increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children and adolescents with depression and other psychiatric disorders. If you have questions of concerns regarding this, consult your physician. It is not only restricted to children. Adults are affected this way by these medications as well.

Another form of therapy is ECT. Depression is the main reason why doctors perform Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). It can be the fastest way to relieve the symptoms of depression for a patient who suffers from mania or other mental illnesses. It is usually used as a last resort. ECT can be misunderstood by the general public. It has been used since the 1940’s and 1950’s. However, many of the side effects have been related to the misuse of the equipment, incorrect administration, and improperly trained staff.

Should you choose to use it as a last resort, please be well informed. The misconception that ECT is a quick-fix is also reason to avoid this type of therapy. The media has made unfavorable reports adding to the controversy over ECT. It is said that ECT is safe, when administered properly, and remains the most effective treatment available for depression.

You should only pursue ECT as a last resort if you are deeply depressed and nothing else has helped. Remember they use YOUR seizures as a gauge to determine its effectiveness.

Another choice to pull yourself out of depression is putting all of your faith in God. This may seem simple, but it is very hard to do. I sought out God, gave myself over to him as my savior and now whole-heartedly believe in His healing powers. If you are unable to attend church, you can listen to a wonderful preacher on TV, the radio, or the internet. Her name is Joyce Meyer. And she preaches in a way that makes it easy to understand our responsibilities while on this earth. She preaches of the difference between feelings of the flesh and the blessings from God. It’s entirely up to you how you pursue your treatment, but nonetheless treatment is in order if you are experiencing the symptoms mentioned before. Joyce Meyer has had a large impact on my life and I am happy now. This may not be the case for all, but may be helpful to some, as spiritual health is just as important as eating right and getting enough sleep.

A new study shows that the body clock may be mutated by mania. Some more of the symptoms of mania are as follows:

1.Unusually high energy

2.Less need for sleep

3.Excessive talk

4.Racing thoughts



7.Inflated self-esteem


9.Delusions of grandeur

The medication for mania includes but is not limited to the following.

1.Mood stabilizers like Lithium or Depakote, may help, but how these medications actually work is yet to be understood in the medical community.

2.Anti-psychotic medications such as Zyprexa, Risperdol and Geodon can be used in conjunction with the mood stabilizers in the beginning of the treatment

3.Anti-convulsive medications like Lamictal can be added if the treatment isn’t progressing

4.Valium may be used instead of anti-psychotic medications or in addition to the mood stabilizers and anti-psychotics.

It is also important to note that these medications will take time to work in your system. Sometimes it may take up to 3 months before you see any beneficial effects. The medications mentioned are the most commonly used medications. I can attest to the fact that doctors take a hit and miss approach to treatment, as I am Bipolar II. They are going off of what they have learned from experience and their training, but these medications alter your brain chemistry, which affects your moods. Again, this may take some time and may take trying several different medications, including combinations of medications to affectively treat your illness.

If you suffer from mania you may need to take these medications for a period of time or maybe for the rest of your life. It is important that you accept this early on. People with Bipolar Disorder have a very delicate system and it is often very hard to maintain a medication balance. It is very common for the person with Bipolar to NOT remain med-compliant, even though they may not mind the side effects. If you do not remain med-compliant you will just experience the symptoms that you started with. This is not the way to get healthy. I beg of you, if you are Bipolar, for your family, friends and co-workers sake, remain med-compliant. They do not want to see you suffer the effects of the illness any more than you want to experience them.

Although your family doctor can prescribe psychiatric medications and diagnose Bipolar Disorder, it is recommended that you seek the treatment of a psychiatrist. The reason for this is that a family doctor only has limited knowledge of psychiatric medications. A psychiatrist is a specialist in the field of mental illness. Therefore to receive the proper treatment you should seek the treatment of a psychiatrist. If your family doctor has diagnosed you with Bipolar Disorder and he was smart enough to refer you to a psychiatrist to maintain a medication regiment, the psychiatrist will know what medications will work best for you. If you experience a family doctor who is not humble enough to realize that they are out of their league when it comes to psychiatric medications, please seek the treatment of a trained psychiatrist on your own. Do not allow your family doctor to maintain your medication regiment. You do have a choice.

The general physicians simply do not have the training in this field of study.

Living on the inside of the disease you don’t think that your thinking is in anyway inappropriate. I remember a comment on one of my favorite TV shows. This person had a sister who was a drug addict and acted Bipolar, but was undiagnosed, so she behaved badly in general. The TV doctors comment was "Boy, I am glad I have the right brain chemicals”. She is a TV doctor and that was a script but how true her statement is for those who suffer from this as a family member, friend or co-worker with a mental illness. The producers of that show did a very good job of representing the disease. People realize that you see them as sick and in need of help. However people can have big egos too. They do not feel that they are doing wrong in their minds. They are in their own little worlds, with their illness to keep them company. Remember, this is a behavioral illness.  Our brains are a very dangerous place to be at times. Try to stay on the right side of the street in your head to stay level.

In that same TV show there is a nurse who has a Bipolar mother, her brother eventually becomes Bipolar as well, representing the genetic side of the illness.  She is used to being the responsible one in the family, but she is forever on the outside of the illness and this frustrates her to the point of lying about her mother actually being her mother.

So, if you know someone who is suffering from the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder, please be understanding. It really is confusing from both sides of the fence. It is most important to seek treatment if you are the afflicted, and to be supportive and attentive if you are the person that watches from the outside of the illness.

By Andrea McKinney 

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Disclaimer: All research and clinical material published by YoubulkSmart website is for informational purposes only. Readers are encouraged to confirm the information contained herein with other sources. Patients and consumers should review the information carefully with their professional health care provider. The information is not intended to replace medical advice offered by physicians. YoubulkSmart under no circumstances recommends particular treatment for specific individuals and in all cases recommend that you consult your physician or local treatment center before pursuing any course of treatment.

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