Without warning, Drake is falling behind at work. He is having a hard time focusing. Tasks that were easy a few months ago now overwhelm him. Work has not always been this hard. When he first started as the sale manager, Drake was on fire. He tripled the shop’s sales by expanding its online presence. He outpaced any other manager the Pawn Shop had ever had. Sure, Drake worked day and night, but it was worth it. He felt this amazing energy, fueling him. Drake worked 24 hours a day. When he was not working, he was out partying with his friends, enjoying his new-found success. Now, Drake has difficulty leaving the house. It is as if he is a different person. This drastic swing in personality and mood has Drake’s friends and family members worried—they think he might have Bipolar Depression.
Just the word, “Bipolar” can feel very scary to people. This form of depression is often call manic depression because those are its two poles: mania and depression. When people have the illness, they swing from episodes of frenetic energy to episodes of deep depression. Bipolar Depression is a severe mental illness, and when people have it, their behavior can scare themselves and their family members. Often, the hardest part of having the disorder is before a diagnosis is made. With a diagnosis and treatment, people who have Bipolar Depression can often begin understanding what the disease is doing to their mind and bodies. People may then find the treatment they need to live the life they want.
The counselors and therapists at Thriveworks Cedar Park have worked with many clients who are struggling with Bipolar Depression. We understand how the disorder attacks an individual’s life, and we understand the many treatment options that are available.
Bipolar Disorder: What Is It?
Learning about what Bipolar is and how if functions may help people come to a better understanding of what is happening in their lives. Bipolar is an illness that can cause chaos in an individual’s life, but behind the chaos, there is a recognizable pattern to the disorder. Understanding may be the first step in healing. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) gives the diagnostics for recognizing both the depressive and manic phases of Bipolar.
In the depressive phase, people will often feel empty, weepy, sad, and hopeless. They often experience disinterest in their daily lives, responsibilities, and activities. The depressive phase will also have at least three of the following symptoms:
- Indecisiveness or an unfocused attention span.
- Changes in psychomotor activity—either slowed or rapid movements such as foot tapping, pacing, or speech.
- Declining stamina and energy.
- An inability to sleep or sleeping excessively.
- Overwhelming feelings of worthlessness and/or guilt.
- Thinking repetitively of death, even suicide idealization.
- Appetite or weight changes—either a decrease or increase.
These will be present for most of the day, on more days than not, and for a two-week period to be a depressive stage. As difficult as depression is, it is only one of the challenges that Bipolar Depression introduces into an individual’s life. The other phase is mania. This phase can include either a frenetic euphoria or irritation. The DSM-5 gives further diagnostics:
- An abnormally irritable or euphoric state that persists for at least one week.
- If the mania is jubilant, three of the following symptoms will be present. If the mania is contentious, then four will be present:
- Decreased need for sleep.
- Unfocused attention.
- A racing mind that cannot settle.
- Increased verbosity.
- Excessive planning and goal-directed activities.
- Engaging in potentially painful or risky behavior.
- A swollen sense of self-esteem and grandiosity.
- A medication or drug cannot cause these symptoms.
- The symptoms will be severe enough to disturb an individual’s personal and professional life, cause psychosis, or necessitate a hospital trip.
Bipolar can come in several different forms. One important form is Bipolar II. When people have Bipolar II, they experience depression and hypo-mania, that is, a less severe form of mania. It is critical that people work with a mental health professional to find a proper diagnosis because the right diagnosis is often the foundation of the proper treatment.
Reaching out for Help from Thriveworks Cedar Park
We have been given a challenging illness, and there is no other option than to meet those challenges. … That’s why it’s important to find a community – however small – of other bipolar people to share experiences and find comfort in the similarities.
Just like other serious illness, treatment for Bipolar Depression often requires the supervision of a mental health professional. Skilled therapists can help people find a diagnosis and treatment plan, but this is often only one piece of the puzzle. It may also be important for people to…
- Find a Bipolar support group: this can be a safe place where other people truly understand what you are facing.
- Focus upon hope: Bipolar is a challenge, but many people learn to manage the disease. Many resources are available, and there are many reasons to hope.
If you are also looking for mental health care, consider reaching out to Thriveworks Cedar Park. Our therapists have experience diagnosing and treating Bipolar Depression, and we have appointments available. When you call our office, you may have your first appointment within 24 hours. We also accept many forms of insurance. Let’s work together. Call today.