Jessica has had a tough six months, but things are finally turning around. After her boyfriend broke up with her, Jessica sunk into a depression. Her ex told her that he did not trust her and that she was being reckless. Maybe she was while they were dating, but since then, Jessica has barely left the house, crying through most of the day. She ate and slept all the time. A few weeks ago, Jessica’s friend got her a job in a cute boutique. Since then, it is like Jessica is a different person. She worked her way up from a part-time to a full-time position, and Jessica has barely stopped moving since. After work, she has joined a band. They have practice or a gig most nights, and then the band members go out together, sometimes for the whole night. Jessica shows up at work the next day, as if she had a full night’s sleep.
Jessica is feeling good, even euphoric, but her family is concerned. These drastic shifts in her mood and energy do not seem healthy, but they are not sure if they indicate a psychiatric issue or not. Jessica’s family is worried that she may have bipolar disorder, or manic depression.
The word “bipolar” may feel heavy and scary. Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness, and almost six million people have been diagnosed with it in the United States. Bipolar disorder can be unnerving and confusing to those who suffer with it and to their loved ones, but mental health professionals are learning more and more about the illness and how to treat it. Many of those six million people are finding the help they need for their bipolar diagnosis, and they are living healthy, happy lives.
Psychiatrists and other licensed mental health providers at Thriveworks in Littleton, CO offer treatment for bipolar disorder, and our professionals have guided many clients toward the psychological, emotional, social, and physical help they needed to live the life they want with a chronic health condition.
Bipolar Disorder: What Is It?
While the clinical term is bipolar disorder, many people call this mental illness manic depression because it shifts people between episodes of mania and depression. Mania and depression are the two (bi) poles of type 1 bipolar disorder. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) details the characteristics of each pole.
The cliché of mania is a euphoric high, and at times, people do experience this. However, mania can also be a frenetic irritation as well. The characteristics of mania are as follows according to the DSM-5:
- For a minimum time period of one week, if a person experiences an atypical, frenetic mood that is either ecstatic or irritable.
- During this mood, if it is ecstatic, then the individual must display three of the following signs. When the mood is irritability, then four must be displayed:
- Needing very little sleep, yet still having energy for the day and throughout the day (e.g., many people consider one or two hours of sleep a full night’s sleep when they are experiencing mania).
- A mind that will not quiet and thoughts that constantly race.
- Challenges with concentration and attention (e.g., insignificant and pointless thoughts can garner many people’s attention for hours).
- Acute talkativeness, especially as compared to a person’s normal habits.
- Making excessive and extensive plans (e.g., pursuing a previously ignored personal or professional goal).
- Self-esteem and a self-image that is grandiose and over-exaggerated.
- Behavior that may be risky, dangerous, or painful (e.g., unwise career choices, spending sprees, reckless sexual experimentation).
- These signs cannot be the physiological effects of a drug or medication to be considered mania.
- These signs must result in one of the following within an individual’s life:
- Substantial disruptions of an individual’s daily life.
- A hospital trip to prevent or heal harm caused through reckless behavior.
- A psychotic episode.
The other mood of bipolar disorder is depression. The DSM-5 says that the depression phase of bipolar disorder must extend for a minimum of two weeks. Individuals will feel weepy, empty, and/or sad as well as losing interest in everyday life for a significant portion of the day. At least three of the following signs will also be present:
- Repetitive thoughts of death or suicide idealization.
- Disturbed sleeping (e.g., sleeping all the time or an inability to sleep).
- Severely lowered stamina and energy.
- Appetite and/or weight changes (e.g., feeling hungry all the time or complete indifference to food).
- An inability to focus or make decisions.
- Wrestling with intense and irrational negative feelings (e.g., shame, guilt, and worthlessness).
- Slowed or more rapid psychomotor activity (e.g., nervously tapping one’s foot, or slurred speech).
Someone can also be diagnosed with bipolar II disorder (or type 2 bipolar disorder). People who have bipolar 2 experience major depression, but a less severe cycle of mania. This is called hypomania.
How Do You Treat Bipolar Disorder?
One of the most important steps in living with bipolar disorder is to find a correct diagnosis and treatment plan. The key is working with a mental health profession who is trained and experienced with bipolar disorder and its various forms. Licensed psychiatrists can diagnose, treat, and help prevent bipolar disorder episodes with a variety of evidence-based approaches, including psychiatric medication. Long-term medication management is often a big part of thriving with bipolar disorder. Psychiatrists and other qualified mental health providers at Thriveworks in Littleton, CO can evaluate clients who are experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder, or who have a family history of the condition. Then they can develop a treatment plan that works for the client.
Learn to Flourish with Bipolar Disorder at Thriveworks in Littleton, CO
Many of the highly qualified mental health professionals at Thriveworks in Littleton, CO have extensive experience helping clients with bipolar disorder, and they are ready to meet with you as early as tomorrow. You can call the Thriveworks office to make an appointment online or in-person. Thriveworks providers accept most forms of insurance and offer evening and weekend appointments at your convenience.
Let’s work on healing together. Contact Thriveworks in Littleton, CO today.