Madison has had a bizarre few months. She went through a phase where she barely left her home. Madison was tired all the time, and she would cry about anything and everything. Her boyfriend even broke off their relationship, but about a month ago, things started turning around for Madison. She’s doing better. Much better. Unusually better. Madison’s friend helped her get a part-time job at a cute downtown boutique. It was like a flip switched in Madison. She was unstoppable. Within two weeks, they gave her a full-time position and more responsibility. Instead of sleeping all the time, now Madison barely sleeps. She has made a few close friends at work, and they go out together almost every night. Sometimes, Madison stays out all night.
Madison feels great, but her loved ones do not. They are worried about her. This dramatic shift in her mood and behavior do not seem healthy. They wonder if she may have something deeper going on—if she might have Bipolar Depression.
When people swing between the two poles of Bipolar Disorder—mania and depression—they can scare themselves and their loved ones. Their behavior and feelings may feel bizarre and unpredictable, but mental health professionals are learning more and more about this mental illness and how to treat it. Almost six million people in the United States are affected by Bipolar Disorder, and many of those are reaching out to receive the support they need.
The therapists and psychologists at Thriveworks Newport News have helped many people overcome their Bipolar Depression. We work closely with our clients to find a treatment plan that is tailored to their needs, their particular diagnosis, and their future goals.
Diagnosing Bipolar Depression
Bipolar Depression is a serious mental illness wherein people experience cycles of depression and cycles of mania. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) outlines the definition of each cycle. Individuals must experience both in order to be diagnosed as Bipolar.
During a depressed cycle, people will experience an empty, weepy, or sad mood that persists for at least two weeks. It will be accompanied by indifference toward daily activities and at least three of these symptoms:
- Changes in psychomotor activity (i.e., an increase or decrease in speech or other motion).
- Weight gain or loss with accompanied shift in appetite.
- Overwhelmingly negative feelings such as shame, guilt, or worthlessness.
- Indecisiveness and lack of concentration.
- Unfocused concentration and indecisiveness.
- Inundating thoughts about suicide and/or death.
- Disturbed sleeping patterns—either an increase or decrease.
- Lagging stamina and/or energy.
As if this depression cycle were not enough to handle, Bipolar Depression has another cycle—mania. The DSM-5 also outlines what mania may look like in an individual’s life. The stereotype is raving happiness, but true mania can also frenetic irritation. The full diagnostics follow:
- A heightened mood that could be either irritable or euphoric. In either case, the mood must persist for a minimum of one week to be true mania.
- If the mood if irritable, then four of the signs that follow should be present. If the mood is euphoric, then three signs should present:
- An inability to focus.
- Small amounts of rest but high amount of energy.
- Emotion and thoughts that continually race.
- Increasing verbosity.
- Planning obsessively for a personal or professional goal.
- Exaggerated self-esteem and self-conception.
- Engaging in unnecessary and potentially harmful behavior.
- These symptoms must also result in one or more of the following:
- Disrupting an individual’s ability to function on a daily basis.
- A hospitalization to prevent or treat caused harm.
- Experiencing hallucinations, psychosis, or delusions.
- Finally, the signs cannot be the effect of a medication or other drug use.
Far from a singular illness, Bipolar Depression has various subcategories of diagnosis. One common subcategory of Bipolar Disorder is Bipolar II where may experience severe depression cycles, but their mania cycle is usually a less severe hypomania. This is just one example of many.
Just as people who have been diagnosed with a severe physical illness must work closely with their doctors for treatment, a key to living with Bipolar is working closely with a mental health professional. A skilled and experienced therapist can help clients find their right diagnosis and their right treatment plan.
Living with Bipolar
Choosing a trusted therapist is a key to healing, but there are a few other tips that people can do to set themselves up to live with Bipolar. Many people and their loved ones are using these tips to live life on their terms—not Bipolar’s.
- Exercise regularly: No one needs to train like a professional athlete, but when people get moving, they are doing themselves a favor. An important part of healing may be finding an activity that you enjoy and can do regularly.
- Get educated about your diagnosis: What you have just read is a great place to start, but ask your therapist for trusted resources on the particular form of Bipolar that you have. Understanding can often bring healing.
- Ask for support: Consider joining a Bipolar support group. Think about loved ones who can give tangible help. Do not be afraid to ask for help.
Appointments for Bipolar at Thriveworks Newport News
If you have been diagnosed with Bipolar or if you have experienced some of the shifts in mood described in this article, know that Thriveworks Newport News has skilled and experienced therapists and psychologists who have helped many clients live happy, fulfilling lives despite their Bipolar diagnosis.
When you contact our office, know that you may have your first appointment within 24 hours. We also accept most insurance plans.
Let’s get started. Contact Thriveworks Newport News today.