Bipolar disorder is an illness that needs to be monitored throughout a person’s lifetime. Symptoms can develop at almost any age and range from severe to mild. This is a long-term illness that is not always detected at first. People with bipolar disorder have many emotional highs and lows. The individual usually requires long-term medication and therapy. Bipolar disorder is when a person’s brain makes them have shifts in their everyday moods. For example the person will feel a loss of energy and willingness to do daily things. This can cause the person to lose their job or even be hospitalized for treatment depending on the level of severity.

Doctors care for the same disorder a multitude of ways. While it could take an adult more than 9 months to see results from treatment a child may be very different. Doctors will closely monitor children for any unintentional side effects. At home parents need to have additional patience and understanding for a child with bipolar disorder.

The symptoms of bipolar disorder can vary from person to person. Episodes can last from 7 days to a month and may require hospitalization. The person’s behavior and mood could change drastically or just a little depending on the episode. Symptoms of bipolar disorder include;

  1. Irritable mood changes Extremely happy, sad, or worried moments
  2. Disconnect and loss of interest with daily activities or activities the person once enjoyed
  3. Excessive sleeping and an extremely tired feeling or the person will get little sleep and talk really fast and bounce from topic to topic during a conversation
  4. Not being able to remember things or make decisions, has trouble concentrating,
  5. Changes in eating habits
  6. Racing thoughts
  7. Being unrealistic with goals and tasks by thinking they can take on more responsibility or larger projects
  8. High-risk behaviors such as reckless sexual conduct, excessive shopping/spending, or drug abuse
  9. Suicidal thoughts or trying to commit suicide
  10. Depression symptoms or recent diagnosis of depression
  11. Differing variables of manic episodes and balanced moods

Obtaining help from a medical professional for bipolar disorder is imperative to the health of the person and their wellbeing. Doctors cannot rely on standard blood tests, physical body scans, or other bodily tests to diagnosis bipolar disorder. Multiple personal interviews are done over a period of time with a medical professional who evaluates the patient’s mental health. Interviews will include not only the patient but their family and possibly close friends as well. It is important for the doctor to get a large overview of the patient’s behaviors and moods for a proper diagnosis.

Treatment of bipolar disorder typically includes long term therapy sessions and medication. It can take a person with bipolar disorder anywhere from a month to over a year for them to start seeing benefits of the treatment by gaining control of their moods and behaviors. Once medications and treatments have started the person must not stop unless under their doctor’s care. Medications should be taken only as directed by a doctor. Electroconvulsive therapy is sometimes used as a way to treat bipolar disorder in cases where other options are not feasible or did not work.

There are three typical medication types given to people with bipolar disorder; antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and atypical antipsychotics. Most often people with the disorder require a long term medication plan designed by a doctor to stay in control of their moods and behaviors. If a patient is having difficulties with a medication’s side effects they should talk with their doctor. There are many different options when it comes to treatment.

The National Institute of Mental Health is reporting that approximately 5.7 million adult Americans are affected by bipolar disorder each year. The age of onset is typically 25 but can start at childhood or when the individual is their 50s. There is no classification of race or gender when identifying high-risk groups for the disease.

Support groups are a great additive to a doctor’s recommended treatment. Getting in touch with people who share similar problems will help a bipolar patient understand alternative ways to dealing with their issues. Support groups offer emotional support, a safe learning environment, as well as people who relate, listen, and understand.

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