Thinking of bipolar disorder as just a ‘mood swing’ is a mistake. It’s a much more complicated and serious condition, but it is treatable. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) describes bipolar disorder as ‘a mental condition that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, concentration, and the ability to complete day-to-day tasks.”
Everyone experiences emotional ups and downs. But people with bipolar disorders have extreme mood shifts. Symptoms can include a highly elevated mood called ‘mania’ followed by severe depression. Those with bipolar disorders sometimes feel very excited or energetic. Other times, they may sink into a deep depression. Some of these emotional shifts can last for weeks or even months.
People with bipolar disorder may have trouble managing everyday tasks at school or work, or maintaining relationships. There’s no cure, but there are many treatment options available to help manage symptoms.
Myth: People with bipolar disorder can’t get better or lead a normal life.
Fact: Many people with bipolar disorder have successful careers, happy family lives, and satisfying relationships. Living with bipolar disorder is challenging, but with treatment, healthy coping skills, and a solid support system, you can live fully while managing your symptoms.
Myth: People with bipolar disorder swing back and forth between mania and depression.
Fact: Some people alternate between extreme episodes of mania and depression, but most are depressed more often than they are manic. People with bipolar disorder can also go for long stretches without symptoms.
Myth: Bipolar disorder is only about mood.
Fact: Bipolar disorder affects energy levels, judgment, memory, concentration, appetite, sleep patterns, sex drive, and self-esteem. And has been linked to anxiety, substance abuse, and serious health problems.
Myth: There is nothing you can do to control bipolar disorder.
Fact: While medication is important to treatment, therapy, and self-help both play important roles. Regular exercise, proper sleep, eating right, monitoring moods, relieving stress and surrounding yourself with caring support all help with bipolar disorders.
Treatments for bipolar disorder:
It can treated in a number of ways. But, remember no treatment option is one-size-fits-all.
Bipolar disorder requires long-term treatment under the care of a physician. It’s important for those with the condition to continue treatment even if they feel better. Most people with bipolar disorder need medication to prevent new episodes and stay symptom-free.
Medication alone can’t fully control the symptoms of bipolar disorder. The most effective treatment for people with bipolar disorder is a combination of medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, and a strong support network.
If someone you know is experiencing bipolar disorder, reach out to your healthcare provider or a licensed therapist for more information and diagnosis.
Have questions or want to speak to a mental health professional? Call Clay Behavioral Health Center at 904.291.5561.