What is Bipolar

“Once you get in the right frame of mind, I think anything’s possible. I think we so often get caught in this state of negativity and it’s a poison like nothing else” (Pat, Silver Linings Playbook). Mood swings can come and go, but they are not often accompanied by episodes of mania or even dissociation from reality. Patients with these symptoms are often misdiagnosed with depression or anxiety and undergo treatments that are potentially ineffective. In reality, patients experience major mood and energy shifts may have Bipolar Disorder.

Bipolar Disorder (formerly called manic depression) is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). 1 These mood swings may occur rarely or multiple times a year. Patients experiencing manic or hypomanic episodes usually exhibit symptoms such as being abnormally upbeat or jumpy, excess energy, exaggerated sense of well-being and self-confidence, decreased need for sleep, impulsiveness, and racing thoughts. 1 Conversely, major depressive episodes involve symptoms severe enough cause noticeable difficulty in day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities or relationships. While most people will experience some emotional symptoms between episodes, some may not experience any.

There are several types of bipolar including Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder, and Cyclothymic Disorder. Patients with Bipolar I have had at least one manic episode followed (or preceded) by hypomania or depressive episodes. In some cases, the mania may trigger a break from reality (psychosis). 1 Bipolar II Disorder is characterized in patients experiencing both major depressive and hypomanic episodes but never manic episodes. These patients frequently experience other mental health illnesses such as anxiety disorder or Substance Abuse disorder which can exacerbate symptoms of depression and hypomania. 2 Patients who have experienced at least 2 years (and many periods) of hypomania and depressive symptoms may be diagnosed with Cyclothymic Disorder. Finally, Bipolar and related disorders may be induced by certain drugs, alcohol, or medical conditions such as Cushing’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, or Strokes. 1

Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, you can manage your mood swings and other symptoms by following a treatment plan. In most cases, bipolar disorder is treated with medications to alleviate depressive and manic symptoms, and psychological counseling (psychotherapy) to help patients cope with mood swings. In certain cases where routine treatment is not effective, providers may suggest Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) which offers relief for depression symptoms through different mechanisms than traditional antidepressants.

Our Medical Director, Dr. Prashant Gajwani M.D. is involved in this research to advance psychiatric care options, and our practices located in Missouri City and Pearland offer these treatments! If you or your loved ones are experiencing major life events or symptoms of bipolar disorder, know that help is just around the corner! Take your first step to heal by calling 281-778-9530 option 1.

Sources
1. 1.https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355955
2. 2.https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/bipolar-disorders/what-are-bipolar-disorders

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