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Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder and Getting a Diagnosis

Bipolar disorder is a complex disease that affects the lives of millions of Americans each day. Unfortunately, it can be tricky to get a proper diagnosis. Many people even go undiagnosed for years or are misdiagnosed with a different condition. However, living a happy life with this disorder is possible. Recognizing the symptoms of bipolar disorder is your first step to begin this journey.

Bipolar Disorder Facts

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), bipolar disorder is characterized by “dramatic shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels that affect a person’s ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.” These mood and energy shifts are much more severe than the average “ups and downs” people regularly experience. Bipolar disorder is sometimes referred to as “manic depressive disorder” because of its extreme highs and lows. The highs are usually considered “manic” episodes, while the lows are considered “depressive” episodes.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) says a person with bipolar disorder also experiences “changes in their energy, thinking, behavior, and sleep.” This can greatly affect the way a person handles everyday tasks like work and school. It can also be very difficult to maintain relationships when you struggle with this disorder.

Bipolar Disorder Statistics

Symptoms of bipolar disorder affect millions of Americans each day. Many people are properly diagnosed, but some are misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. SAMHSA says estimates of the “lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder” can range from one percent to almost four percent of people living in the United States. The projected lifetime risk of developing this disorder is 4.1%.

Risk Factors

The exact cause of bipolar disorder is largely unknown. According to Medline Plus, several factors play a role, including “genetics, brain structure and function, and your environment.” You are at higher risk if a close relative has it, or if you have experienced trauma or another stressful life event. SAMHSA points to studies that have found childhood trauma to be present in “approximately 50 percent of individuals with bipolar disorder.” About 33% of people with this disorder had experienced a severe form of abuse.

Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is usually characterized by manic and depressive episodes. These “highs” and “lows” can severely impact a person’s ability to function in daily life. According to SAMHSA, when a person has a manic episode, they can feel “overly excited, productive, and even invincible.” Depressive episodes are the complete opposite, leaving individuals feeling extremely sad, hopeless, and tired.

Manic Episodes

In order to begin the process of healing, it’s important to first understand the signs and symptoms of bipolar. Manic episodes, specifically, can sometimes make you feel like you’re on top of the world. Here are some more signs and symptoms of manic episodes:

  • Feeling intense euphoria and excitement
  • Having a lot of energy and even appearing jumpy
  • Insomnia and sleeplessness
  • Racing and jumbled thoughts
  • Inflated self-esteem, impulsivity, and risky acts like unsafe sex or spending money excessively
  • Agitation, irritability, and being easily distracted

Depressive Episodes

After a manic episode, it’s common to crash. This “crash” usually comes in the form of depressive episodes. Some signs and symptoms of depressive episodes can include:

  • Feeling depressed, anxious, worried, or hopeless
  • Losing interest in activities you once loved
  • Difficulty performing regular responsibilities like work or family obligations
  • Feeling tired and having low energy
  • Indecisiveness, forgetfulness, and difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in sleep patterns or appetite
  • Suicidal thoughts and self-harm

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder: Getting A Diagnosis

According to Medline Plus, your health provider may use many tools to diagnose bipolar. These can include:

  • A physical exam
  • Looking at your medical history, including symptoms and lifetime experiences like trauma
  • Looking at your family history
  • A mental health evaluation
  • A medical test to rule out other conditions

Types of Bipolar Disorder

It’s helpful to understand the three main types of bipolar before getting a diagnosis or receiving treatment. SAMHSA says the major difference between the types of bipolar “is how extreme the mood states are and how long they last.”

  • Bipolar I Disorder: A history of at least one manic episode. Sometimes, this includes a depressive episode as well.
  • Bipolar II Disorder: Varying mood states with less extreme highs.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder: Chronic mood instability that isn’t as long, frequent, or severe as Bipolar I or II.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder: Healing at The Guest House

Symptoms of bipolar disorder are vastly different than other mental health disorders. At The Guest House, you can find treatment with professionals who understand the intricacies of this disorder. Since bipolar can be triggered by difficult life events, trauma, or even substance abuse, having a comprehensive care plan is essential.

Individualized, Trauma-Informed Care

Each and every person comes to The Guest House with their own unique story. Here, you have the ability to work with your care team to create a plan that is completely individualized to you. Our cutting-edge blend of holistic treatment and traditional modalities will allow you to create your own toolkit with the processes that work best for you.

At The Guest House, we are a trauma-informed care center that offers a full range of treatment. Our cutting-edge holistic therapies, combined with traditional modalities, will help you heal your mind, body, and soul as one. Even though chronic issues like bipolar disorder do not have a true cure, it is possible to keep your symptoms at bay and prepare for flare-ups. Lasting happiness and fulfillment are both possible with treatment at The Guest House.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder affect millions of Americans each day, but it often goes untreated or misdiagnosed. This mental health disorder, characterized by manic and depressive episodes, can be debilitating without the proper care. At The Guest House, we understand that bipolar disorder and other mental health disorders can often be traced back to past trauma. This is why our cutting-edge therapies are designed to help you get to the root cause of bipolar disorder so you can find lasting happiness while keeping your symptoms at bay. Our cutting-edge blend of traditional and holistic treatment, combined with our wide array of modalities, will allow you to explore the processes that work best for you. Call us today at (855) 483-7800.