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Bipolar Disorder Treatment in Dallas, TX

Bipolar Disorder: Facts, Statistics, and Treatment

Roughly 2.8% of the US adult population suffers from bipolar disorder – a mental health condition affecting a person’s mood. The state gets its name from the two distinct phases – or poles – that distinguish it from other similar situations. Cycling between a manic and a depressive episode, bipolar disorder produces stark shifts in mood that can make it difficult for a person to perform everyday tasks.

Causing severe impairment in a person’s functionality, work, and socialization, bipolar disorder requires prompt treatment. This is especially true if the individual threatens themself or those around them.

Fast Facts: Bipolar Disorder in Numbers

  • Bipolar disorder affects 45 million people worldwide
  • 8% of US adults suffer from bipolar disorder
  • 4% of US adults have had bipolar disorder at some point in their lives
  • 9% of those suffering from the condition claim that it has caused the severe impairment, which is the highest rating for any mood disorder
  • The average age for a bipolar disorder diagnosis is 25 years
  • Men and women are equally affected at a ratio of 1:1
  • Suicide occurs in 10-15% of those with the condition
  • Patients will typically be misdiagnosed for the first ten years
  • More than 66% of people with bipolar disorder have a relative with a similar mental health condition
  • Bipolar disorder is the 6th leading cause of disability worldwide
  • 60% of people with the condition go without treatment

What are the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?

There are four main categories of bipolar disorder. And because each one may manifest differently or stem from different causes, a proper diagnosis is necessary to guarantee appropriate treatment. These categories include:

  • Bipolar I disorder: Characterized by a manic episode lasting seven days or a severe attack requiring hospitalization. This then comes hand in hand with a depressive episode lasting at least two weeks. It’s also possible for the individual to manifest both depressive and manic symptoms together.
  • Bipolar II disorder: This bipolar is characterized by a hypomanic episode, which is milder than the full-blown mania that bipolar I cause. Similarly, however, bipolar II also comes with seasons of depression.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder: Also called ‘cyclothymia,’ this disorder manifests both hypomanic and depressive symptoms over two years. However, the severity of the symptoms doesn’t qualify for bipolar I or II diagnosis.
  • Bipolar disorder due to another medical condition includes bipolar disorders induced by certain drugs and illicit substances. Some states are also known to cause manic and depressive symptoms, thus making bipolar disorder a result of another underlying health problem.

For a person to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, they must have at least one episode of mania and one episode of depression. The severity of the symptoms will only determine which type of bipolar the person has.

Episodes of elevated mood characterize a manic episode. In essence, it’s the opposite of depression which is why it’s said that a person with bipolar disorder cycles between the two opposites of mood. A manic episode may involve symptoms such as:

  • Talkativeness beyond normal for the individual
  • Lack of need for sleep or absolute sleeplessness
  • Racing thoughts
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased activity levels and energy
  • Psychomotor agitation (i.e., Ticks, tremors, leg shaking, nail biting)
  • Inflated self-esteem or a sense of grandiosity
  • Engagement in activities that could be potentially harmful or dangerous (i.e., Speeding, overspending)

A person in a manic state will seem out of control. Sometimes, they may act out violently and pose a threat to others or themselves. They can also be irritable, difficult to talk to, and they may be unable to perform daily tasks and routines. To be considered mania, these symptoms must be present most of the day, almost every day for a week. On the other hand, hypomania entails the presence of these symptoms for most of the day for four consecutive days.

Then there’s the other end of the disorder, which is depression. Remember that some patients will have depression for years before developing a manic episode. That’s why many people with bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed with depressive disorder. Unlike a manic episode, a depressive episode is characterized by a depressed mood and a loss of interest or pleasure in things and activities that the person previously enjoyed. These symptoms must be present for at least two weeks to qualify as depression:

  • Depressed mood for most of the day, almost every day for two weeks
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities and hobbies previously enjoyed
  • Weight changes, loss or increase in appetite
  • Increased purposeless activity like pacing a room or rocking back and forth
  • Decreased energy levels
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Impaired ability to think or focus
  • Thoughts of death or attempts of suicide

Some cases occur when individuals mistake themselves for bipolar simply because they experience mood swings. And while it’s normal for most people to go through ups and downs, the marker of bipolar disorder is that its symptoms will interfere with daily functioning.

Risk Factors for Bipolar Disorder

Research suggests that some people are at a higher risk of developing bipolar disorder than others. This has much to do with their family background, their health, and even the way their brain works. Some of the risk factors for developing bipolar disorder include:

  • Genetics: Individuals with a first-degree relative with bipolar disorder are more likely to develop the condition themselves.
  • Constant stress: People dealing with constant stress and pressure may be more likely to develop a mental health condition, especially when confronted with significant trauma.
  • Substance abuse: Various drugs and alcohol can alter brain chemistry and induce the symptoms of bipolar disorder, among other forms of mental health conditions.
  • Injuries and accidents: Certain injuries affecting the brain have been found to cause bipolar disorder. Once such a study explored the effects of traumatic brain injury and how the condition has been linked to the later development of bipolar.

How Does Bipolar Disorder Affect the Brain?

It’s not entirely clear how bipolar disorder affects the brain, but science has shown us that it might have something to do with the different neurotransmitters in our system. Imbalances of these chemicals in the brain lead to the symptoms of bipolar disorder, which makes it difficult for a person to regulate their mood. Presently, it’s understood that during a manic episode, the individual will likely have much higher noradrenaline levels. And then, during the depressive episodes, a person is likely to have much lower levels of the same. But then again, it’s not so one-dimensional.

Other neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin have also been found to play a role in the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder. Other than that, some studies have found that individuals with bipolar disorder have different brains that are slightly different from those without the condition.

Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

If a person with bipolar disorder isn’t treated, their mania symptoms can last up to 6 months, while depression can last up to a year. And because this can cause significant impairment in functioning, individuals must receive prompt medical care and treatment to combat the disorder. The course of treatment for bipolar disorder typically involves various methods used in combination to target multiple areas of the person’s health. These may include:

  • Medications: There are two different types of medications for bipolar disorder. The first is a mood stabilizer that improves and normalizes brain chemistry. These medications are taken over a long period. Then some meds target the symptoms of bipolar disorder as they occur. This helps to manage the severity of the signs and the extent to which they interfere with daily functioning.
  • Therapy: Various therapy treatments and counseling methods can be used to help individuals identify underlying problems, traumas, and issues that might be causing the mental health condition. This can also help patients develop healthier, more stable relationships, which can be vital to preventing future episodes.
  • Lifestyle management: Engaging in healthy activities like exercise and proper diet can significantly reduce the risk for future bipolar disorder episodes. That’s why during treatment, patients are encouraged to find hobbies and healthy activities that they can adopt once they re-enter society.

While it is possible to treat someone with bipolar disorder without having to keep them in a hospital, there are some instances when an individual might have to be admitted. For example, an individual with an active manic episode might pose a threat through aggression and violent tendencies, requiring the strict observation of medical professionals. On the other hand, an individual in an advanced state of depression might be at risk of suicide, which also calls for a controlled environment.

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