Bipolar Disorder

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Overview

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that affects a person’s mood, energy, activity level, and ability to function in daily life. It is a chronic condition characterized by episodes of extreme highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression), with periods of stability in between. Bipolar disorder can have a significant impact on a person’s life, relationships, and work.

Symptom

The symptoms of bipolar disorder can vary widely from person to person, but generally, they fall into two categories: manic or hypomanic episodes and depressive episodes. During a manic or hypomanic episode, a person may experience elevated or irritable mood, increased energy and activity level, racing thoughts, impulsivity, and a decreased need for sleep. During a depressive episode, a person may experience feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, fatigue, and loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed. They may also experience changes in appetite, sleep, and concentration.

When to see a doctor

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder, it is important to seek medical attention. A doctor or mental health professional can evaluate the symptoms and provide a proper diagnosis.

When to get emergency help

Emergency medical help should be sought if a person is experiencing severe symptoms of bipolar disorder, such as suicidal thoughts, psychosis, or extreme agitation. If a person is unable to care for themselves or is a danger to themselves or others, they should seek emergency medical help.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of bipolar disorder is typically made by a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist. A thorough evaluation is necessary to rule out other conditions and determine the presence of manic or depressive episodes. This may involve a physical exam, lab tests, and a psychiatric evaluation. Family history and the person’s own medical history are also important in making a proper diagnosis.

Treatment

Treatment for bipolar disorder usually involves a combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Medications such as mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants can help manage symptoms. Therapy can help a person develop coping skills, manage stress, and improve relationships. Lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, a healthy diet, and good sleep habits can also help manage symptoms. It is important to work closely with a mental health professional to develop an effective treatment plan.