Tag: Symptoms of Bipolar

Analyzing the Causes of Bipolar Disorder

The causes of bipolar disorder have always brought a lot of confusion to many people. Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder or manic depression, is a mental illness that causes rapid mood changes, irritability and high levels of anxiety. Since it has a direct effect on the various functions of the brain, this disorder greatly influences the way a person thinks, acts and feels. It can cause a high-level of frustration and aggravation to a person who experiences a manic depressive episode. Some episodes of mania and depression may happen irregularly and can last for weeks and months.

Bipolar disorder is a very serious illness, there are many information and theories on what causes this disease but there are some factors that can help explain how people can get this disease. There has been some evidence that bipolar disorder can be inherited. This is issue asserts that first degree relatives in families with bipolar disorder are more likely to develop and experience mood disorders than people who do not have this disorder in the family. In the same way, when a twin has a mood disorder, then the other twin has a greater chance to contract the illness. Researchers have also discovered that biochemical imbalances of the hormones and some neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine and acetylcholine have been linked in triggering some of the symptoms of bipolar mania and depression. Another aspect that professionals are also considering is the role of the environment and stress in the development of bipolar disorder. Stressful life events like a death of loved one, loss of a job or the birth of a child can cause the beginning of the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Analyzing the causes of bipolar disease warrants a lot of research in order to truly explain this illness. What is important is to show understanding and concern to the patient who is experiencing this disorder. In this great time of need, you should be able to exercise patience and strength in order to care for the patient.

Different Bipolar Medications

Do you have bipolar disorder? Bipolar disorder is a mental illness where a person’s mood and energy is compromised. Also, if not treated properly, it will greatly affects one’s ability to function. Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder. In this illness, there are four types of mood episodes, mania, depression, hypomania and mixed expression. Although patient manifests symptoms differently, it should be treated to avoid inevitable circumstances brought about by the disease. There different medications involved in the treatment of bipolar disorder which comprise of lithium, anticonvulsant mood stabilizers, antidepressant medications, antipsychotic medications and more.

Lithium is a mood stabilizer that helps control the mood episodes of the patient and it takes one to two weeks before the medication takes its full effect. It is usually prescribed in cases like mania and depression. Although, it effectiveness is not achieved with mixed mood episodes. A patient taking lithium is normally asked by physicians to have a regular blood test as accumulation of the medicine in the blood beyond its normal limits can be fatal. Common side effects of lithium include weight gain, drowsiness, tremor, stomach pain, diarrhea, vertigo and excessive thirst. But these adverse reactions are normally experienced by patient taking lithium and will eventually disappear.

Anticonvulsant mood stabilizers helps relieve the symptoms of mania and decrease mood swings. The most common anticonvulsant mood stabilizer is the Valproic acid which treats symptoms caused by mania, depression and mixed mood swings. Also, it sometimes recommended to patients who can’t tolerate the side effects caused by lithium. The common adverse reaction of this medication include drowsiness, weight gain, dizziness, tremor, diarrhea and nausea.

There are some instances where bipolar disorders, especially when not controlled, can cause patient to lose tract of reality. If patients complain of halluciantions or paranoia, they are usually prescribed with antipsychotic medications. it is often combined with mood stabilizers. Adverse reactions that patients might manifest while taking the drug include drowsiness, weight gain, dry mouth, constipation, sexual dysfunction and blurred vision.

Other medications include benzodiazepines, calcium channel blockers and thyroid medications. There are some instances that antidepressants will be prescribed, however, its effect on a patient’s mood swings is quite controversial. So, it is advised to take it with caution as it aggravates the symptoms.

On the other hand, bipolar medication should not be taken alone. For total recovery from the illness, medications should be taken with healthy lifestyle, exercise and a support group. Also, the combination of these medications without advised from the doctor can be very fatal. So, to avoid such circumstances, consult your physician to discuss with you the treatment plan.

Bipolar in Children: Signs & Help

Does your child display mood swings? Are you concerned that your child may have bipolar disorder? To help understand the signs of bipolar disorder and what type of help is available for bipolar children, I have interviewed therapist Jessica Ives, MA, NCC, LCPC.

Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I am a Child and Family Therapist and work at Life Counseling Center in Easton, MD. I specialize in children using play therapy. I am currently being trained to be a RPT (Registered Play Therapist) through the Association for Play Therapists. I’ve been married for 12 years and have 2 children.”

What are the signs and symptoms of bipolar in children?
“There are many signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder in children but the confusing part is that these symptoms can also look like many other things as well. It’s important to get a diagnosis from a professional because bipolar disorder in children is difficult to diagnose. Some of the very common symptoms are rages, oppositional behavior, frequent mood swings, ADHD, restlessness, aggressiveness, depressed mood, risk taking behaviors, anxiety, racing thoughts, and low self esteem.”

What type of impact does bipolar have on a child’s life?
“Bipolar disorder can have a major impact on children. Children who suffer without treatment do worse in school, social situations, and have difficulty in the family dynamic. Without treatment kids can feel isolated, different, bad, or just not able to control themselves.”

What type of help is available for children who have bipolar?
“Help is available for children with bipolar. The first step is getting a diagnosis and getting treatment. A therapist, psychiatrist, or psychologist can typically diagnose bipolar disorder. The child’s pediatrician can sometimes be the first step to getting help as well. They can often steer a parent in the right direction. A child with bipolar disorder needs medication and counseling.”

What advice would you like to give to a parent who has a bipolar child?
“Bipolar Disorder in a child is not the end of the world. There is help available but it is important to be consistent in getting the child treatment. Many parents just stop after their child seems better. Children need consistency, structure, and many attainable goals for them to keep focused. Bipolar disorder is manageable.”

Thank you Jessica for doing the interview on bipolar children. For more information on Jessica Ives or her work you can check out her website on www.jessicaives.com.

Recommended Readings:
Tips For Identifying Bipolar Disorder in Your Teen
Bipolar Disorder
Major Depressive Disorder

Schedules and Your Bipolar Child: How Sleeping and Eating Effect Moods

Early onset bipolar disorder in children is similar to bipolar disorder that adults experience except for that fact that children may experience rapid shifts in moods on a daily basis. Children with bipolar symptoms like this also experience low arousal states in the morning with increased energy in the afternoon and evenings. Because of these symptoms, keeping your child on a schedule can help them learn how to cope with their disorder.

Many children with bipolar disorder are unable to calm down at night and fall asleep. Their energy levels are much higher than children who do not have bipolar disorder. Parents need to recognize that in order to avoid irritability, angry outbursts and other defiant behavior, adjusting your home to accommodate your bipolar child is in everyone's best interests. Some doctors may prescribe a sleep medication but often that can be avoided by trying some other methods to make your child's space more conductive to sleep.

Keeping a routine is essential for patients who have bipolar, not just children. If a parent of a bipolar child teaches them soon after diagnosis how to keep a schedule, they will grow up with it as a way of life. Living a chaotic life only makes the symptoms of bipolar harder to deal with.

The first thing for a parent to do is to create an environment for their child that is free of distractions. Their bedroom should be free of video game systems, television and any other electronic device that they could use to distract themselves from sleeping. If you do not want to remove their television from their bedroom just make it a rule that it is not turned on after a certain time. Calming music can help a child wind down so using an iPod, CD player or even a radio is something that a bipolar child should have in their bedroom.

Lighting is another issue. Room darkening blinds or curtains can help to keep distractions down. Room temperature also needs to be considered. A small fan sometimes helps to drown out noise and lull a child into sleep. Many bipolar children have issues with being overly sensitive to fabrics. Comfort is essential in whether or not you can fall asleep and stay asleep. Don't assume that buying a pillowtop for your child's bed will make it more comfortable for them. Some bipolar children prefer a harder surface to sleep on. Have them shop with you for their blankets, pillows, sheets and anything else that will help them to be able to feel comfortable.

Using an all-natural sleep aid like Melatonin can help with many bipolar children. You should ask your doctor about this before giving it to your child but many parents see a difference in how their child falls asleep and awakens when taking this supplement.

Another routine that needs to be enforced is regular meals. Getting a bipolar child to eat a good breakfast when they have difficulty in awakening may seem impossible but it will help greatly. Aim for something whole grain that will be filling and provide energy in the mornings when they need it the most. Even a grab and go breakfast like a bagel will give them the benefits of having breakfast. It is already proven that children do better in school when they start their day off by eating breakfast.

Watching their sugar and especially caffeine intake is important also. Encourage healthier snacking by keeping fruits and vegetables handy. Cut back on "bad" foods and eventually, they will not miss them. Make sure they eat meals even if they are not hungry. Smaller portions at frequent intervals may work better when it is possible to do so.

These are just two things to consider when working on a schedule for a bipolar child. Paying more attention to their sleeping and eating will show a big difference in their moods. It will make dealing with your bipolar child easier.

Bipolar Disorder, Fear of Harm, Medication Symptoms and Accommodations


Could You Be Bipolar?

About two months ago I was diagnosed with bipolar syndrome. While this worried me I felt relieved… finally, an explanation for the constant emotional rollercoaster. Could you be suffering from this syndrome?

Most people have emotional ups and downs, but people that suffer from bipolar syndrome can't control these extreme emotional changes. One day you might feel extremely down, tired, despondent. Nothing seems to go right and the slightest problem leaves you feeling like nothing will be right again. The next day you might feel full of energy and creativity and might start acting a little reckless. Many that suffer from bipolar syndrome go on shopping sprees, embarrass themselves in public by doing things they wouldn't normally do, stay awake all night because they have too much energy… the list goes on.

Some that suffer from bipolar syndrome have such swings several times a day. Imagine that! Someone who is bipolar is both depressed and suffering from mania. These are some of the possible symptoms you could suffer:

This is how you might feel when you are "down":

  • You down or sad for no apparent reason.
    • You are losing interest in activities and things you used to enjoy.
    • You feel discouraged, guilty, or insignificant.
    • You sleep too much or can't sleep at all.
    • You gain or lose a lot of weight.
    • You have no energy and feel tired al the time.
    • You have problems making the smallest decisions or concentrating.
    • You think about killing yourself.

This is how you might feel when you are "up":

  • You have a lot of pent up energy.
    • You don't sleep as much.
    • Your mind jumps around and your thoughts are constantly racing.
    • You are very easily distracted.
    • You chatter a lot more than you used to.
    • You feel on top of the world.
    • You want to do everything at once but don't get anything done.
    • You do things you don't usually do that might be risky and out of character.

Along with these symptoms you might feel some more extreme ones. There are two types of Bipolar syndrome, Bipolar I and Bipolar II. The basic difference is that Bipolar I is more severe and might come with mania episodes that might land you in the hospital. When you suffer from Bipolar II, you can still function, although with more difficulty than someone that doesn't. Someone with Bipolar I could also suffer from hallucinations and psychotic episodes.

You don't need to feel bad enough to go to the hospital to believe you might suffer from bipolar syndrome. If you feel your ups and downs are making your life more difficult than it should be, consult a therapist. The evaluation usually takes about an hour and then you will most likely be referred to a Psychiatrist for further evaluation and possible treatment with prescription drugs.

Don't let another day pass without knowing for sure. If you strongly suspect your emotions are taking you for a ride, why should you continue suffering?

Bipolar Disorder Test

Have you heard about Bipolar disorder? This may sound familiar for some people but for others they do not have the slightest idea of what is the disorder all about. I will give you a quick glimpse about this psychological disorder.

Bipolar disorder or bipolar affective disorder is a diagnosis describing a category of mood disorders identified with a presence of one or more episodes abnormally high level of energy, cognition or mood with or without depressive episodes. The elevated mood of patients with bipolar disorder is clinically known as mania. Most of the people with bipolar disorder usually experience mania as well as depressive episode. Some may occur simultaneously while for other people the changes in the mood alternate.

According to American psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, there are three sub-types under bipolar disorder and one non-specified namely the bipolar 1, bipolar 2, cyclothymia, and bipolar disorder NOS. Each has its own signs and symptoms that are diagnosed by trained professionals using DSM-IV-TR and ICD-10. Usually an assessment is a physical exam by a physician followed by diagnostic procedures to cross out other potential causes. The findings of the physician as well as the information given by the family of the patient will determine if a patient is having bipolar disorder.

Although you need a psychiatrist to properly diagnose a bipolar disorder, there are some tests that will give you a hint that there is something wrong with that person. There are many websites that offer quizzes to diagnose that a person have bipolar disorder and most of them use Goldberg Bipolar Screening Quiz.

The Goldberg Bipolar Screening Quiz is developed by Dr. Ivan Goldberg and it’s been used by many to diagnose bipolar disorder. Nevertheless, to make the diagnosis official, a trained medical professional needs to clarify the diagnosis. The quiz is composed of 12 questions and you can choose your answer by rating yourself from 0-5 in which 0 means “Not at all” and 5 means “Very much”. After completing the quiz, your score is tallied. The screening test scoring ranges 0-15 as major or unipolar disorder, 16-24 as major depression or a disorder in the bipolar spectrum and 25-above as bipolar spectrum. The gist of the quiz is the higher your score is, the higher the probability of having a bipolar disorder is also higher.

Bipolar Workers Can Help Themselves

Bipolar Disorder is a Mental Illness affecting millions, and is medically described as a "Mood Disorder". It is a manic or depressive episode, mixed episodes, with sometime rapid cycles of mood swings occurring between each. A Bipolar Individual may experience a depressive crying episode followed by a wildly happy episode and a depressive episode again all within a time frame of less than 1 hour. In some extreme episodes, Bipolar disorder may lead to delusion and hallucinations. The exact cause of the disorder is unknown, however it is suggested that a chemical imbalance in the brain and genetics play a large role in it's presentation. There are varying degrees of severity of Bipolar Disorder, and most are treated with psychiatric drugs and counseling to address underlying issues.

Various psychiatric drugs have enabled Bipolar individuals to lead full and productive lives, remaining active in society. Many times the illness requires a combination of medications, as each case is different in scope and frequency of episodes.

Bipolar Disorder in the workplace can be a very difficult situation to address, whether from the standpoint of management or coworkers. Wild mood swings may cause conflict between otherwise amiable employees. A major decline in production may result from the feelings of hopelessness present in depression. Haphazard completion of tasks may occur due to the rush of mania. Paranoia, anger, and delusions of reality all may contribute in the decline of a pleasant workplace. Due to social stigma's attached to mental illness, many people with Bipolar Disorder keep their condition a secret. A lack of understanding of the disease and misunderstanding of mental illness in general can, to this day, ruin a professional career within an apathetic work environment.

Here are some things a Bipolar Individual may do to help themselves at work:

Keep a Consistent Work Schedule – The more simplified things are for a person exhibiting symptoms, the better.

Get Organized – It is best to keep all aspects of life reasonably organized at all times. This is not to say one need become phobic, but good organization reduces confusion on a bad day.

Let Someone Know – If a bipolar person has a great boss or close friend at work, they may want to let them know of their situation. If an empathetic person is present in the workplace, they may recognize a problem, or deflect a possibly disastrous happenstance.

Be Professional – Try to limit gossip, horseplay etc.,It is easy for a Bipolar person to go way over the top on these when experiencing a Manic episode.

Handle Problems As They Come – For anyone, a bad mental day can make problems multiply. Attempt to always stay a little ahead of your workload.

Structure – Many people with Bipolar Disorder are more at ease when living a structured lifestyle.

Call a Lifeline – Have someone a phone call away who talk you through a tough day.

Keep Appointments – Always keep Doctors and Counseling appointments, even if you feel great.

Take Medications – Always take your medication on schedule, don't skip doses or take less when you feel well. If experiencing side effects from medicines, talk to your Doctor – there are many drugs and combinations that may help. This is an area of trial and error, even for Doctors.

Many times people suffering from Bipolar Disorder can tell when they are "off", but occasionally they are certain they are fine, it's the other person's problem or difficult personality. At these times a "safety net" consisting of family or friends may step forward and assist an individual in seeking professional help. It is important that these people are intimately aware of the illness, and persistent in resolving concerns of the Bipolar person.

A Bipolar Diagnosis Means Coping for Life

Bipolar disorder is one of the most difficult mental illnesses for the general public to understand. To the ignorant observer, a person suffering from bipolar mania may simply seem ebullient, talkative, flirtatious and perhaps obnoxious, but these may be bipolar indicators.

The Triggers and Symptoms

My experience with bipolar disorder was triggered by the combination of work and life stress. I found a new job and was working feverishly to close out my old job responsibilities. I was having difficulty managing a troublesome employee. In my private life, my wife had just a miscarriage a month after a stressful visit with in-laws. These factors combined to push me to a breaking point I didn't know I had. Within days, I would soon be diagnosed bipolar.

The first and most obvious symptom was chronic insomnia. This was not loss of sleep for a few nights, but for weeks of nights. I was up all night, my mind hyperactive. I got an hour of sleep here and there. My appetite decreased, but I still had high energy. I was talking all the time, my mind awash with ideas. I was incapable of focusing. Sometimes I would write compulsively (graphomania) or exhibit obsessive compulsive disorder-like symptoms, for instance organizing my nail and screw drawers all night in the garage. Little things made me argumentative. I had anger management issues. I lost control of my ability to think.

It's pretty scary when you can't control your own thoughts, what you say or what you do, but you can't say anything because it feels euphoric.

I began self-medicating (drinking and smoking even though I don't smoke), spending money recklessly (like every newspaper I could find – one such paper-buying spree occurred the day after the OJ civil verdict was decided.). I bought things that made no sense, but for some reason, they appealed to my manic mind.

The Diagnosis and Preventing Relapses

My wife, my father and my best friend convened an intervention. They helped me realize I needed to sign myself into a psychiatric institution. I got angry and peeled off in my car. My friend found me hours later.

After 19 in-patient days and numerous out-patient sessions (which cost $30,000 and was luckily covered by insurance), I was diagnosed as bipolar. At first, I was prescribed lithium and Risperdol. Later it was Zyprexa and other drugs, some of which have severe side effects. I realized I needed medication to slow my thoughts down and make me 'normal' again. Unlike some bipolar people, I have always been prescription compliant.

Six months later, I was well enough to get a job in political PR in the state capitol. At times, this stress became unbearable. I was recruited to work on campaigns, which resulted in several breakdowns. I learned to avoid stressful situations and informed my employers of the symptoms and triggers of the illness. Understanding the illness and its triggers made it easier to cope. However, sometimes my antipsychotic medication simply stopped working.

I suffered my latest episode of mania resulting from bipolar disorder in 2011. The stress was driving me insane. I impulsively quit my job.

My employers reacted poorly and called the police. Inadequate police training on how to deal with the mentally ill is still a reality in 2012. Their actions actually provoked my mania. They handcuffed me and involuntarily committed me to a psychiatric hospital. I stabilized immediately, but hired a lawyer to get me out in two days instead of three weeks. I just needed some time off and different medications.

Conclusion and the Future

A diagnosis of bipolar disorder is for life. The best solutions, for me, have been staying away from triggers, staying on prescribed medications and staying away from drugs like nicotine, alcohol and others. Incorporating meditation (quiet time with little stimuli), exercise, time outdoors, healthy diet and other holistic methods combine to give me hope for a stable future.

For more information of bipolar disorder, talk to your doctor or go here: http://www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Mental_Illnesses/Bipolar1/Home_-_What_is_Bipolar_Disorder_.htm

Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder in Children

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder where the person affected experience extreme mood, energy level and behavior changes. It is common in adults and children. However, doctors who specializes in treating bipolar disorder in children claim that not all children with bipolar disorder are diagnosed with one and treated with proper medication. That is why, it aggravates as time passes by.

Part of a child’s growing years is mood swings. But, if it affects the child’s ability to function, it is a whole different story. Usually, a child with a bipolar disorder can experience extreme mood changes which categorize into two – manic(extreme happiness) and depression (extreme sadness). For manic bipolar disorder, a child usually manifests symptoms such as severe changes in mood like for example, your child is unusually happy in a minute then, he becomes irritable, angry or aggressive after. Also, your child may feel increase level of energy with little amount of sleep without being tired, easily distracted and talks fast without stopping. As for depression type, a child can manifest symptoms such as frequent crying, over sleeping or over eating, can’t cope with rejection, feelings of worthlessness or thoughts of death and suicide.

Usually, children with bipolar disorder is at greater risk to have anxiety disorder and attention deficit disorder. At this point, it is more difficult for parents and doctors to diagnose bipolar disorder in a child. So, as much as possible, parents should be aware of their child’s condition as early as possible for early treatment and prevent chances of recurrence. If you think your child shows odd behavior, don’t hesitate to consult a doctor. Knowing the disorder at its onset can make a huge difference to your child’s condition. Also, the knowledge about the disorder will help you as a parent know the different ways to approach his mood and behavioral changes which can be a huge impact to his recovery.

Are You Bipolar?

Most people experience mood swings in life. But a small minority of Americans are manic depressive, bipolar. They experience mood swings that are very extreme in nature. Bipolar is a debilitating illness that affects 2.6% of the United States population. The following article will help you determine if someone you love, or perhaps yourself, is afflicted with this mental health illness.

The most common symptom of bipolar disorder is extreme and unpredictable mood swings. Imagine winning the lottery and wishing you were dead. Or you go from happy to sad for no particular reason. Your emotions tend to not reflect your current situation. Even if you have a history of relationship problems that could be a sign that your not emotionally stable and might require medication to help correct this.

Another warning sign of bipolar disorder is cutting, or self mutilation. Stress from painful emotions can lead to dangerous and self-destructive behavior. Substance abuse is also common in people suffering from bipolar disorder. The drug of choice for most of these people is either alcohol or marijuana. Substance abuse is common because sufferers of this disorder try to self-medicate using what is available to them.

If you or someone you know has any of these symptoms, please seek further information. This is a very serious illness and it is misdiagnosed very often. A person with bipolar disorder can lead a productive life. Support from family and friends is crucial in helping someone cope with such a life altering condition. But the most important thing someone with bipolar can do is seek medical attention and develop a plan with a health care professional.