It's essential to have an understanding of bipolar disorder in order to help patients manage their condition. This mental health condition is incurable and requires ongoing treatment, so it's important for those affected to be aware of this fact and not stop taking medication when they feel better. Bipolar disorder usually develops during late adolescence or early adulthood, although it can sometimes occur in children. Although the symptoms of bipolar disorder may come and go, it is a chronic condition that requires lifelong treatment.
If left untreated, the symptoms can worsen, leading to serious consequences such as suicide, job loss, and family discord. However, with proper treatment, people living with bipolar disorder can manage their mood swings and other symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to managing bipolar disorder. It is sometimes referred to as manic-depressive disorder or manic depressive disorder, which are older terms.
The main symptoms of bipolar disorder are alternating episodes of high and low moods. Bipolar II disorder is characterized by episodes of hypomania, which is an unusually energetic state of mind that affects mood, thoughts, and behaviors. Lithium is the most commonly prescribed medication for bipolar disorder, but there are other medications that may be more effective for certain subtypes of the condition such as rapid cycle and dysphoric mania. People with bipolar I disorder have a significantly higher risk of suicide than the general population.
Some people may experience manic or hypomanic episodes many times throughout their lives, while others may only experience them rarely. Pregnancy can trigger the first episodes of bipolar disorder in women of childbearing potential. Those with a parent or sibling with bipolar disorder are more likely to have the condition themselves. It's important to observe symptoms over time and consider family history when diagnosing bipolar disorder with psychosis or schizophrenia.
People with bipolar disorder are also at a higher risk of developing other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, migraines, thyroid disease, and heart disease. Even if a child isn't diagnosed with bipolar disorder, they may still have another mental health issue that needs to be addressed. Keeping a life chart that records daily mood symptoms, treatments, sleep patterns, and life events can help patients and healthcare providers track and treat the disorder. Research on herbal or natural supplements and how they can affect bipolar disorder is limited.