Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder, formally called Manic Depressive Illness, can be a very challenging diagnosis to live with if untreated. Having an unstable mood and no prediction of what might trigger a change, is frustrating and defeating. Frequently, family members, friends and coworkers don’t understand this diagnosis and become impatient with the individual diagnosed with this disorder. Bipolar Disorder is a brain and behavior disorder characterized by severe shifts in a person's mood and energy.

More than 5.7 million American adults or 2.6 percent of the population age 18 or older have been diagnosed Bipolar Disorder. Symptoms typically start in late adolescence or early adulthood, although it can show up in children and in older adults. People often live with the disorder without having it properly diagnosed and treated. (bbrfoundation.org, 2017)

Mania Episode Signs and Symptoms:

  • Increased energy, activity, restlessness
  • Euphoric mood
  • Extreme irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Racing thoughts, fast talking, jumping between ideas
  • Sleeplessness
  • Heightened sense of self-importance
  • Spending sprees
  • Increased sexual behavior
  • Abuse of drugs, such as cocaine, alcohol and sleeping medications
  • Provocative, intrusive or aggressive behavior
  • Denial that anything is wrong

Depressive Episode Signs:

  • Sad, anxious or empty-feeling mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, including sex
  • Decreased energy, fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Sleeplessness or sleeping too much
  • Change in appetite, unintended weight loss or gain
  • Bodily symptoms not caused by physical illness or injury
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

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In sessions your counselor will work with you on identifying triggers, learning to be mindful, changing thoughts and behaviors; along with evaluating family/relationship dynamics, sleep patterns, diet, exercise, support and self-care. The best treatment for this diagnosis is therapy and medication combined. Through proper treatment it is possible to live a healthy and happy life after being diagnosed.

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