According to the International Bipolar Foundation, approximately 5.7 million American adults, or 2.6% of the population, have Bipolar Disorder. If you suffer from Bipolar Disorder, it is important to understand what that means and how you can live a normal life with your disorder.
The only way to be sure you have Bipolar Disorder (BD) is by being diagnosed by a mental health professional, but there are some signs that may indicate you should seek consultation. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Bipolar Disorder is characterized by “clear changes in mood, energy, and activity levels.”
During manic episodes, people may feel very happy or elated, as if they have a lot of energy, have trouble sleeping, be irritable, or even engage in risky behavior. On the other hand, during depressive episodes, people may feel very sad or down or, as if they are drained of energy, also have trouble sleeping, feel anxious or empty, or even think about death or suicide. Mood episodes can have combined symptoms from both manic and depressive episodes, to both extreme and non-extreme levels.
Bipolar Disorder does not have to inhibit you from living your life to the fullest. Bipolar Disorder can be managed through a combination of treatments including medication and therapy. Medications in the form of mood stabilizers, atypical antipsychotics, and antidepressants can be used to treat Bipolar Disorder. When done in addition to medication, psychotherapy — or “talk therapy” — can be very useful in managing BD.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), sleep medications, and keeping a life chart can also all be effective during the treatment process. It is up to you and your mental health professional to come up with the most effective solution for you. Sometimes it may take a while to find the right balance in medication for bipolar disorder and therapy, but do not lose hope.
Though seeking professional help is an important step, there are some techniques you can use that will make living with bipolar disorder more manageable. In addition to releasing dopamine naturally in your body, thereby lifting your mood, exercise can be a welcome distraction from your feelings of anxiousness (from a depressive episode) or to get rid of excess energy (from a manic episode).
Distractions do not need to be physical to be effective though; any types of hobbies that you enjoy and can keep you busy will help you find people with similar interests (a possible support group) and improve your self-esteem. A great way to distract yourself and improve your self-worth is through volunteering. Volunteering can help you feel more involved in your community, and focusing on helping others in need will convert your focus from your needs to the needs of others.
Sleep and nutrition are very important factors in one’s mood, and the healthier your body is overall, the easier everyday functions will be. Sleep is essential for brain function and mood stabilization, so getting approximately seven hours of sleep every night is important. Certain types of foods are known to specifically help improve your mood, so talk to your doctor about what nutrition plan may be right for you.
Coping with a mental health disorder can be difficult, but you should know that you never have to do it alone. Besides family and friends who you can turn to, 2nd Chance Treatment Center in Glendale, AZ is a safe place to go in if you are looking for help. Psychiatrists at 2nd Chance Treatment Center can complete a comprehensive psychiatric and medical assessment, as well as help you choose a treatment plan that is right for you. And all of this is done on an outpatient level, so you don’t have to forego previous commitments to receive treatment here.