What is Bipolar disorder and how do you treat it? Commonly misused as a blanket term for moody behavior, Bipolar Disorder is actually much more complex and serious. Bipolar disorder (formerly called manic-depressive illness or manic depression) is a mental disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, concentration, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. As with any mental disorder, the ways in which people experience it varies, and, therefore, so can treatment. Let’s take a look at the different kinds of bipolar disorders, their symptoms, and how they can be treated.
Kinds of Bipolar Disorder
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), there are three types of bipolar disorder. All three types involve clear changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. These moods range from periods of extremely “up” (known as manic episodes) to very “down” (known as depressive episodes). Less severe manic periods are known as hypomanic episodes.
- Bipolar I Disorder is defined by manic episodes that last at least 7 days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care. Usually, depressive episodes occur as well, typically lasting at least 2 weeks. Episodes of depression with mixed features (having depressive symptoms and manic symptoms at the same time) are also possible.
- Bipolar II Disorder is defined by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but not the full-blown manic episodes that are typical of Bipolar I Disorder.
- Cyclothymic Disorder is defined by periods of hypomanic symptoms as well as periods of depressive symptoms lasting for at least 2 years, but does not meet the diagnostic requirements for a hypomanic episode and a depressive episode.
What are the symptoms?
Mania causes highly noticeable problems at work, school and social activities, as well as relationship difficulties. Mania may also trigger a break from reality (psychosis) and require hospitalization. Manic episodes can be identified by:
- Abnormally upbeat, jumpy or wired
- Increased activity, energy or agitation
- Exaggerated sense of well-being and self-confidence (euphoria)
- Decreased need for sleep
- Unusual talkativeness
- Racing thoughts
- Poor decision-making
A major depressive episode, although just as likely to cause noticeable problems in your work, school, social, and love life, presents a bit differently, with symptoms such as:
- Depressed mood (feeling sad, empty, hopeless, or irritable)
- Loss of interest or feeling no pleasure in normal activities
- Significant weight loss, weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite
- Either insomnia or sleeping too much
- Either restlessness or slowed behavior
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
- Decreased ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
- Thinking about, planning or attempting suicide
What Treatment is Available?
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness, as episodes of mania and depression typically come back over time. Between episodes, many people with bipolar disorder are free of mood changes, but some people may have lingering symptoms. Long-term, continuous treatment can help people manage these symptoms, such as antidepressants and mood stabilizing medicines in conjunction with psychotherapy or some other form of therapy. For those who have tried (but have not responded) to this kind of protocol and are looking for new treatment options, Ketamine Infusions can help.
According to a recent study from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Ketamine may be incredibly useful for treating certain depressed bipolar disorder patients. The study, conducted on 36 subjects over the course of five years, found that ketamine helps reverse one of the key symptoms that bipolar depressed patients experience: the inability to seek or feel pleasure, medically referred to as anhedonia. In fact, there are numerous studies at world-renowned institutions and over 7 years’ worth of treatment experience in our offices that can back that up. Low-dose Ketamine Infusions alleviate suffering in over 70% of patients, and unlike other medications that can take 6-8 weeks to take effect, Ketamine can begin to work quickly, sometimes after just one or two treatments. Over 2,000 patients thus far have experienced some form of relief from Dr. Brooks’ unique, next-level protocols and compassionate, personalized care. Visit www.albanyketamine.com to schedule your free consultation today!