Bipolar disorder is a mental illness marked by extreme swings in emotion from euphoria to depression. Women, men, and children with bipolar disorder may experience frenetic bouts of creativity and emotional highs followed by crashing lows that increase their risk for suicide.
About 2.8% of women and men in the United States have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Approximately 83% of them have serious and disruptive symptoms.
Manic episodes may seem exciting and productive to observers, but they, too, can be dangerous. During a euphoric state, someone with bipolar disorder may take risks that endanger their physical, mental, or financial health. Sometimes their risk-taking even gets them into trouble with the law.
Although bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that needs treatment and care, you can learn to manage your disease and live a happy, productive life. At Precise Research Centers, Joseph Kwentus, MD, and Karen Richardson, PhD, offer cutting-edge diagnostic and treatment techniques for bipolar disorder at our office in Flowood, Mississippi.
If you or your loved one has bipolar disorder, you don’t have to despair. Following are five encouraging facts about this challenging mental illness.
Counseling helps you identify your manic and depressive episodes before they strike at full force. When you notice that you may be entering a manic or depressive phase, you and your therapist can come up with strategies to keep you safe and help you tamp down the extreme emotions.
Therapy also helps you identify patterns that may be destructive and learn strategies to avoid falling into them while in a manic or depressive phase.
While you may still have grandiose ideas and plans in a manic phase, for instance, you may simply record and write them down for later consideration rather than act rashly on them and put yourself at risk.
Many people believe that those who suffer from bipolar disorder are irresponsible and can’t be trusted with responsibility. This may interfere with your ability to build a satisfying career or intimate relationships.
However, this belief is a myth, not a fact. Many people with bipolar disorder go on to live highly productive and satisfying lives with the help of a customized treatment plan. You deserve to be happy, no matter what your diagnosis.
Not all bipolar disorders are alike. In fact, you may not experience the stereotypical extreme highs and lows, and yet still have bipolar disorder. Some people, for instance, experience only highs without lows or vice versa.
Still others may have such a mild case of bipolar disorder that they don’t need medications at all. Simple lifestyle changes, such as eating healthy foods and exercising regularly, along with talk therapy may be enough to control their disease over the long term.
Without treatment, bipolar disorder worsens. A customized treatment plan, however, can keep you stable, productive, and happy over the long term. It does take commitment on your part, though.
One danger with bipolar disorder is that either emotional extreme may cause you to think you don’t need therapy anymore.
If you’re in an elated phase, you may believe you’ve cured your illness and stop taking your medication. When you’re down and depressed, you may lose faith in your ability to control your disease.
That’s why it’s important to have a support team around you. Your therapist and your loved ones can help you stay on track, even when your disease threatens to derail you.
By staying consistent with your mediations and therapy, the extremes gradually become more manageable. When you see the difference your therapy makes over the long term, you’re more likely to remain compliant for life.
One of the most encouraging facts about bipolar disorder is that new medications are always in development. In fact, just last year the FDA approved lumateperone (Caplyta®) to treat depressive episodes in bipolar 1 or 2 disorder in adults. You can take Caplyta alone or in combination with lithium or valproate.
In addition, if you or someone you love exhibits symptoms of bipolar disorder, you may also be eligible for clinical trials that we conduct with new medications here at Precise Research Centers. While you’re enrolled in a clinical trial, we also provide you our expert, compassionate support.