Frequently Asked Questions About Bipolar Disorder

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If you are suffering with bipolar disorder or you know of someone who is, then it’s important that you know everything about this mental illness. In a nutshell, bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is characterised by constantly changing stages of elation and depression.According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR; APA, 2000), they state that it is a “distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood, lasting at least 1 week (or any duration if hospitalization is necessary)”.

DSM-IV-TR also states that those suffering from bipolar disorder will usually exhibit any 3-4 of the following symptoms:

  • “Increased self-esteem or grandiosity
  • Decreased need for sleep (e.g., feels rested after only 3 hours of sleep)
  • More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
  • Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing
  • Distractibility (i.e., attention too easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli)
  • Increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work or school, or sexually) or psychomotor agitation
  • Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., engaging in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments).”

If you are able to link any of the above to yourself or a loved one, then it becomes important to seek professional help immediately. However, it’s also handy to know a little bit more about mental illness, that’s why we are going to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about bipolar disorder.

Can I Check if I Have Bipolar Disorder or if I am Likely to Develop it?
Unfortunately, there is no definitive test to determine whether someone has bipolar or is likely to develop it at some point in their lives.

Can Bipolar Disorder be Mistaken for Another Illness?
The symptoms that those suffering with bipolar are very similar to the indicators of various other medical conditions, which include:

  • Thyroid illness
  • Stroke
  • Epilepsy
  • HIV
  • Lack of vitamin B12 (also known as cobalamin, which plays a massive role in the normal functioning of the brain and the central nervous system)

A good way to determine whether you or your loved one has bipolar or not is to provide your medical practitioner or mental health specialist with your full medical history and a list of all the medications currently being used so that an accurate diagnose can be done.

Will I Have to Use Medicine Bipolar Medicine Forever?
Depending on the severity of the bipolar disorder suffered, not necessarily, however for those who have suffered a severe episode, they should use take these medicines every day. However, speak to your medical practitioner about this, he or she will be the best judge on what is best for your own individual needs.

Is There Anything That Can Be Done to Help Overcome Bipolar Disorder?
One of the most effective ways to overcome bipolar disorder is to educate yourself about this mental illness. Speak to a mental health specialist about your problem or get in contact with others also in bipolar recovery. This will help show you that you are not alone and can also gather valuable experience and insight into how to manage things when it becomes tough. For access to the best bipolar clinics near you, contact us now and let one of our qualified counsellors find the best treatment to suit your every individual needs.

Sources:
National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64063/

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