It is believed that more than two million Americans suffer from a form of bipolar disorder, even though many of them are not aware of that fact. Although the disorder does not have age or gender limitations, the symptoms of bipolar disorder usually appear in the post-adolescence and early adulthood period. The symptoms of bipolar disorder are easy to notice, but are also common to other disorders, which is why it is recommended for people to see a specialist before applying a diagnosis. The situation is all the more delicate as bipolar disorder affects the brain and is usually associated with extreme mood shifts.
Other symptoms are the fluctuations between intense mania and severe depression intervals. These periods often alternate with normalcy periods, making the disorder even harder to track. Besides the sudden mood changes, the symptoms of bipolar disorder also include concentration difficulties and inability to maintain certain efforts or functions required for a productive living. Depending on the bipolar disorder symptoms, patients are usually diagnosed with various severity degrees. For example, hypomania and severe depression are known as signs of bipolar disorder II. It is one of the most common stages of the disorder, and it affects mostly women.
Fortunately, bipolar disorder can be treated, assuming that it gets diagnosed on time and that the patient agrees to follow a long term treatment.
Bipolar Disorder Symptoms:
The disorder is known to involve manic phases, usually manifested through bursts of energy, irritability, restlessness, impossibility to concentrate, euphoria, aggressiveness, irrational thinking, insomnia, etc. The depression phases are marked by bursts of sadness, helplessness, guilt, pessimism and restlessness, associated with weight fluctuations, irregular sleeping and lack of interest in life. Suicide ideas or attempts often appear after prolonged depression periods.
It is very important for those close to the sufferer to recognize the symptoms of bipolar disorder, as the sufferer usually explains them as natural reactions towards life’s challenges, the results of exhaustion, work stress, etc. But as pointed out, if left untreated, the disorder may lead to severe depression and to suicidal thoughts, therefore jeopardizing the life of the sufferer. The situation is also accentuated by the lack of information on the subject.
Fortunately a significant change in this volume of information has been noted throughout the last couple of years, when the media began to pay more attention to the matter and the mental health community work on educating the population. Given the tendency most people show, to apply diagnoses themselves and to choose their own treatments following TV commercials or online information, we feel it is our duty to warn that the diagnosis should be left to the specialized personnel, and treatment should always follow a medical prescription.
If you suspect someone in your family suffers from bipolar disorder, do everything in your power to convince that person to see a specialist, take a bipolar test, offer unconditional love, support and understanding. Don’t forget that the symptoms of bipolar disorder are often tricky, and disregarding them, or taking them for signs of something else may be dangerous for the sufferer.