Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by significant shifts in mood, energy and activity levels. It’s a challenge marked by alternating periods of depressive and manic episodes, each bringing distinct obstacles. Understanding bipolar disorder is the first step toward managing its impact and leading a balanced life.
The Dual Faces of Bipolar Disorder
Women with bipolar disorder experience two distinct, opposing emotional states.
- Mania: These are periods of high energy, reduced need for sleep and a euphoric sense of confidence. While you may feel productive and full of ideas, the tradeoffs include racing thoughts, excessive talkativeness and impulsive decision-making, impacting relationships and performance in daily tasks.
- Depression: In stark contrast to mania, depressive episodes can plunge you into profound feelings of sadness, worthlessness or hopelessness. These periods can lead to a loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite or sleep and difficulty concentrating.
Understanding the Causes and Symptoms
Researchers have not pinpointed a cause of bipolar disorder, but they theorize several factors play a role.
- Genetics: Bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses tend to run in families.
- Brain chemistry: Imbalances in neurotransmitters, the chemicals responsible for communication in the brain, may contribute to the development of bipolar disorder.
- Environmental triggers: Substance abuse, traumatic events and other stress-inducing experiences can trigger the onset of bipolar disorder.
Bipolar Test and Diagnosis
Recognizing the symptoms of bipolar disorder is critical for timely intervention.
- During manic episodes: Look for signs like unusually high energy, a decreased need for sleep, restlessness, racing thoughts and impulsive behavior.
- During depressive episodes: Symptoms may include prolonged sadness, lack of energy, changes in sleep and eating patterns, feelings of guilt or insignificance and thoughts of suicide.
Diagnosing bipolar disorder typically involves a comprehensive assessment, including a detailed discussion of your medical history and physical and mental health symptoms. A manic episode involves three or more of the characteristics listed above for a prolonged period, while a major depressive episode significantly disrupts day-to-day functioning.
Here to Support You Through the Highs and Lows
Often, people living with bipolar disorder don’t realize the extent of their emotional variability. If you think you have this condition, you must seek help from an experienced health professional. Treatment usually involves a combination of medication and psychotherapy, tailored to manage and balance the symptoms.
At Canyon Crossing, we understand the unique challenges faced by women living with bipolar disorder. Our compassionate approach aims to provide the support and guidance necessary to manage this condition effectively. If you experience symptoms of bipolar disorder, we encourage you to reach out to us. Together, we can start you on the path to a more stable and fulfilling life.