Bipolar and Other Mood Disorders

Bipolar disorders are mental health conditions that cause instability and shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, ability to function, and concentration. There are three types of Bipolar disorder: bipolar 1, bipolar 2, and cyclothymic disorder. The difference between them is the range of mood change and time span of how long each change in mood can last.

Some examples of mood changes include extremes of feeling energized, elated, irritable, and possibly having delusions of being able to do things that would seem unwise in a stable state. This is the example of a manic episode, a classic symptom of bipolar 1 disorder. Some people with bipolar 2 disorder will experience “hypomanic” episodes, leaving a state of stability or depression followed by elatedness but less extreme than a manic episode. Hypomania is difficult to assess. The signs that you are experiencing hypomania is in the cyclic nature of mood swings. Like Manic episodes, hypomanic episodes are at least 7 days and can typically be two weeks long.

Another example of a drastic mood change is suddenly feeling depressed, indifferent, hopeless. The difference between Depression disorders and Bipolar disorders is the length of the depression. Cycling between mood states as fast as days, weeks, or up to 6 months may mean you are experiencing a Bipolar disorder, whereas a depression episode lasting longer than 6 months falls under the Depression disorder category. These mood swings can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior and the ability to think clearly.

Bipolar disorders can be treated, and people with these illnesses can lead full and productive lives. Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, you can manage your mood swings and other symptoms by following a treatment plan. In most cases, bipolar disorder is treated with medications and psychological counseling (psychotherapy).

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