Recognizing the Symptons, Getting a Diagnosis and Treatment, and Living With this Disorder

Bipolar disorder is characterized by extremes in emotions: from highs (mania) to lows (depression). This disorder affects not only the sufferer's moods, but their emotions and energy as well. And it goes without saying that those who live and work with a bipolar disorder sufferer are also affected. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, most sufferers of this malady are unable to function normally in school, home or workplace settings, nor will they be able to enjoy normal relationships with others. Left untreated, bipolar disorder can be at the root of broken homes and families, employment problems, and in the worst-case scenario: suicide and suicide attempts. It's important to recognize the signs of bipolar disorder and get treatment before life is ruined for the bipolar patient and those around him. This article will help you to recognize these signs and get proper diagnosis and treatment. With proper medication and therapy, bipolar sufferers can lead normal lives.

Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is usually noticed in older teens and young adults, although there are some cases of children being diagnosed with this disorder. It's characterized by alternating periods of high emotions (mania) and low (depression). There are frequently times of normal behavior in between the two extremes. These emotional periods can change several times in a day, or there can be several days between emotional changes. Here are some signs to look for in each phase of this disorder:

Manic Symptoms

Feelings of euphoria, extreme optimism and elated self-esteem
Rapid speech, racing thoughts, agitation, increased physical activity
Recklessness, poor judgment, taking chances when not normally doing so
Difficulty sleeping
Easily distracted
Difficulty concentrating
Aggressive behavior

Depression Symptoms

Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, guilt, hopelessness
Sleep and appetite issues
Fatigue, loss of interest in daily activities
Concentration problems
Chronic pain without a cause
Recurring thoughts of death and suicide

Diagnosis and Treatment

People with bipolar disorder often are unable to realize they have a problem, how it affects their lives or their relationships. It's often family and friends who recognize there is a problem. It's up to them to encourage the bipolar sufferer to seek medical help and treatment. Before an official diagnosis is made, a physician should oversee medical testing to rule out a physical or medical cause for the behavior of the patient. Once these are ruled out, they can do other screening tests to determine if bipolar disorder is indeed present. A medical doctor can make a diagnosis, but psychiatrists are specifically trained in mental disorders and are better qualified to diagnose and treat this condition.

Treatment of bipolar disorder usually consists of both therapy and medication. One of the main medications for bipolar disorder is lithium, which is a mood stabilizer. Other drugs in this category include carbamazepine, divalproex sodium, lamotrigine, and valproate sodium. Lithium is used to treat mania and to prevent the return of both manic and depressive tendencies. Valporate, divalproex sodium, lamotrigine, and carbamazepine may be used to treat mania or to prevent mood cycling. Valproate may be used to treat mania for people who cannot take lithium, or for whom lithium does not show positive results.

Medication alone does not seem to help bipolar patients. Medication and psychotherapy seem to help the most. Bipolar patients need to understand the nataure of their disease and how to recognize and deal with the various phases of it. There are several different forms of psychotherapy, including psychoeducation, group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and family therapies. All are useful at one point or another in the bipolar patient's care and treatment. Psychoeducation teaches the patient about his disorder, how to recognize signs of the phases, and what triggers these phases. Group therapy is used as a support system. This type of therapy helps the bipolar patient know that he is not alone and allows him to compare notes with others who suffer the same malady. Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches patients how to monitor their behavior and correct their distorted thinking.

Living With Bipolar Disorder

Proper medical and pyschotherapy treatments go a long way towards helping the bipolar sufferer live a relatively normal life. It's important to understand that there is no cure for this disorder, that once diagnosed, the patient will undoubtedly be living with it for the rest of his or her life. But there are some other things a bipolar patient can do to augment his treatment and live a more satisfying life. The most important things to do is to learn all you can about this disorder and to follow instructions from your doctor and psychiatrist. Take your medications, see your doctor regularly, eat healthy, get enough rest, exercise, and don't use alcohol or recreational drugs. Following good health habits is always recommended, no matter what medical condition is present. Avoiding stress is another goal to seek in managing your illness. And stay active socially; your associations can help you step outside yourself, may be a stress relief, and provide opportunities to be of service to them, all good things to do to help manage your disorder.

Resource Index

Plasma TV, LCD TV, MP3 Players, TIVO, Satellite TV, Dgitial Cameras, Digital Camcorders, Bose iPod Speakers, Multimedia Projectors, GPS, Blu-ray Disc

Computer and Accessories:
Choosing a Laptop Computer, Computer Memory Upgrade, Copying a Hard Drive, Dual Monitors, Networking Computers, Microsoft Office, PDA's, Cheap Ink/Toner, Color Laser Printers, Multifunction Printers, Scanners, USB Flash Drives, Wireless Printers, Dell computers, Wireless Routers, Wireless G Routers, Wireless N Routers, Laptop Carrying Cases

Computer and Video Games:
Age of Empires III, Battlefield 2

Online Gambling, Poker, Routlette, Blackjack, Craps and other Online Games, Online Casinos, Movies, Online DVD Rentals, Home Theater Systems , Home Theater Components, HDTV, HDTV Buying Tips, HD Radio, Portable DVD Players, Magazine Subscriptions

Tropical Fish, Aquariums, Scrapbooking, Rubber Stamping, Geneology, Geocaching, Soap Making, Candle Making

Criminal Defense Attorneys, Tax Attorneys, Lemon Law Protection, Structured Settlements, Investment Fraud, Bankruptcy Attorneys, Personal Injury Attorneys, Family Law

Cell Phones, Cell Phone Carriers, Prepaid Cell Phone Plans, Cell Phone Ringtones, Headsets, VOIP, Cheap Long Distance, iPhone, Blackberry, Bluetooth Technology, SmartPhones

Online College Degrees, Business Degrees, Home Schooling, Drivers Education, Job Resumes, Online Job Search
Cybercrime Prosecution, IE Security, Affordable Web Hosting, Web Hosting, Domain Name Registration, Search Engines, Web Site Design, Internet Mailing Lists, Blogging, Internet Serive Providers, Free Email, Clip Art

Finance and Insurance:
Auto Insurance, Car Insurance Quotes, RV Insurance, General Insurance, Travel Insurance, Business Insurance, Basic Guide to Consolidating Student Loans, Cash Advance Loans, Federal Student Loan Consolidation, Debt Consolidation, Debt Management, Credit Card Debt Consolidation, Free Credit Reports, Home Mortgages, Home Equity Loans, Mortgage Refinancing, Mortgage Rates, Mortgage Companies, Second Mortgages, Mortgage Brokers, Health Insurance, Insurance Quotes, Term life Insurance, Mortgage note buyer, Renter's Insurance, Household Budgeting

Home improvement, Outdoor Lighting, Kitchen Remodeling, Kitchen Countertops, Espresso Makers, Food Processors, Coffee Makers, Coffee Grinders, Slow Cookers, Popcorn makers, Blenders, Cutting Boards, Refrigerators, Freezers, Washers & Dryers, Bathroom Remodeling, Kitchen & Bathroom Faucets, Bathtubs, House Windows, Closet Organizers, Window Treatments, Hardwood Floors, Carpeting, Home Security, Water Heaters, Water Filters, Carbon Monoxide Detectors, Bamboo Flooring, Portable Air Conditioners, Dehumidifiers, Siding, House Cleaning Services, Home Organization, Vacuum Cleaners, Cannister Vacuum Cleaners, Handcheld Vacuum Cleaners, Upright Vacuum Cleaners, Stick Vacuum Cleaners, Wet-Dry Vacuum Cleaners, Furnaces, Fireplace Inserts, Electric Space Heaters, Pellet Stoves, Wood Stoves, Heat Pumps, Buying a used car

Discount Office Supplies, Home Office, Office Furniture, Copiers, Home Business, Business Cards, Business Brochures, Mailing List Companies, Affiliates, Franchises, Business Telephone Systems, Employment Agencies, Call Centers, Fax Machines
Health and Wellness:
Fioricet for Migraine Relief, Online Pharmacies, Phentermine for dieting, Tramadol for Chronic Pain Relief, Mesothelioma, Mesothelioma Lawyers, Acne Treatment, Contact Lenses, Drug Rehabilitation, Cerebral Palsy, Hair Loss, Hair Loss Products, Human Growth Hormones , Diet Pills, Treadmills, Fragrances, Reducing Cholesterol, Diabetes, Obesity, Arthritis, High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Acid reflux, Cialis, Understanding Depression, Unraveling Diet Plans, Erectile dysfunction, Lipitor, Sleep Loss, Viagra, Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Living With Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder

Gift Ideas, Corporate Gifts, Gift Cards, Wristwatches, Replica Watches, Sunglasses, Wholesale Jewelry, Jewelry Boxes, Wedding Gifts, Food Gifts, Books, Music, Flowers, Gift Baskets, Candles & Candleholders, Chocolate & Candy

Health Clubs, Home Gyms, Treadmills, Golf, Golf Vacations, Golf Schools, Golf Clubs, Fantasy Baseball, Fantasy Basketball

Railroad Train Travel, Greyhound Bus Travel, Moving Guide, Rental Cars, Luxury Cruises, Maui Vacation, Spain Travel, Panama Cruise, Mexico Travel, Europe Travel, Disneyland Vacation, Disney World Vacation, Airline Tickets, Las Vegas Vacations, Las Vegas Sights, Las Vegas Entertainment, Las Vegas Dining, Lake Tahoe, Reno Vacations, Grand Canyon Vacation, Alaska Vacation, San Juan Island Vacation, Seattle Vacation, San Francisco Vacation, San Diego Vacation, SeaWorld Vacation, Yellowstone Park Vacation, Los Angeles Vacation, Bed & Breakfasts, Las Cruces New Mexico Vacation, Texas Hill Country Vacation, Columbia River Gorge Vacation, Albuquerque Vacation, New Mexico Vacation, Utah Vacation, Denver Vacation, Carlsbad Caverns, Branson, Missouri, Arizona Vacations, Jackson Wyoming, Skiing Wyoming, Skiing Oregon, Skiing Utah, Skiing Colorado, Skiing California, Skiing Washington State, Skiing Idaho

Lawn Care, Patio Furniture, Hot Tubs & Spas, Gazebos, Fences, Decks, Barbeque Grills, Greenhouses, Patios, Sprinkler Systems, Landscape Design, Backyard Ponds, Bird Baths, Hedge Trimmers, String Trimmers, Wheelbarrows and Gardencarts, Lawn Mowers, Lawn Mowers, Lawn Care Tools, Lawn Edgers, Leaf Blowers, Now Blowers, Rakes