Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder. It cannot be controlled by one’s will. It can be successfully treated with medication and therapy. People can have a good life and live with bipolar disorder. Getting a proper diagnosis is necessary to be on the path to getting well. The first step is knowing whether or not you truly are bipolar.
If anyone in your family suffers from substance abuse or has mental health disorders, it raises your likelihood of being affected by bipolar disorder. This fact alone doesn’t mean that the symptoms you might be experiencing are due to bipolar disorder. The first thing you need to do is to start tracking your symptoms. Keeping a journal or logging your symptoms over a few weeks will not only help you to determine what steps you need to take but will be helpful if you do decide to see a mental health professional.
Aside from how you feel emotionally, you need to log other things like your sleeping patterns and appetite. Note any outside factors such as job stress that cause you to react in certain ways. Be as accurate as possible. Writing down things that happen that might seem small to you could mean something when been evaluated for bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is characterized by extremes in moods called manic episodes and depressive episodes. There are different kinds of bipolar disorder with some sufferers having more depressive episodes or more manic episodes. Everyone has days where we feel “down” or even those times where we are so thrilled to be alive but it is extremes in mania or depression that are a source of concern. Adult bipolar disorder sufferers will go through periods of mania that last for weeks and then slip into a depression that feels impossible to get out of. Bipolar disorder that is untreated can cause people to self-medicate with illegal drugs or alcohol. Reckless behavior that happens during a manic episode can cause people to get in trouble with the law or even make them suicidal. Recognizing that there might be a cause for your behavior and seeking help can change your life.
Once you are thoroughly screened by a psychiatrist, mood stabilizing drugs such as Lithium will be prescribed. Bipolar disorder is a life long condition, but like other diseases such as diabetes, it can be controlled. The patient can also benefit from psychotherapy in order to help understand their disease and learn coping techniques. It takes time to regulate the medication and find dosages and combinations of drugs that work for each individual patient. It can be frustrating but the patient needs to understand that what works for one person might not work for them.
There are many good sources for learning more about bipolar disorder and its symptoms. The National Alliance on Mental Illness,http://www.nami.org, has information about the disorder and where to find qualified doctors in your area. There is help for those who seek it.