5 Strategies For Managing Bipolar Disorder

5 Strategies For Managing Bipolar Disorder

Although bipolar disorder isn't a foreign topic in the medical industry, health practitioners still have a hard time handling its cases. One of the many factors behind this is the variety of underlying influences leading to bipolar disorder. External triggers could also hamper mental health professionals from curbing its symptoms.

If you or someone you know is struggling with bipolar disorder, you might be thinking of the proper ways to manage it. Fortunately, a number of solutions could help resolve your concerns, including seeking professional help from mental health facilities, like Jackson House and other similar centres. Or, you can encourage them to consult psychologists or psychiatrists for better assistance.

Reading this article may also help enrich your knowledge about effectively managing bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Disorder and its Extremities

Unlike the conventional belief that bipolar disorder is all about uncontrollable mood swings and moodiness, note that people with bipolar disorder tend to experience more than those symptoms.

For starters, bipolar disorder is characterized by severe shifts in one's energy, behaviour, activities, and sleep quality. This condition is also often referred to as manic depression or manic-depressive illness.

Listed below are some essential things you need to know about bipolar disorder.

  • Formerly known as manic depression, bipolar disorder could cause significant changes in one's energy levels, mood, and behaviour. Notably, people with bipolar disorder often experience profound emotional heights, known as mania or hypomania. Or, they may also feel extreme lows or depression.
  • Generally, there are four types of bipolar disorder: bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymic disorder, and bipolar disorder, due to medical or substance abuse.    
  • Bipolar disorders could result from childhood trauma or chemical imbalances in the brain, or these could also be hereditary. One's environment also plays a pivotal role in the development of this type of disorder.
  • The most common symptoms of bipolar disorders may include hypertension, heart attacks, migraines, anxiety, and chronic stress. Lastly, people with bipolar disorder are at risk of obesity, migraine headaches, heart ailments, and thyroid diseases.
  • During the onset of their condition, many experts believe that people with bipolar disorder are prone to encounter manic and depressive episodes. For example, they might feel highly energetic and driven during manic episodes. But, people may also feel profound feelings of sadness and indifference while in depressive episodes.
  • People with bipolar disorder often struggle with daily tasks and managing their emotions, affecting their normal functioning.
  • According to research, about 7.1 million adults or 2.8% of people ages 18-25 get affected by bipolar disorder.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

Aside from knowing its nature and potential impacts, it's crucial to determine the differences among the types of bipolar disorder to learn how to efficiently deal with each one.

  • Bipolar I

Among the other types of bipolar disorders, bipolar I is considered the 'classic' type, consisting of depressive and manic episodes. Unlike bipolar II, which is defined by episodes of hypomania, bipolar I is characterized by varying energy levels, ranging from extreme happiness to profound sadness.

For instance, manic episodes usually involve elation, impaired judgment, increased libido, and uncontrolled irritability. People may also encounter great appetite, increased self-esteem, rapid speech, and lack of sleep during these stages. On the other hand, depressive episodes may come with anhedonia or the inability to feel pleasure, despair, hopelessness, misplaced guilt, and intrusive thoughts.

In some cases, people tend to experience both depressive and manic symptoms during depressive episodes. It makes them fall into the 'mixed' type of classification.  

Episodes of bipolar I may last for a couple of weeks to months, depending on the severity of the patient's situation. In some cases, people struggling with it might even experience symptoms of psychosis. This condition refers to the lack of contact with reality, which may come with hallucinations and delusions.  

  • Bipolar II

Unlike bipolar I, bipolar II is distinguished by the episodes of hypomania or unusual energy states, affecting one's mood, behaviours, and thinking patterns. Although it may also come with manic episodes, symptoms of bipolar II may not be as severe as bipolar I's. The duration of hypomanic episodes also tends to become shorter in this condition.

Although not as common as the occurrence in bipolar I, people with bipolar II might experience psychosis during the onset of their situation.

But, note that the patterns of symptoms may vary depending on the patient. For instance, they may feel the following during hypomanic episodes:

  • Rapid cycling: This refers to the imbalance in one's moods and behaviours, ranging from the highest to lowest phases, without having a 'normal' period.
  • Mixed state: It's distinguished by the combination of manic and depressive symptoms. For instance, a person is hyperactive during a depressive mood.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder

Otherwise known as cyclothymia, this condition is known for the sudden transitions from one state to the other. People with cyclothymia tend to move between manic and depressive states more quickly than the other types.

Although the symptoms of cyclothymia don't qualify with the former types' criteria, there might still be the presence of manic or depressive episodes.


Techniques to Help Manage Bipolar Disorder

Listed below are some simple yet efficient ways to help you manage bipolar disorder more effectively.

  1. Take Medications

When dealing with bipolar disorders and other mental health conditions, one of the most efficient ways to control their symptoms is to take medications. Although some people would prefer seeking professional help or services, taking the appropriate medications doesn't fall short on benefiting patients.

People with bipolar disorder could particularly consider taking mood stabilizers, such as lithium and valproic acid or valproate. You may not know it, but lithium could be beneficial in regulating early signs of manic and depressive episodes.

People who have bipolar disorder may also consider the following to manage its impacts better:

  • Antidepressants
  • Second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs)
  • Anticonvulsants - mainly used to relieve mania
  • Sleeping supplements - used to treat sleeping problems during episodes
  • Central nervous system (CNS) depressants - used to slow down brain activities

It's important to note that some drugs may have side effects, affecting one's functioning or wellbeing. Thus, before taking any medication, it's always best to consult a doctor to avoid compromising your health.

  1. Seek Professional Help

Upon knowing the severity of one's condition, professionals might recommend combining some of the medications listed above. They may also develop personalized recovery schemes for patients based on their respective conditions and coping mechanisms.

Professionals, like psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, and counsellors, could significantly help determine the severity of your condition and formulate the right treatment option for you. Aside from that, consulting a professional allows you to share your experiences freely, which you may not be comfortable doing with just any other people. Plus, health practitioners could help promote psychological interventions and counselling sessions to improve your situation.

With professional help, one won't have to worry about self-diagnosis, which could worsen their state.

  1. Undergo Psychotherapies

Aside from medications, another helpful alternative you can consider is psychotherapy. Be it talk therapy, psychotherapy, or behavioural therapy, you could benefit from these treatment options in many ways.

To begin with, psychologists and psychiatrists could help patients identify the underlying causes of their condition during psychotherapy. These professionals could also offer unconditional positive regards to patients, bolstering the client-therapist relationship. By doing that, psychologists could provide client-centred therapies.

One of the many good things about undergoing psychotherapy is that it helps you learn to cope with troubling emotions and thoughts. These may also serve as a support system to help keep you in a good mental state. Additionally, such therapies could enhance your positive behaviour and skills, preventing the risks of relapses and episodes.

  1. Develop Intrapersonal Aspects

If you're thinking about effectively cultivating your coping mechanisms against symptoms of bipolar disorder, boosting your intrapersonal skills could be the key.

Usually, people with bipolar disorder often have difficulty dealing with their unstable emotions, mood swings, and behaviour. Due to that, patients should be taught how to cope with mood fluctuations, especially during episodes.

Although there might not be sufficient warnings that'd signal the occurrence of manic or depressive episodes, you could learn a thing or two about indicators of your condition, such as mood instability, restlessness, and intrusive thoughts.

By developing your intrapersonal skills, you'd effectively handle mood swings and sudden shifts in your behaviour. Lastly, you may establish positive mechanisms to counter the impacts of bipolar disorder.

  1. Learn Proper Stress Management

It isn't unusual for people with bipolar disorder to develop chronic stress and anxiety. They’re also prone to panic attacks, manifesting in rapid heartbeats, palpitations, sweating, and difficulty breathing.

Due to that, it's essential to learn proper stress management, mainly to avoid the risks of developing anxiety and other types of psychological conditions. Thus, it'd be best to participate in activities that'd make you occupied and keep you happy. These may include engaging in outdoor activities, socializing with others, looking for support groups, and improving mental wellbeing.

Final Thoughts

Among the most common mental health illnesses, bipolar disorder (BD) could be a tricky and challenging condition to understand. BD's nature makes it harder to control, not to mention there are different types of bipolar disorder.

While coping with the symptoms of bipolar disorder could be a bit difficult, you can consider plenty of alternatives to resolve your concern. These may include seeking professional help, hiring services from facilities and centres, and focusing on your mental well-being. Through these, you can efficiently help yourself or a loved one manage bipolar disorder.

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