Did you know a person with bipolar disorder can go years without any symptoms? That’s just one of many little-known facts about the condition, which affects almost 3% of the American population. There’s much that’s unknown about bipolar disorder, even within the medical community. Its causes are uncertain, but they’re linked to genetic factors, stress, alcohol, and drug abuse.
Bipolar disorder is also surrounded by myths and misconceptions. Learning more about the condition may help you cope or provide better support to friends or family who may be affected. Here are 5 facts about bipolar disorder that may surprise you.
1. There are distinct types of bipolar disorder
Once referred to as manic depression, bipolar disorder is much more than simple alternating cycles of moods. In fact, there are several variations of the condition that fall under the bipolar banner. These include:
Bipolar I Disorder One or more manic episodes that are preceded by either mild manic symptoms, called hypomania, or by a major depressive episode. Bipolar I patients may experience psychotic episodes where they suffer detachment from reality.
Bipolar II Disorder One or more major depressive episodes alternate with hypomania, but a bipolar II patient does have full-fledged manic episodes.
Cyclothymic Disorder Alternating between hypomania and depressive symptoms, cyclothymic disorder is diagnosed when this alternation lasts for two years or more in adults or one year or more in children.
Bipolar condition types may also be directly attributable to medical conditions, including stroke, multiple sclerosis, or Cushing’s disease, or to some types of substance abuse.
2. Patients can sometimes experience mixed episodes
While most often defined by swings between manic and depressive episodes, it’s possible for symptoms of both to exist at the same time. Since this usually combines dark moods and high energy, a mixed episode is a potentially high-risk condition.
3. Episodes can be uniquely individual
While medical diagnosis defines one week as a minimum duration for a manic episode or two weeks for a depressive swing, the length of these cycles varies widely by patient. There’s no definitive fixed range or pattern to mood episodes.
4. It’s not easy to diagnosis bipolar disorder
Because depressive episodes are typically long-lasting and often dominate bipolar disorder, it’s easy for these to be mistaken for other types of depression. Further compounding the diagnosis is the fact that manic episodes may make a patient feel productive and happy, hardly the type of condition for which the average person may seek help. Bipolar disorder requires significant medical history, and a patient may not perceive hypomania as part of their illness.
5. Bipolar disorder is manageable
People with bipolar disorder can live successful, complete lives, usually with a combination of medication and therapy. Some doctors equate bipolar disorder with other conditions, such as diabetes, where proper management of the disorder or disease provides stability and normal living for its sufferers.
Choosing Dr. Pardeshi and our team at Mindful Care when you suspect bipolar disorder is a smart move toward management of the condition. As treatment specialists, we offer the expertise necessary to diagnose and treat your symptoms effectively.
Contact Mindful Care at one of our locations or Book Online.