Mommy Medicine: Identifying bipolar disorder

More than 5 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. But many health care professionals argue this number is too low, noting there is no count on the number of people who are not accurately diagnosed.

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness which manifests itself by severe mood swings — from deep depression to extreme euphoria (also called mania), and an abnormal state between.

"For the most part what is typical is to have an abnormal mood state colored by a predominance of high or low," says Dr. Gary Sachs, director of the Bipolar Clinic and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Sachs describes the abnormal state as "something intense or unexpected in relation to a situation, such as giggling instead of crying when you find out your home will be foreclosed."

Signs and symptoms of depression include:
  • Saddness, anxiety, feelings of emptiness or hopeless
  • Reduced energy, to the point of not getting out of bed for days
  • Little to no interest in relationships
  • Inability to make simple decisions
  • Severe change in sleeping habits
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
Signs and symptoms of mania include:
  • Being extremely euphoric and happy or extremely sad and angry
  • Exhibiting an excessive amount of energy
  • Racing thoughts and ideas, or talking a lot and making ambitious plans
  • Impulsive or reckless actions
  • Increased sexual drive, with no thought of consequences
  • Little to no sleep for days at a time
Both men and women suffer from bipolar disorder, and it is being diagnosed earlier and earlier in life. As a person ages, the behavior becomes more and more prominent and harder to control. In most cases, the disorder is easy to miss in the teenage years, as one would misconstrue extreme behavior as "teenagers just being teenagers."

There is no single cause of bipolar disorder and no single treatment. Patients with the disorder typically have a family history, or they have abused drugs at some point in their life.

While there are very effective treatment options available, many bipolar patients do not want to stay on the treatments because of the side effects they include. In addition to that, many patients truly love to be in the manic phase, and medication calms this phase down.
The family or friends these untreated patients live with are truly in a no-win situation if the bipolar personality will not seek help. This makes family counseling a must.
If you or someone you know is exhibiting the symptoms of bipolar disorder, there are places to seek help. First, talk with your health care provider or contact your local mental health services.
The following websites can also be very helpful in determining what to do next:
If you find yourself in a crisis situation, afraid you or another bipolar patient may hurt someone, call the Crisis Call Center at 1-800-273-8255. The hotline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Bipolar disorder is a family disorder in the way it will affect, run and control your family life. Do not go through this alone, find help.

Source : http://www.ksl.com/?sid=20797739

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