Being moody, easily irritated, and rigid in your beliefs and mortality. Someone labeled you “difficult,” but something more serious could be at play. You also have trouble sleeping and have started drinking to relieve stress. You may have bipolar disorder and another condition, but the symptoms can be treated.
What is bipolar disorder?
“Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).”
When you’re depressed, you might feel sad, hopeless, and lose interest in something you used to enjoy. If your mood shifts to mania or hypomania (less extreme than mania), you can be euphoric, high energy, or unusually irritable. These mood swings can affect sleep, judgment, behavior, and thinking clearly.
Know the symptoms
Symptoms and their harshness can vary. Someone with bipolar disorder can have dissimilar depressed or manic states frequently but can sometimes go for years without symptoms. A person can also have both extremes concurrently or in rapid order.
Severe bipolar instances of mania or depression could include psychotic symptoms like hallucinations or delusions. Normally, these psychotic symptoms reflect someone’s extreme moods. People with bipolar disorder and psychotic symptoms can be misdiagnosed as having schizophrenia.
Risk factors of bipolar disorder
Someone may be predisposed to bipolar disorder based on numerous factors, some of which can be controlled and some uncontrollable. Factors that can boost your risk of getting bipolar disorder or trigger for the first episode include these:
- You have a first-degree (biological) relative, like a parent or sibling, with bipolar disorder
- You experience periods of extreme stress, such as losing your home or the death of a loved one
- Alcohol or drug abuse
Bipolar Disorder Comorbidity
“Comorbidity is associated with worse health outcomes, more complex clinical management, and increased health care costs. There is no agreement, however, on the meaning of the term, and related constructs, such as multimorbidity, morbidity burden, and patient complexity, are not well conceptualized.”
Bipolar disorder comorbidity refers to the instance of another syndrome or illness happening in the same person at the same time. Other medical conditions which closely track with bipolar disorder:
- Anxiety. Anxiety is when you feel fear, dread, and uneasiness. It could make you sweat, experience restlessness and tension, and have a fast heartbeat. It can be a normal stress response, but when it happens all the time and affects your quality of life, you may be experiencing a more severe anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders affect about 48 million people in the United States: bipolar disorder, about seven million.
- Substance abuse disorder “is a disease that affects a person’s brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication. Substances such as alcohol, marijuana and nicotine also are considered drugs. When you’re addicted, you may continue using the drug despite the harm it causes.” According to some estimates, about 40 percent of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder also have a substance abuse disorder.
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by a continual pattern of inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity that restricts how a person functions and develops. According to a review by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, researchers discovered that nearly one in 13 adults suffering from ADHD was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and one in six adults suffering from bipolar disorder had ADHD.
- Personality disorders. A personality disorder is a kind of mental illness where you have an inflexible and unhealthy way of thinking, functioning, and behaving.
- Mood disorders are a classification of illnesses that healthcare professionals employ to broadly define all kinds of depression and bipolar disorders.
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Type-2 diabetes.
Diagnosis & treatment
Diagnosing bipolar disorder may involve:
- Physical examination to identify any medical problems that could be triggering symptoms.
- Psychiatric assessment by a mental healthcare professional to discuss your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. You may also fill out a self-assessment or questionnaire. With permission, your clinician may talk to family members or friends about your symptoms.
- Mood charting.
- Comparing criteria for bipolar and related disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association.
If you’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, psychotherapy may help, along with medicine or ketamine therapy to relieve symptoms.
Bipolar disorder is a widespread mental illness that affects millions of people. Like other conditions, it can result in serious disruptions to your quality of life and affect your overall health. If you have symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider for diagnosis and whether ketamine is right for your condition.