Posted on: January 27th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments
Bipolar disorder is a complicated mental illness and it often takes some time for people to be properly diagnosed. Even though most symptoms of bipolar disorder start to appear some time in adolescence or early adulthood, there are also cases of late onset of bipolar disorder. People who have symptoms starting later in adulthood, from their 50s on are considered to have late onset bipolar disorder.
Late onset bipolar disorder can be difficult to recognize but if you have been diagnosed with this problem then it is not too late to receive treatment. Many people who have bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed, especially older individuals whose symptoms may often be confused with other conditions. Between 5 to 10 percent of people with bipolar disorder will be at least 50 when they first begin to show symptoms of mania or hypomania.
Although it can be painful to accept that you have developed a mental illness later in life, being accurately diagnosed can be a powerful step in the right direction. Many people suffer for years with bipolar disorder but are not aware that this is the condition they have. Knowing that you have this disorder can help you learn more about it and find the right ways to manage your symptoms.
Understanding Bipolar Disorder
Most people understand very little about bipolar disorder and if you have spent most of your life without any mental illness symptoms then it might seem jarring to receive a diagnosis. It can be helpful to learn all you can about bipolar disorder including the typical symptoms and how they are usually treated. Educating yourself about your illness as you receive treatment can help you come to terms with the fact that you will live with it.
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition and not something that can be completely eliminated but the symptoms can be managed and minimized through the help of medication, psychotherapy and family support. People with bipolar disorder can lead very normal and stable lives, even if they have a late onset. It is very important to look into treatment options as soon as you are given a diagnosis so that you can start to manage the disorder and familiarize yourself with how it affects your life.
Bipolar disorder has two different phases that tend to shift back and forth for periods of weeks or months. There is the manic stage and the depressive stage, both of which can seriously interfere with a person’s daily life if they are not getting help and support from a therapist. Each stage has its own set of symptoms and someone with late onset bipolar disorder may experience the mood swings differently than someone younger.
Some of the symptoms of late onset bipolar disorder during a manic episode are:
Confusion or disorientation
Being easily distracted
More energy and less need for sleep
A depressive episode for late onset bipolar disorder could include:
Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
Feeling fatigued and overly tired
Having difficulty concentrating or remembering things
Changing daily habits
Having thoughts about or attempting suicide
Because the symptoms of late onset bipolar disorder can be unique, it is important to be able to recognize when you are experiencing a manic or depressive episode so that you can get support and help. You should understand the symptoms as well as the triggers that tend to cause mood swings to occur.
Treating Late Onset Bipolar Disorder
Although it is a more rare type of illness, treatment options are beginning to expand for late onset bipolar disorder. Look for professional therapists or a treatment program that can accommodate your disorder so that you can receive personalized treatment for your unique issues. Having a treatment plan that can cater to your specific symptoms and the stage that you are in life can lead to better success in recovery.
A treatment plan will most likely include a variety of different approaches that will help to stabilize your moods and minimize your symptoms. There are a number of medications that your psychiatrist might suggest including mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, antidepressants, or anti-anxiety medications. A combination of a few of these kinds of medications might be necessary for your illness depending on the severity of your symptoms and what your doctor thinks might be best for your situation.
Aside from medication, the most important part of managing bipolar disorder is regularly attending psychotherapy. You should talk to a professional therapist about your symptoms and how they have been affecting you. Your therapist can help to teach you techniques to avoid triggers, minimize your symptoms and better ways to handle episodes when they do occur.
Even though bipolar disorder is a difficult illness, treatment can make it much more manageable. If you have been diagnosed with late onset bipolar disorder find a treatment program for the support you need.
Posted on: November 15th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments
Bipolar disorder is one of the most complex and often misdiagnosed mental disorders in the world. People often struggle for years or even decades before getting an accurate diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Because the symptoms of the disorder shift between different phases, physicians may miss certain aspects of the person’s illness and wrongfully give them a diagnosis of depression, ADHD or other disorders often confused with bipolar disorder.
It is important to get an accurate diagnosis as early as possible but it can be difficult with the many changing symptoms that a bipolar person experiences. Fortunately it is possible to diagnose bipolar disorder even in childhood although it is more likely to be diagnosed in adolescents and young adults. Children can actually experience many symptoms of early onset bipolar disorder but it may take time for their family to realize that there is a problem.
Identifying bipolar disorder in young children can be complicated because kids may manifest the symptoms differently than adults do. For example, during manic episodes children may be more likely to be irritable and prone to destructive outbursts rather than experiencing the kind of euphoria that adults do. During a depressive phase they might have more physical complaints such as headaches, muscle aches, stomach aches or tiredness.
Parents may be aware that something is wrong when their child is experiencing these symptoms but may not be able to tie it to a mental illness like bipolar disorder because it may not look like depression or mania. A psychiatrist who specializes in childhood mental health may be able to identify the symptoms if they have experience with early onset bipolar disorder. Kids who are treated early for their mental illness are likely to fare better later in life and live more functionally with their disorder.
Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder in Children
Kids might find it hard to express what they are experiencing and adults may not understand a complicated disorder like manic depression. However there are certain signs which may indicate that a child is beginning to develop bipolar disorder and needs to receive psychiatric attention. Manic symptoms can differ greatly from depression so it is important to know the difference.
Manic symptoms in children include:
Severe mood swings that are different from their normal mood changes
Hyperactive behavior and increased energy
Impulsive or aggressive behavior
Decreased need for sleep, not feeling tired after very little sleep
Distracted and having trouble focusing on one thing
Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
Involvement in risky behaviors or activity
Depressive symptoms include
Sad or irritable mood
Physical complaints about aches and pains
Significant change in appetite or body weight
Loss of energy
Sleep problems, either too much or too little
Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
Children with bipolar disorder may struggle in school, performing poorly or taking frequent absences because of their symptoms. They may also be socially isolated from their peers, have conflict in their family life and talk about running away from home. In their teenage years, kids might start to use alcohol or drugs to self-medicate and help them cope with the disorder.
Childhood Bipolar Disorder
Since most people are diagnosed with bipolar disorder later in life, children who exhibit symptoms of the illness are thought to have a more severe form of the disorder. Those with adult onset bipolar disorder may have less dramatic symptoms. Childhood bipolar disorder may involve a continuous and rapid-cycling mixed symptom state that can easily be confused with or have co-occurring disorders.
Adults tend to have more stable periods between episodes of mania and depression but children who develop bipolar disorder before puberty may have more frequent episodes. They might experience their mania episode along with symptoms ADHD or other hyperactivity problems. Children with a co-occurring disorder will need special care and treatment for both illnesses.
Treating Bipolar Disorder
No matter what age the onset of bipolar disorder begins, it is crucial to get an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment as soon as possible. A child with excessive mood changes and angry outbursts will cause problems at school and may have trouble socializing and succeeding academically. Kids need specialized treatment from a facility or a psychiatrist that is experienced with childhood bipolar disorder.
Children require a lot of support in order to get the help that they need for bipolar disorder. A doctor may prescribe medication and provide them with counseling from a child psychologist that can help them with their mood changes. Early treatment can help prevent serious consequences and decrease the impact that the disorder has on a child’s mental health.
Although bipolar disorder is a difficult illness, it is possible to make symptoms much more manageable with treatment. If you are concerned that you or your child is suffering from bipolar disorder, contact a treatment center right away.
Posted on: April 7th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments
Living with any type of mental illness can be challenging and each person experiences their own personal struggle with understanding how handle their symptoms. Bipolar disorder can be an especially complex and difficult illness to live with for people who have not had the opportunity to get the professional help and medication they need. Some people may exhibit symptoms of bipolar disorder for a long time without understanding that they have this mental illness.
Many mistakenly believe that they have major depression because bipolar disorder can overlap with many of these symptoms. However, once an individual is diagnosed with bipolar disorder it is crucial that they receive professional treatment and care so that they can do everything possible to minimize symptoms and prevent the illness from interfering with their daily routine. As long as a person learns to properly manage their symptoms, it is possible to live a normal life with bipolar disorder. The follow information hopes to serve as a helpful guide to bipolar disorder treatment.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is also more commonly known as manic depression because it is a mental illness with two distinct phases with radically different symptoms. People with bipolar disorder experience extreme highs and lows as well as drastic changes in their thinking, behavior, energy and sleep. Bipolar disorder typically consists of periods of time in which specific symptoms occur including a manic phase which is often followed by a depressive phase.
During a period of mania, an individual can feel overly happy and energized or even excessively confident. Periods of mania can often lead to reckless behavior and impulsive actions that cause harm such as wild shopping sprees or gambling. In a depressive state, someone with bipolar disorder will be more lethargic and experience sad feelings for weeks or even months. They will exhibit symptoms during this phase that coincide very closely with major depression disorder but will eventually their mood will swing back to mania.
Identifying Mania in Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
If you are not sure if you or someone you love might have bipolar disorder then there are certain signs and symptoms that can indicate the illness. In periods of mania, someone with bipolar disorder will seem to have infinite energy and might sleep very little. They might also talk excessively and seem intensely excited or happy but have difficulty focusing and concentrating on tasks.
They could have rapid mood changes as they go from being joyful to suddenly becoming extremely irritable, angry and hostile. People in a manic phase may also become delusional and grandiose, talking about and believing things that are not true and they are unable to be convinced otherwise. They might engage in very impulsive actions as a result of their unrealistic thinking and even have hallucinations where they see and hear things that are not there. They can also have an increased sex drive which might cause them to engage in risky sexual behavior.
Depressive Bipolar Symptoms
Someone who has bipolar disorder is likely to have both symptoms of mania and depression. You will need to identify the patterns of their mood changes and if you notice dramatic shifts then pay close attention to their symptoms. During a period of depression, someone with bipolar disorder might seem sad and hopeless or talk negatively about themselves. They will have much less energy than they would during a manic phase, often oversleeping and spending a lot of time in bed or on the couch. They might become withdrawn and stop being involved in activities that they usually enjoy.
Throughout the depression period they might frequently cry, have thoughts of suicide or even attempt suicide in more serious cases. You might notice that they go through a sudden weight loss or gain due to extreme changes in their appetite. As with a manic episode, depression symptoms can last for a period of weeks up to several months before shifting back to a more energetic state.
Understanding Bipolar Disorder Types
While bipolar disorder is a more general term encompassing people with symptoms of mania and depression there are actually different types of the disorder. People can fall into the categories of having bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder which includes milder mania episodes or cyclothymic disorder which involves shorter episodes. Within these different types people may have symptoms that include “mixed features” meaning they experience opposite moods simultaneously rather than separately in distinct phases.
Some people with bipolar disorder may also experience “rapid cycling” meaning they have as many as four or more mood episodes within the period of a year. This pattern of rapid cycling can occur at any point within the course of the illness although it typically happens later in the lifetime of the individual rather than when the disorder first begins developing. It is helpful to get a professional diagnosis to determine what type of bipolar disorder you may have.
Type 2 Bipolar and Cyclothymic Disorder
Although the disorder always includes similar symptoms and drastic mood swings, bipolar I disorder is the most severe form of the illness. Someone with type 1 bipolar will have more intense episodes that last for months at a time. Type 2 bipolar disorder includes symptoms of severe depression and episodes of what is called hypomania which basically is a less severe form of mania.
Someone with hypomanic episodes will still have an elevated mood, more energy and a decreased need for sleep but they lack some of the psychotic features that can occur with mania such as delusional thinking and hallucinations. People with hypomania also find it easier to function socially in spite of their episodes and they might not have to take time off work or be hospitalized at any point. Cyclothymic disorder includes brief periods of hypomania and brief periods of depression but they are not as severe or long lasting as the other types of bipolar disorder.
Causes of Bipolar Disorder
Even though the exact cause of bipolar disorder is not entirely known or understood, there are certain factors that can interact and play a role in the onset and progression of the illness. Currently, bipolar disorder is considered a primarily neurological issue which occurs because of a malfunction of chemicals in the brain including serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline.
People may have this neurological issue but it lies dormant until it is activated by certain stressors or events causing the disorder to develop. One of the major factors in someone developing bipolar disorder is a genetic predisposition because of family members such as parents and grandparents having a mood disorder. If one parent has a mood disorder then a child has a 10 to 15 percent greater chance of developing bipolar disorder. Environmental factors can also play a role such as traumatic life events triggering the onset of the illness or drug abuse causing a milder disorder to worsen over time.
Can Bipolar Disorder be Cured?
When you have been diagnosed with an illness like bipolar disorder you might wonder how the illness will affect your life in the long term and whether you can eventually eliminate the symptoms completely. Most in the medical field would agree that bipolar disorder is a chronic illness because it is biologically based and caused by issues in the brain. That means when a person is diagnosed with bipolar disorder it will most often be a lifelong illness.
However, most of the symptoms can be effectively managed through treatment, therapy and medication so that people with bipolar disorder can still function in daily life. Because one of the main causes of bipolar disorder is due to chemical imbalances in the brain, medication can actually be very helpful in stabilizing a person’s mood as long as they are able to find the right medication that works for them. Psychotherapy is helpful in minimizing some of the effects of severe mood swings so that patients can better handle episodes when they occur.
Finding Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it is important that you get the treatment necessary to reduce the symptoms. There are many different kinds of treatment centers that can offer programs geared specifically for people suffering from this disorder. For those with very severe symptoms they have the option of staying in a residential treatment facility to get access to care every day alongside others dealing with the same issues.
Inpatient care can be an effective way at getting people back on track if their illness has caused a lot of harm in their life and affected their job or relationships. People with bipolar disorder may benefit from having time away from the stresses of daily life to focus on managing the symptoms of their illness. Those with less severe symptoms can choose to live at home and receive outpatient treatment in the form of medication and individual therapy sessions from a qualified psychologist.
Types of Medication for Bipolar Disorder
There are numerous options available in terms of medication to treat bipolar disorder and new drugs are researched and introduced all the time. Finding the right medication can be challenging at first but eventually you and your doctor will be able to determine what works best to reduce your symptoms. The types of medications used for treatment include lithium, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, calcium channel blockers, benzodiazepines and antidepressants.
With such a slew of different drugs available it can take some adjustments and even combinations of a few medications to get the necessary results for each individual. Some medications may have undesirable side effects and patients will want to try something else that affects them less. The goal of medication is to stabilize their mood and reduce symptoms of both mania and depression with minimal side effects.
Benefits of Bipolar Disorder Therapy
Once a patient finds the right medication to help keep them more stable, they will be ready to focus on the work they need to do in psychotherapy. Whether you are staying in residential treatment or simply taking sessions through a private practice, individual therapy is one of the keys to learning how to manage bipolar disorder. Living through multiple episodes of extreme ups and downs can create a lot of confusion and mental stress.
One of the goals of treatment is helping people understand their own disorder, get to know their triggers and figure out the best methods to minimize symptoms. Therapists can help a patient identify certain behavior changes that may signal the onset of an episode. Once you can predict an episode and understand the types of stressors that trigger them you will be better equipped to reduce their severity and length. In therapy you can educate yourself about your own disorder and learn to adapt so that you can live with bipolar disorder without it controlling you.
Methods of Treating Bipolar Disorder
The major components of addressing symptoms of bipolar disorder are medication and psychotherapy but there are other methods that can be included in treatment to help ease symptoms. In most residential treatment centers they will offer group therapy or support group meetings to patients so that they can talk about living with this disorder among people with the same issues.
Support groups help people feel less alone with their illness and it is a place where they can receive encouragement, talk about important issues and hear useful advice from people with personal experience. In treating most mental illnesses a healthier diet and regular exercise can be an additional method of stabilizing a patient’s mood. Establishing a healthy routine including nutritious food, fitness and a regular sleep pattern can be very helpful in managing the disorder.
Managing Symptoms After Bipolar Disorder Treatment
Since bipolar disorder is a chronic illness, even after completing a treatment program most people still need to find ways to manage their symptoms. They can continue attending support groups, maintain a regular therapist or find certain activities that help them cope with their disorder.
It is important to avoid any drug or alcohol use when you have bipolar disorder especially if you are taking medication. Drug use can exacerbate symptoms and cause more problems in the long run. The key to managing bipolar disorder is staying as healthy as possible, being able to identify triggers and following the advice of your doctor. With treatment and care anyone with bipolar disorder can work, go to school, maintain relationships and live a normal and satisfying life.