Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder was once called manic depression and affects about 4.4 percent of U.S. adults. Though its symptoms may intermix with those of another mental disorder, they’re serious enough to merit a separate diagnosis and specialized treatment. Ketamine may help control its symptoms by improving the brain’s perception of pain. 

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health illness leading to extreme mood swings including emotional highs and lows. When depressed, you can feel hopeless, sad, and lose pleasure or interest in most things. As moods swing to mania or hypomania, you may feel stuffed full of energy, be euphoric, or irritable. All can affect energy, sleep, activity, behavior, judgment, and thinking clearly. This may happen rarely or many times a year, and not everyone has symptoms between episodes.

Causes

  • A person may develop bipolar disorder if biological parents or siblings have it, but the role of genetics isn’t absolute because even with family history, a child might not get the disorder. 
  • A stressful event like the loss of a loved one, illness, bad relationships, divorce, or money worries can kickstart a manic or depressive incident. How you handle stress may play a role in developing the illness.
  • Brain structure and function may be a contributor.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder

The symptoms are divided into categories known as mood episodes, many of which are treatable with ketamine:

Symptoms of a manic episode may include:

  • Feeling high, very up, or overjoyed
  • Feeling wired or jumpy, more active than normal
  • A short temper or extremely irritability
  • Racing thoughts and fast speech
  • Needing less sleep
  • Feeling you’re unusually talented, important, or powerful
  • Risky behavior, like eating or drinking too much, spending or giving away money in quantity, or driving too fast

Depressive episodes can include:

  • Feeling hopeless, very sad, or worthless
  • Loneliness and self-isolation
  • Slowed speech, believing you have nothing worthy to say, forgetfulness
  • Low energy
  • Sleeping too often
  • Eating too little or too much
  • Lack of interest in customary activities and inability to accomplish simple tasks
  • Preoccupied with thoughts of self-harm

Mixed episodes include a mix of manic and depressive symptoms, like feeling very sad and feeling extremely energized at the same time.

The four types

There are four types of bipolar disorder to watch for:

  • Bipolar I disorder is characterized by people experiencing one or more mania episodes. If diagnosed with bipolar I you’ll have episodes of mania and depression, though depression isn’t needed for diagnosis. To be diagnosed, your manic episodes must last seven or more days or require hospitalization.
  • Bipolar II disorder is a subgroup of bipolar disorder where people suffer depressive episodes shifting back and forth to and from hypomanic episodes, but never a “complete” manic episode.
  • Cyclothymia is a chronically unbalanced mood disorder where people experience mild depression and hypomania for two or more years. People with cyclothymia can experience brief periods of normal mood, but these incidents last fewer than eight weeks.
  • “Other specified” and “unspecified” bipolar disorder happens when you don’t meet the criteria for bipolar I, II or cyclothymia but still have periods of clinically substantial abnormal mood elevation.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis normally includes:

  • A physical examination or lab tests to rule out a medical cause
  • A psychiatric assessment to review thoughts, behaviors, and feelings, and any history of personal or family mental illness
  • Mood charting is where you’re asked to record your moods daily
  • And reviewing criteria in the DSM-5

Treatment options

The standard treatment options for bipolar disorder include medicine like mood stabilizers and antipsychotics, and psychotherapy or a combination of all three. Once you’ve been diagnosed, a doctor or clinician will recommend a treatment plan which takes into consideration the severity and duration of symptoms, your overall health, and interaction with the medicine you may be taking. You should ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of each option and understand how long therapy may last.

Ketamine for bipolar disorder

Ketamine is another treatment option and a powerful one at that. Over the course of 60 years, the medicine has proven itself time and again as the go-to sedative for pre-and post-surgical interventions around the world. Today, it’s revered for its ability to help calm symptoms of bipolar disorder, depression, and many chronic pain disorders and conditions that haven’t responded to conventional treatment. 

Final thoughts

Like other kinds of mental illness, bipolar disorder is serious and shouldn’t be left untreated. The condition may worsen, leading to severe consequences for you and the people around you. If you or a loved one are dealing with the symptoms of bipolar we can help. 

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