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Bipolar l, Bipolar ll, Cyclothymia Disorder

Bipolar disorders are characterized by feeling up for a few days or a week and then having weeks or days of depressive symptoms. Manic and hypomanic (high energy) episodes are not like anxiety in that they have no worry component at all. In a manic state, one can feel like they don’t need sleep much and feel very happy.

Manic episode

This is a specific time where a person feels constantly elevated in mood and energy for at least 7 straight days (one week). This energy can be goal directed where they focus on certain things or can even be irritable and grouchy, but energetic.

During this period of time, they will also have:

  • Inflated self-confidence
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • More talkative than usual or feel a pressure to keep talking
  • Flight of ideas, as if thoughts are racing
  • Easily distracted
  • Increased goal directed activity or even activity with no purpose
  • Excessive involvement with activity that has a high potential for painful or negative consequences like buying sprees, foolish business deals or sexual indiscretions (misbehaviors)

Hypomanic episode

This is a lower level of mania due to lessened time of duration of symptoms and less severe behavioral changes. This can last 4 consecutive days or less.

  • Inflated self-confidence
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • More talkative than usual or feel a pressure to keep talking
  • Flight of ideas, as if thoughts are racing
  • Easily distracted
  • Increased goal directed activity or even activity with no purpose

Depressive Episode

This person usually has had periods of normal moods where they have not felt this way. And they will have slipped into this low mood for most days during a two-week period.

  • Depressed mood for most days.
  • Lack of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed.
  • Significant weight change—loss or gain.
  • Insomnia (unable to sleep) or hypersomnia (being extra sleepy)
  • Restlessness or feeling sluggish nearly every day.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt nearly every day.
  • Reduced ability to think or concentrate nearly every day.
  • Continued thoughts of death, suicidal ideation, attempt or plan.

Bipolar l

If a person has had one full manic episode and one depressive episode, they are considered to have met criteria for this diagnosis. “Cycling”, where it comes and goes during time, is common and often predictable, but not always. This is a constant mental condition that can increase or decrease over time and be managed with proper medication. Heathy life skills and learning to recognize “cycles” as they come on is important to managing this lifelong disorder.

Bipolar ll

This person will have met hypomania (high energy) and depressive symptoms but never had a full manic episode to get this diagnosis. This is also constant, and the person can “cycle” as well. It is managed by medications and life skills to maintain healthy patterns.

Cyclothymia

Symptoms can last for at least two years with multiple periods of hypomania and numerous periods of depressive symptoms.

This disorder is marked by its cyclic nature and its lower levels of highs and lows altogether.

Learning good daily living skills can assist in keeping a stable life and medication management can also help provide a good quality of life.

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