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    Community Voices

    Bipolar Basics (And the Challenges in Diagnosis)

    A complex mood disorder, bipolar poses several challenges to those who experience it. These pains include maintaining relationships, holding down sustainable employment, and often financial struggles. Less than 20% of those having bipolar disorder receive an accurate diagnosis within the first year of treatment. In fact, five or even ten years is not unheard of. So what is so difficult about diagnosing bipolar disorder?

    What is Bipolar?

    Bipolar disorder is a mental illness causing fluctuating moods and energy levels. It often affects emotions, sleep, appetite, focus, and many other aspects of the person’s life. Diagnostic criteria include experiencing depressive and manic episodes.

    What Might a Depressive Episode Look Like?

    During a depressive episode, some or all of the following signs and symptoms are present:

    ● Feeling sad and/or a sense of emptiness

    ● Loss of interest in activities

    ● Reduced energy and/or decreased activity levels

    ● Difficulty concentrating and/or forgetfulness

    ● Changes in appetite

    ● Sleep disruptions

    Suicidal thoughts

    What Might Mania Look Like?

    A manic or hypomanic episode may present some or all of the following signs and symptoms:

    ● Increased activity levels and/or taking on many tasks

    ● A sense of euphoria

    ● Racing thoughts

    ● Irritability

    ● Feeling jittery or similar agitation

    ● Engaging in risky behavior

    ● An abundance of energy and/or insomnia

    Types of Bipolar

    We can divide bipolar disorder into four categories: Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Cyclothymia, and Bipolar-Related Disorders. Each type of bipolar causes mood cycling. None of these has a singular cause although risk factors include trauma, brain function anomalies, and genetics. Symptoms typically begin during the teenage years.

    Bipolar I

    This is what most people think of when considering bipolar. It is characterized by a depressive episode and a manic episode. Episodes may last a significant amount of time or rapid cycle. Mania symptoms last seven days or more, or are severe enough to require intervention.

    Bipolar II

    Frequently misdiagnosed as major depressive disorder, bipolar II is characterized by a depressive episode and a hypomanic episode. As hypomania is less extreme than mania, they may pass it off as the person simply feeling better for a while.

    Cyclothymic Disorder

    Less extreme than the above, a person with cyclothymia vacillates between milder depression and hypomania. Continuous cycling for two years is considered cyclothymia.

    Bipolar-Related Disorders

    While not specifically a sub-type, this category encompasses mood disorders that resemble bipolar disorder but do not meet the criteria for a diagnosis.

    The Wrong Diagnosis

    People are more likely to seek treatment during a depressive episode and may not recall experiencing a manic or hypomanic episode, particularly in cases of bipolar II. This often leads to a diagnosis of major depressive disorder.

    Substance abuse may also lead to a misdiagnosis as the use of alcohol or drugs can often affect episode cycles. This can lead the healthcare professional to believe that substance use is directly responsible for mood swings.

    Someone with bipolar may also receive the incorrect diagnosis of schizophrenia as symptoms are similar for both diagnoses.

    Medication and Misdiagnosis

    Misdiagnosing bipolar disorder can lead to the healthcare professional prescribing medication that can worsen symptoms. For example, a provider may prescribe SSRIs for depression, which can trigger a manic episode.

    Medications prescribed for different conditions may trigger mood and energy cycles. For example, a prescription for corticosteroids may induce mania.

    Receiving the Right Diagnosis

    Healthcare providers are not intentionally misdiagnosing people who seek care. As we understand more about the wide sphere of mental illness, the need for deeper psychological evaluation and a detailed patient history becomes more apparent.

    If you are seeking treatment for your mental health, it’s important to share a lot of information, even if you find it embarrassing or shameful. The better your provider can understand your experience, the better they can treat you, and the sooner you can feel better.

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    Good times equal Good food and toys per Lucy Wisdom for you 🐶

    <p>Good times equal Good food and toys per Lucy Wisdom for you 🐶</p>
    6 people are talking about this
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    gali

    Law of attraction

    There's no way for me to attract the things I truly want and deserve, if I'm not spiritually and mentally in the place I want to be yet.

    I love me and I love being me but the question is am I living to my highest potential? No, but I'm trying each and everyday. Some days are easy and some days are really hard. The last few days have been really hard.

    I made a promise to myself that I'm not going to give up on me and I don't break promises. This universe gave me a chance and it's up to me to take it. I'm going to make me proud and I can't wait.

    #Depression #Anxiety #Insomnia #wellbutrin #peace #Love #Faith

    Community Voices

    We often hold ourselves to much higher standards than we do others.

    <p>We often hold ourselves to much higher standards than we do others.</p>
    1 person is talking about this
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    Mug saying:
    It's official, you're awesome!

    <p>Mug saying:<br>It's official, you're awesome!</p>
    4 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Does anyone else with #PTSD also struggle with insomnia?

    Without meds I can’t get a full nights sleep. I try to come up with a nightly routine but it fails. I end up getting up really early.

    #PTSD #Insomnia #AbuseSurvivors

    9 people are talking about this
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    A super cute Lil family to post and aaah over 💓

    <p>A super cute Lil family to post and aaah over 💓</p>
    4 people are talking about this
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    The tag on my new PJ'S! 😂🤣😂🤣

    <p>The tag on my new PJ'S! 😂🤣😂🤣</p>
    4 people are talking about this
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    Lil ghost cookie to celebrate October and coming Halloween!

    <p>Lil ghost cookie to celebrate October and coming Halloween!</p>
    8 people are talking about this
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    I love this!💕❤️

    <p>I love this!💕❤️</p>
    8 people are talking about this