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Although Bipolar Disorder is not listed as a behavior disorder some of the bipolar symptoms may reflect a diagnosis for a behavior disorder. This article helps define bipolar disorder as well as the causes, types, and treatment for bipolar disorder.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is the name for a mental illness that has been called “manic depression” or “manic depressive illness” in the past. It is one of the mood disorders, and—contrary to what the name suggests—it involves the person who has it alternating between three different states. One is a manic state; the second is a depressed state; but the third, which is not mentioned in the name, is a normal state of mind, in which the person is neither manic nor depressed. There are also reports of people experience what is called a “mixed state,” with features of both mania and depression. The mood changes may not be predictable, and people with bipolar disorder may have trouble getting a correct diagnosis.
Causes and Types of Bipolar Disorder
There is no known cause of bipolar disorder, but it does seem to run in families. A child with a parent or sibling with bipolar disorder is 4 to 6 times more likely to develop it. It often appears in young people aged 15 to 25.
There are at least three types of bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder Type I is the type that used to be called “manic depression.” With this type, the person has a minimum of one fully manic episode, but also experiences major depressions. Bipolar Type 2 is distinguished by periods of depression that may be similar to Type I, but the manic periods are not full-fledged (i.e., they are less severe) and are referred to as “hypomania.” Cyclothemia is a third form in which the mood swings are less severe, involving hypomania and mild depression. People may also be diagnosed with “bipolar disorder not otherwise specified” if their symptoms do not meet the diagnostic criteria for any of the three types. People with either type of bipolar disorder that includes hypomania may be misdiagnosed as depressed without acknowledgement of their manic symptoms.
Bipolar Disorder Treatments
Treatment for bipolar disorder of any of the types may include medications called mood stabilizers, antipsychotic drugs, and antidepressants. Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is sometimes used when medication is ineffective, as is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).
Bipolar disorder tends to get worse if it isn’t treated. Worse, in this case, means that episodes may become both more frequent and more severe. In addition, the problems that the dramatic mood swings may cause have time to become more problematic when treatment isn’t obtained. There are also other illnesses that are co-morbid with bipolar disorder, and treatment needs to take any of these that might be present. They include substance abuse and other addictions, anxiety disorders, panic disorders, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). People who have bipolar disorder also are more likely than the general population to get thyroid disease, migraines, diabetes, and heart disease, as well as to suffer from obesity. Hospitalization for bipolar disorder is sometimes necessary.
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