Bipolar Disorder: Understand the Mental Battle

People who suffer from bipolar disorder are not crazy people. They have a manic-depressive illness that creates a shift in their mood, activity levels, the ability to continue daily tasks, and energy levels. Some symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe and make it very difficult to lead a peaceful daily life. There are ups and downs that people go through all the time, but the ups and downs caused by bipolar disorder are very different. This disorder can damage relationships, cause poor school and job performance, and in worst cases suicide. The battle with bipolar disorder does not have to be all uphill, however. It can be treated, and people with the disorder can lead happy and healthy lives.

When Can Bipolar Disorder First Be Detected?
The first signs of bipolar disorder can be seen during the late teens or early in adult years. Most cases start before the age of twenty-five. Those that tend to have more severe cases of bipolar disorder have experienced symptoms during their childhood. There really is no actual time line for when bipolar disorder starts, since it can also start late in life. This disorder is not always easy to diagnose when it begins to affect someone. People have been known to suffer from it for years before it is diagnosed and treated. It is an illness that is considered to be long-term and should be managed carefully throughout your life. There are a few symptoms that are noticeable and include intense emotional states that happen in mood episodes. The important concept to remember is that mood episodes represent drastic changes in a person’s normal behavior and mood. People who suffer from bipolar disorder go through manic episodes of over-excitement, and moods that are extremely upset and sad known as depressive episodes. In some cases there is a mixed state where both ends of the scale are experienced at once.

How Can Bipolar Disorder Be Diagnosed?
Since bipolar disorder is a long-term illness, it can come back at any time. People with bipolar disorder can go months without experiencing a mood episode, making them symptom free. Some people suffer from symptoms that linger throughout their lives. In order to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, symptoms must be major and show drastic changes in your behavior and normal mood.  There is no single test that can be conducted to diagnose bipolar disorder. A diagnosis should include a physical exam, lab tests, and an interview. Since brain scans and blood tests cannot detect the disorder, they help rule out other factors instead. Once testing has been done to rule out other health factors, then your physician should order a mental health evaluation. These types of evaluations should be conducted by mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists that are trained to diagnose bipolar disorder.

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