Living with a bipolar mood disorder is a challenge. When symptoms aren’t managed, they can affect your relationships, career and nearly every corner of your life. The good news is that bipolar mood disorders have been treated successfully for decades. Evidence-based approaches to managing these conditions put a happy and healthy life well within reach.
Bipolar mood disorders are complex and varied in how they affect different individuals. It helps to understand that most fit within three primary categories.
Bipolar I Disorder
A person living with bipolar I will have experienced at least one manic episode lasting at least a week. Manic episodes will often be bracketed by depressive episodes lasting two weeks or more. A person with bipolar I is likely to have been hospitalized due to a manic episode.
Bipolar II Disorder
Bipolar II is both a bit more common and typically features depressive episodes interspersed with periods of hypomania, but never a full manic episode as seen in bipolar I. The cycles can be less dramatic than bipolar I, sometimes making it harder to diagnose initially.
Cyclothymia or cyclothymic disorder can also be a bit harder to diagnose in the beginning as symptoms are less severe. They include periods of hypomania and depressive symptoms that are less severe than major depression.
Diagnosis and Treatment for Bipolar Mood Disorders
People living with bipolar mood disorders are not always aware of how much their behavior can disrupt their lives and the lives of the people around them. Bipolar disorders do not resolve themselves. But relying on proven interventions can transform the life of a bipolar patient.
The first step should be getting a proper diagnosis and gaining knowledge of your condition. Observe your own behavior. Try to understand your mood cycles and potential triggers. All of this will be integral in managing your condition.
Medication is often helpful for people with bipolar mood disorders. It is almost always an essential part of care for bipolar I patients. Talk to your doctor about medications for your particular condition. Following a prescribed regimen to the letter is crucial.
When a bipolar I patient under treatment ends up in crisis, it almost always begins with them deviating from their scheduled medication doses. Building in a resilient medication management routine is a wise way to avoid difficulty.
Managing the Ups and Downs
Much of the challenge of living with bipolar disorder comes from the ups and downs, and the chaos that mismanaged bipolar can cause. One of the best ways to counteract this is by introducing order and calm into your life. Here are a few ways to help:
Routine and Organization
Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Try to keep your clothing and belongings simple and organized. Try to get to appointments early with time to spare. These are all simple but effective ways to mitigate stress.
Meditation has been used to introduce calm and focus into people’s lives for thousands of years. It is simple and effective.
Yoga is often seen as the physical counterpart to meditation. It has a naturally calming effect and can even improve digestion and sleep.
What you eat and drink also plays an important role in how you feel. People with bipolar disorders should consider avoiding caffeine and eat regular, nutritious meals to keep blood sugar stable.
With proper diagnosis and a plan to follow, a person with bipolar disorder can live a happy and productive life. Managing a bipolar mood disorder will pay dividends in the form of healthier relationships and more peace and calm. Treatment can help you understand yourself and your condition and put you in the best possible position to manage it effectively.
You are more than your bipolar disorder. We can help you get back to the life you deserve. Call our recovery specialists today to find out more about your treatment options at 844.675.0962.
By Ryan Egan