Living with Bipolar Disorder and Mental Illness


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You may feel at a loss if you're caring for someone with bipolar disorder.

Psychological toolkit

If you're having relationship or marriage difficulties, you can contact specialist relationship counsellors, who can talk things through with you and your partner. Having suicidal thoughts is a common depressive symptom of bipolar disorder. Without treatment, these thoughts may get stronger. Some research has shown the risk of suicide for people with bipolar disorder is 15 to 20 times greater than the general population.

Studies have also shown that as many as half of all people with bipolar disorder attempt suicide at least once. If you're feeling very depressed, contact your GP, care co-ordinator or local mental health crisis team as soon as possible. You could also call NHS for an immediate assessment. If you cannot or do not want to contact these people, contact the Samaritans on Self-harm is often a symptom of mental health problems like bipolar disorder. For some people, self-harm is a way of gaining control over their lives or temporarily distracting themselves from mental distress.

Page last reviewed: 14 March Next review due: 14 March Stay active and eat well Eating well and keeping fit can help reduce the symptoms of bipolar disorder, particularly the depressive symptoms. Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising are an important way of limiting that risk. Use self-management programmes Self-management programmes aim to help you take an active part in your own recovery so you're not controlled by your illness.

Talk about it Some people with bipolar disorder find it easy to talk to family and friends about their condition and its effects. Other people find it easier to turn to charities and support groups. These organisations also provide online support in forums and blogs. Services that can help You may be involved with many different services during treatment for bipolar disorder. Helplessness turns into guilt, which is not an emotion you want to deal with alone.


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When this feeling sets in, it is time to get professional assistance. There is nothing to be shamed about, remember it is a disease that can passed on from one generation to another. Your behavior as a parent, husband wife or sibling is not responsible for their bipolar disease. Running from a problem is an option, but never a solution. You may have these thoughts, but you need to discuss them with a behavioral professional.

I am aware of a number of divorces in which the wife or husband could not cope and abandoned their significant other. You need to marshal your resources, stay the course and fight this disease. When the opportunity presents itself, step up and help someone who needs help. Sharing your strength with your loved one is critical, but you need to save some for yourself.

One day someone will step up for you. Fight the disease, but embrace your loved one, let them know you are there for them and understand they are the one suffering. This is a battle that you will eventually win. Research into bipolar is ongoing and there will always be new drugs that will help fight this disease.

Personal Stories

This is not a race, but a marathon. By sharing your experience, you can let others know that they are not alone. Javascript must be enabled for the correct page display Skip to content. Share NAMI. Personal Stories Living with Someone with Bipolar Disorder Just when you think things are going well for you and your loved one, your partner enters a manic phase and the rug is pulled out from underneath both of you and your worlds are upside down.

Have faith and hope! Rapid cycling is moving between four or more mood episodes per year. These may be manic, hypomanic, depressive or mixed episodes. A mixed episode occurs when we experience symptoms of mania and depression at the same time. Patients may need to be hospitalised if there is aggressive behaviour or there are safety concerns. A combination of more than one medication may be required. Sometimes, someone with bipolar disorder might tend to develop manic episodes at a certain time of year. For example, depressions often occur in the autumn and winter.

Health professionals can find out more about bipolar disorder by consulting the DSM-5 guidelines here. It's the handbook used by healthcare professionals around the world as the authoritative guide to the diagnosis of mental disorders. The DSM-5 contains descriptions, symptoms and other criteria for diagnosing mental disorders.

A distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive or irritable mood and abnormally increased activity and energy, lasting at least four consecutive days and present most of the day nearly every day. During this period three or more of the following symptoms have persisted four if the mood is only irritable representing a change from usual behaviour and present to a significant degree:.

The episode is associated with an unequivocal change in functioning that is uncharacteristic for the individual when not symptomatic. The episode is not severe enough to cause marked impairment in social or occupational functioning or to necessitate hospitalisation. If psychotic features are present the episode is, by definition, manic. A distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive or irritable mood and abnormally increased activity and energy, lasting at least one week and present most of the day nearly every day or any duration if hospitalisation is necessary.

The mood disturbance is sufficiently severe to cause marked impairment in social or occupational functioning or to necessitate hospitalisation to prevent harm to self or others, or there are psychotic features.

Living With Bipolar Disorder: 7 People Explain What It's Actually Like | SELF

The episode is not attributable to the physiological effect of a substance or to another medical condition. Skip to side navigation Skip to content. Clinical resources Bipolar disorder What is bipolar disorder? What is bipolar disorder? Friends, family and workmates can often be the ones to notice first. What are the early warning signs of bipolar disorder? Bipolar symptoms during a depressed phase may include: feelings of sadness or hopelessness loss of interest in usually pleasurable activities withdrawal from family and friends sleep problems often excessive sleep loss of energy, feeling exhausted physical slowing low self-esteem feelings of guilt problems concentrating suicidal thoughts.

Types of bipolar disorder Bipolar I disorder Bipolar II disorder Cyclothymic disorder Other specified bipolar related disorder Unspecified bipolar and related disorder Substance or drug induced bipolar and related disorder Bipolar and related disorder due to another medical condition Bipolar I disorder — depressive and manic episodes At least one manic episode needed for diagnosis. Bipolar I affects men and women equally.

Bipolar II disorder — depressive and hypomanic episodes less extreme highs than Bipolar I At least one hypomanic episode and one major depressive episode needed for diagnosis. Cyclothymic disorder - hypomanic and depressive symptoms For at two years one year in children and adolescents an individual experiences multiple periods of hypomanic symptoms that don't meet all the formal criteria for a hypomania or major depression diagnosis. Other specified bipolar and related disorder These are bipolar-like disorders that don't meet full diagnostic criteria for the above-mentioned disorders because of shorter duration or severity of illness.

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They can include: short-duration hypomanic episodes two-three days and major depressive episodes hypomanic episodes with insufficient symptoms and major depressive episodes hypomanic episode without previous major depressive episode short-duration cyclothymia less than two years. Unspecified bipolar and related disorder Symptoms of bipolar and the related disorders that don't meet full diagnostic criteria for any of the previous categories. Substance or drug induced bipolar and related disorder A noticeable and persistent disturbance in mood, with high or irritable mood.

Bipolar and related disorder due to another medical condition This may be diagnosed when the symptoms of bipolar disorder are present and there is strong evidence of consequences of another medical condition, e.

Living With Someone That Is Manic Depressive

Co-morbidities other medical conditions that can occur with bipolar disorder People with bipolar disorder can also have a higher risk of other conditions such as: alcohol and drug abuse anxiety cardiovascular disease diabetes obesity suicide. What is a manic episode? A manic episode is a period of abnormally and persistently high mood or irritable mood. What is a hypomanic episode?


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Hypomania means 'less than mania'. A hypomanic episode has the same symptoms as a manic episode but is less severe. The main difference between mania and hypomania is that mania: has delusions and hallucinations psychosis is generally more prolonged has marked impairment of functioning. Diagram: Diagram showing the differences between mania, hypomania and depression What is a major depressive episode?

Having a lower, depressed mood with a loss of pleasure, nearly all the time. Other symptoms of a major depressive episode, include: feeling sad, empty, hopeless weight changes problems sleeping or sleeping too much fatigue feeling worthless or guilty having difficulty concentrating or making decisions thoughts of death or suicide. When someone is experiencing an acute manic episode, they can sometimes have: delusions — fixed, false, irrational or illogical beliefs hallucinations — hearing, seeing, or sensing things that are not real.

The presence of psychotic symptoms needs to be taken seriously Psychotic symptoms indicate a serious episode and the person may need to be admitted into hospital for close monitoring and urgent treatment. Delusions Two types of delusions can occur during a manic episode: grandiose or persecutory delusions. Grandiose delusions The person believes that they possess special and unique gifts or powers that others do not have, or that they have access to information that is hidden to others. Persecutory delusions The person believes that people are after him or her, or something really bad is about to happen to them or to someone they know.

Hallucinations Hallucinations are also seen in mania and can occur in any sensory organ i. The most common hallucinations occurring in mania are auditory hearing things. Auditory hallucinations Auditory hallucinations consist of hearing things. These things can be: sounds of footsteps a single voice or several voices, male or female, familiar or unfamiliar voice s that call the person's name, tell them to do things, comment on what the person is doing, or if more than one voice can talk to each other about the person perceived as coming from outside the person's head but occasionally people hear them inside the head similar to the person's own thoughts.

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These might obscure detection of mania and hypomania, as people report more depressive symptoms when seeking treatment. For some people, it can take years before their illness is accurately diagnosed and treated. Bipolar doesn't go away by itself.

Living with Bipolar Disorder and Mental Illness Living with Bipolar Disorder and Mental Illness
Living with Bipolar Disorder and Mental Illness Living with Bipolar Disorder and Mental Illness
Living with Bipolar Disorder and Mental Illness Living with Bipolar Disorder and Mental Illness
Living with Bipolar Disorder and Mental Illness Living with Bipolar Disorder and Mental Illness
Living with Bipolar Disorder and Mental Illness Living with Bipolar Disorder and Mental Illness
Living with Bipolar Disorder and Mental Illness Living with Bipolar Disorder and Mental Illness
Living with Bipolar Disorder and Mental Illness Living with Bipolar Disorder and Mental Illness
Living with Bipolar Disorder and Mental Illness Living with Bipolar Disorder and Mental Illness

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