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3 Signs Your Loved One May Have Bipolar Disorder (and What to Do Next)

3 Signs Your Loved One May Have Bipolar Disorder (and What to Do Next)

You go from being really happy one minute and sad the next and you’re accused of “being bipolar.” This use of what is a very serious mental health issue is certainly rooted in some truth, but it’s also very far off the mark when it comes to true bipolar disorder.

As the nearly 3% of the population in the United States who had bipolar disorder in the past year can tell you, this condition can be all-consuming. In fact, just shy of 83% of those with bipolar disorder had serious impairment.

Here at Institute for Advanced Psychiatry, Dr. Diana Ghelber and the team have no small amount of experience helping patients to control bipolar disorder, allowing them to live happier, more peaceful lives.

If you suspect that your loved one’s mood swings are caused by a more serious disorder, we’ve separated out three clinical types of bipolar disorder, along with common characteristics of each, to help better inform you.

1. Bipolar I disorder

This type of bipolar is extreme and the symptoms are hard to ignore. They include:

Manic episodes

With a manic episode, your loved one may talk incessantly and fast, not sleep as much, act recklessly, be easily distracted, and race around. A manic episode that lasts more than a week is considered to fall under bipolar I and these episodes may even require hospitalization as your loved one becomes a danger to themselves and others.

Depressive episodes

Once the manic episode subsides, a major depressive episode typically follows with symptoms that include:

To qualify as bipolar I, this episode lasts for at least two weeks, and often much longer if it goes untreated.

2. Bipolar II disorder

This type of bipolar disorder follows the same cycles as bipolar I, but to a lesser degree, Instead of a manic episode, your loved one may have a hypomanic episode that lasts for a few days but doesn’t interfere in any significant way with their ability to function.

During their hypomanic episode, they may feel a little more energized and more productive, which aren’t really red flags. Where people usually realize that there’s an issue is when the hypomania is followed by a depressive episode, which can feel quite opposite to the hypomania. In between these episodes, your loved one experiences some normalcy and equilibrium.

3. Cyclothymic disorder

This form of bipolar disorder is relatively mild and neither the depressive nor the mania symptoms qualify in a clinical sense. Yet, there’s still an ongoing cycle of highs and lows that last for two years, or more.

Next steps for your loved one

If you suspect that your loved one does have some degree of bipolar disorder after reading the above, it’s a good idea to come see us so that we can perform an evaluation.

Bipolar disorder doesn’t just go away on its own and there are ways in which we can bring much-needed balance to your loved one’s life. In most cases, we try a combination of:

When it comes to depressive episodes, TMS is an effective and noninvasive treatment that can help your loved one better regulate their moods. In fact, research shows that TMS is a great treatment for those who fail to respond to medications and talk therapy.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, the first step is to schedule an appointment with us so we can figure out what’s going with your loved one. To get started, please contact us at the Institute for Advanced Psychiatry in Granbury or Fort Worth, Texas, to schedule a consultation.

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