Bipolar Disorder

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder, also known by its older name “manic-depression,” is a psychiatric condition that is characterized by fluctuating moods. A person with Bipolar Disorder experiences alternating “highs” (called mania or hypomania, depending on severity) and “lows” (also known as depression).

Both the manic and depressive periods can be relatively brief, from a week or two up to several months. The periods of mania and depression vary from person to person – many people may only experience very brief periods of these intense moods, and may not even be aware that they have Bipolar Disorder.

Is there a test to tell me if I have or may inherit Bipolar Disorder?

Currently, no test can tell a person if he is at risk of developing Bipolar Disorder. If you think you may have Bipolar Disorder, it’s best to speak to a specialist who can help determine if what you’re feeling or experiencing is Bipolar Disorder.

Can someone have a medical condition or other issue that mimics Bipolar Disorder?

Yes, certain conditions can mimic mood disorders, including:

  • Thyroid conditions
  • Neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, stroke or epilepsy
  • Infections in the body or the brain
  • Deficiencies of certain vitamins, such as vitamin B12 or vitamin D
  • Autoimmune or rheumatologic conditions, such as Lupus
  • Corticosteroid use, especially in high doses
  • Illicit substance use or withdrawal states

Telling your doctor about your medical history and the medications that you are currently taking can help her determine the cause of your condition.

If I am diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, will I be on medication for the rest of my life?

Most likely. Patients are encouraged to stay on their medication unless instructed otherwise by their clinician.

How can lifestyle affect Bipolar Disorder?

Lack of a consistent routine and disrupted sleep can trigger a mood episode. Choosing work and leisure activities that allow proper sleep and rest is vital to healthy emotional functioning. Families can support good mental hygiene by encouraging the patient to go to bed and get up at the same time each day, and by minimizing the person’s exposure to stress.

I think I may need to be evaluated for Bipolar Disorder. What should I do?

MPP is committed to getting you the help you need, and getting a correct diagnosis is the first step. Please click here to schedule an appointment with one of our qualified psychiatric specialists.

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