Nearly 3% of adults in the United States live with bipolar disorder, a condition marked by significant highs and lows in your moods, energy, thinking, and behaviors. And while its symptoms can be debilitating, proper treatment can minimize them, allowing you to lead a full and gratifying life.
If you suspect that a loved one may have bipolar disorder, our team of qualified experts at Arundel Medical Group, Inc. in Glen Burnie, Maryland, can help. Read on to learn more about this disorder, including signs to watch for in a loved one.
Types of bipolar disorder
All types of bipolar disorder can bring extreme shifts in your thinking, moods, and behavior, but they differ in specifics.
If you have bipolar I disorder, your manic “up” periods are severe enough to require medical care and last at least a week. Often, extreme low periods happen intermittently, lasting at least two weeks as well.
With bipolar II, you experience similar ups and downs, but they aren’t as extreme as bipolar I.
Cyclothymia, another type, causes similar symptoms, but they’re less extreme when compared to both bipolar I and II.
In some cases, bipolar symptoms don’t fit the criteria for any of these three types. Known as type IV, this form involves extremes that occur only after taking particular medications.
Bipolar V is a form that involves only major depression in someone with a family history of bipolar disorder.
Supporting a loved one who may have bipolar
If you suspect that a loved one may be showing signs of bipolar disorder, making sure they get the care they need is essential.
Your loved one may not recognize their symptoms, particularly during symptom flare-ups, when denial is common. Express your concerns gently and honestly — guiding with compassion versus judgment — and offer to help them by scheduling an appointment at our office.
If they resist the idea that bipolar disorder may be at play, suggest a general medical checkup. It would also help to contact our team in advance of the appointment, letting us know about your concerns.
If your loved one is then diagnosed with bipolar disorder, their treatment will likely include a combination of medication and psychotherapy. You can continue to support them through this journey by praising the efforts they’re making, offering to drive them to appointments, and just being there to listen with the goal of understanding.
To learn more about bipolar disorder or get your loved one the care they need, call our office or request an appointment on our website.