Seeing a loved one struggle with their mental health is never easy. When signs of bipolar disorder appear, which happens for 2.8% of people in the United States, learning about the illness and how to support your loved one can make a significant difference.
Our caring team of medical providers at Arundel Medical Group, Inc. provides mental health services, including screenings, at our primary care practice in Glen Burnie, Maryland. Read on to learn how bipolar disorder can manifest and what to do when you notice signs in a friend or family member.
Bipolar disorder symptoms
Bipolar disorder plays out uniquely in each person, but there are common trends. Everyone with the disorder experiences some amount of dramatic shifts in their moods, energy levels, and abilities to think clearly.
Extreme emotional highs involved with bipolar are known as mania, and the bouts of lows are considered depression. Elevated moods that aren’t as severe as mania are known as hypomania. In severe cases, bipolar episodes can involve psychotic symptoms, such as delusions or hallucinations.
There are several types of bipolar disorders, including:
- Bipolar I disorder, which involves at least one manic episode that may occur before or after a hypomanic or major depressive episode
- Bipolar II disorder, which includes at least one major depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode, without any manic episodes
- Cyclothymic disorder, which includes at least 1-2 years periods of hypomania symptoms, as well as and moderate depressive symptoms
Addressing signs of bipolar disorder
Because bipolar disorder is a serious condition that can worsen over time, early diagnosis and care are essential. When a loved one is showing signs of bipolar disorder, our team can also help rule out or pinpoint other causes of bipolar-like symptoms, such as schizophrenia.
Many people experiencing hypomania resist visiting a doctor for fear of being less productive or less “high” while on medication. The disorder can also make it very difficult for the person experiencing it to recognize they’re ill.
For these reasons, consider:
- Letting your loved one know you’re concerned about their well-being
- Offering to help schedule treatment consultations, which might feel stressful and overwhelming for someone with untreated bipolar disorder
- Talking to a treatment professional about your concerns before approaching your loved one
- Letting your loved one know that any challenges they’re experiencing are not their fault and they’re not alone
- Sharing that the symptoms of bipolar disorder symptoms are treatable
Bipolar disorder treatment
If our team believes that your loved one has bipolar disorder, we may refer you to a psychiatrist for a comprehensive evaluation and confirmed diagnosis. Treatment for bipolar disorder may involve psychotherapy, medications, or a combination of both. Our team will work closely with your loved one’s mental health team to ensure optimal wellness.
To learn more about bipolar disorder or get the support your loved one needs, call Arundel Medical Group, Inc., or request an appointment on our website.