Are You Displaying Bipolar Or Manic Depressive Symptoms Advice

Bipolar disorder

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Is there a difference between Being bipolar and manic depressive

Formerly called manic depression, bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that causes sudden and often unexpected shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, concentration, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.

Onlookers often mistake people with bipolar disorder for having ADD or ADHD as they share several common behavioural indicators. However, they are very different conditions.

There are three major types of bipolar disorder, and they all involve clear changes in mood, energy output, and activity levels.

These moods range from periods of Manic, where the person feels ultra-happy, elated, or energised with positive behaviour, to Depressive, where they feel very down, sad, indifferent, hopeless, and often suicidal. There is another, lesser-known level, with less severe manic periods known as hypomanic episodes.

  • Bipolar I disorder— is defined by manic episodes that last at least seven days or by manic symptoms so severe the person requires immediate hospital admission and care. Usually, depressive episodes also occur, typically lasting at least two weeks. This is the classic example of bipolar disorder that people refer to when they call someone manic-depressive. They appear to have the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, with little, if any, transition period between the two.

Episodes of depression with mixed features, that is, having depressive symptoms and manic symptoms simultaneously, surprisingly, and confusingly, are also possible.

  • Bipolar II Disorder— is defined by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but not the full-blown manic episodes typical of Bipolar I Disorder.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder or Cyclothymia— can be defined by periods of hypomanic and depressive symptoms lasting at least two years in adults and one year in children and adolescents.

There is always the fringe element who experience symptoms of bipolar disorder that do not match the three major categories listed above. These are referred to as other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorders.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder

Video: What is bipolar disorder? – Helen M. Farrell

People with bipolar disorder experience periods of unusually intense emotion, changes in sleep patterns and activity levels, and uncharacteristic behaviours. What is most concerning about these radical expressions is that the person displaying them rarely recognises their harmful or undesirable actions and their effects on their lives and on others who are affected by their actions.

These distinct periods are called Mood episodes. Mood episodes are very different from the moods and behaviours that are the person’s baseline characteristics. Mood episodes can last every day for most of the day. Episodes may also last for longer periods and carry over several days or weeks.

Is Being Bipolar Mistaken For Other Conditions

The practice of medicine is never a simple one. So many conditions share signs and symptoms, and it isn’t easy even for experts to get it right all the time. Having certified First Aid skills and knowledge helps laymen recognise what behaviour might be deviant from a person’s normal behaviour. 

Taking an accredited First Aid course with a registered training organisation is the first step towards gaining knowledge and understanding of medical practices and procedures and responding to any crisis situations that might present should a child or co-worker enter a manic or depressive state.

Psychosis: Sometimes, a person with severe episodes of mania or depression may experience psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions that could incorrectly be diagnosed as drug abuse or the person being ‘high’. Knowing the signs of someone who is high and what to look for will quickly rule out this option and alert the trained First Aider to a more serious problem that warrants deeper investigation.

People experiencing psychotic symptoms during a manic episode may unrealistically believe they are famous, exceptionally wealthy, or have special or magical powers.

People undergoing psychotic symptoms during a depressive episode may falsely believe they are financially ruined and penniless, have committed a crime, or have an unrecognised serious illness and not long left to live.

As a result of those wildly differing signs and symptoms, people with bipolar disorder experiencing psychotic symptoms are often incorrectly diagnosed with schizophrenia, ADD or ADHD, or tripping on hallucinogenic drugs.

When Should You See A Doctor For Assessment

Despite the mood extremes, people with bipolar disorder often don’t recognise how much their emotional instability disrupts their lives and the lives of their loved ones. By proxy of being ignorant or oblivious to what is obvious to everyone around them, they rarely seek and get the correct medical help and treatment they require.

If you have any symptoms of depression or mania, or you suspect a loved one of needing to be assessed, see your doctor or mental health professional. Bipolar disorder doesn’t get better; you don’t ‘outgrow it’, and it is a lifelong condition. Getting the correct diagnosis and treatment from a mental health professional with experience in bipolar disorder can help get the disorder under control allowing the person to live a healthy normal life.

When To Get Emergency Help

Suicidal thoughts and behaviour are common among people with bipolar disorder, and while in a depressive state, sadly, some will attempt suicide. Therefore, it is vital that everyone knows how to perform CPR. 

Basic First Aid skills will allow you to control bleeding and manage the patient correctly until help arrives. If you have a loved one in danger of committing suicide or has made a suicide attempt, make sure someone stays with that person.

Call 000 or your local emergency number immediately and carry out The DRSABCD protocols. If they are only threatening to harm themselves or others if you believe you can do so safely and with cooperation, take the person to the nearest GP or hospital emergency room and seek immediate clinical assessment and treatment.

Interested In Learning More About First Aid

Visit our FACE website and discover the right course, the right delivery system, and the nearest location perfect for your busy schedule. Explore our FACE Blog page if you need a little motivation or inspiration. Take our FACE First Aid Quiz and discover how much First Aid you do and don’t know and where you might need some further education

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