Bipolar and It’s Characteristics
The term bipolar is not a foreign term to many, but what it actually means to be bipolar is. Classically, bipolar disorder is defined as manic episodes for one to two weeks and then depressive episodes for one to two months. Even among psychiatrists, it is a very difficult disorder to diagnose.
Manic episodes are severely life altering. Patients will lose jobs or relationships during manic episodes. The mind is so hyper and so high strung it does anything it can to express itself. Patients with this disorder in the midst of a manic episode, can also become hyper sexual and lose relationships because of multiple partners – with that, STDS become an issue.
Life Characteristics of Someone with a Bipolar Disorder
Every person is unique and their disorder will manifest itself in various ways. That said, there are a few common life characteristics displayed by someone who is bipolar.
- Recklessly spends money and can wipe out their savings accounts.
- Drives across the country to meet up with people who they haven’t seen or met.
- Stays up all night cleaning or talking on the phone to loved ones and not show any signs of exhaustion at work the next day.
It’s one thing to list possible circumstances a person who is bipolar can find themselves in, it is another to actually live with this serious disorder. For those who are bipolar, it’s even more difficult. There is nothing easy about this brand of mental illness – it impacts every aspect of life, as well as those around them.
Treatments that Exist for Bipolar Disorders
Doctors use anti-seizure and mood-stabilization medicine to treat bipolar patients. When you suffer from this disorder, the brain is hyperactive and is treated as a seizure would be treated. The brain will not rest and thus, patients are acting out of the brain’s inability to stop.
When Do Bipolar Disorders Begin Showing Themselves?
Bipolar is a mental illness that starts rearing its head in either adolescence, when hormones hit, or during the middle-age years. While it can be a genetic disorder, there are cases where patients are diagnosed but have no previous family history with mental illness or specifically, a bipolar disorder.
Doctors are still learning about this disorder, but essentially it is mixed up nerve signals.
What Does Getting Help Look Like?
If a bipolar person is in a manic episode, they are destructive to everyone around them and can be put on a 72-hour hold. A hold refers to being placed in a treatment center and under 24/7 watch. Many diagnosed patients have been on a hold at some point in their life.
As a result of the destructive tendencies, it is extremely important for a bipolar person to get medications and to stay on them. Most bipolar patients do not want to stay on any type of medication because they “feel fine” and they “feel normal” and believe they are ready to be taken off their medication. This desire to not use medication comes from wanting to be normal. There is a subtle arrogance of, “I don’t need to be dependent upon medication.” Unfortunately, coming off medication when diagnosed with this disorder is never a good choice. Once they are off medication, they can’t control their manic disorders which could strike again at any time.
Your Role In Helping Someone with a Bipolar Disorder
If a patient refuses to take their medicine, they present an immediate danger to you and those around them. It is heart breaking to witness what they are going through. If you have to call the police, as difficult as it will be, call the police. If you have to put them on a hold, put them on a hold. If the person has to go out and be homeless because they refuse all help, you can keep your eye out for them, but there is only so much you can do.
Every person is on their own journey with their health. At Warner Family Practice, our goal is to try and educate each patient about their struggles and encourage them. It’s up to each patient to take their medication and see their doctor regularly. For a bipolar person, this becomes even more crucial.
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