You have probably heard of the term “bipolar disorder.” Perhaps you know someone who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, or you think you may experience symptoms of bipolar disorder yourself. Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that was previously referred to as “manic depressive disorder.”
Types and Prevalence of Bipolar Disorder
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5) has classified five types of bipolar disorder, and 2.8% of adults in the United States have been diagnosed with some type of bipolar disorder. The five types of bipolar disorders listed in the DSM-5 are:
Bipolar disorder “other specified”
Bipolar disorder “unspecified”
It is important to note that the DSM-5 lists bipolar disorder other specified and bipolar disorder unspecified as two separate diagnoses. However, both conditions represent a diagnosis of bipolar disorder when a person does not meet the criteria for bipolar I, bipolar II, or cyclothymic disorder. You can learn more information about the differences between bipolar I and bipolar II here.
Differences and Commonalities
What makes bipolar disorder distinct from other mental health disorders is its unique symptoms, particularly changes in energy levels, activity levels, and mood. The mood changes can range significantly from periods of intense energy to periods of very low mood. Periods of high energy are referred to as “manic episodes,” and periods of low mood are referred to as “depressive episodes.” Each form of bipolar disorder encompasses these symptoms to some degree; however, distinct differences exist.
Presence of hypomanic and depressive symptoms lasting at least two years.
Symptoms present do not meet the criteria for hypomania and depressive episodes.
Bipolar disorder “other specific” and “unspecified” are used when the individual:
Doesn’t meet the criteria for bipolar I, bipolar II, or cyclothymic disorder.
Experiences periods of clinically substantial mood disruption and mood elevation.
Understanding the differences among the types of bipolar diagnosis can help you and your doctor develop an effective treatment plan based on your symptoms and needs. Treatment is tailored to your goals and symptoms. It’s important to remember that everyone responds to treatment differently, so one method may work for one person but not another.
Medication such as anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, and mood stabilizers.
Complementary therapies such as meditation, prayer, and exercise.
Bipolar disorder is treatable. If you experience symptoms of bipolar disorder, you are not alone. If you believe you may be experiencing bipolar disorder, talk to your primary care physician and discuss whether telehealth or in-person treatment is best for you. If you have thoughts of suicide, call the national suicide crisis number at 800-273-8255. If you are considering acting on your thoughts, please call 911 or go to your local emergency department to get the support you may need. Valera Health can help you on your personal journey to wellness. We offer psychiatric and therapeutic services through telemedicine for anxiety, depression, ADHD, and bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is a clinical diagnosis for a person who experiences significant changes in energy levels, mood, activity levels, and thought processes. Bipolar disorder has historically been called manic-depressive disorder. Five types of bipolar disorder that mental health professionals can diagnose are:
Bipolar disorder “other specific”
Bipolar disorder “unspecified.”
You can learn more about the differences between bipolar I and bipolar II disorder here.
Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
While each type of bipolar disorder has a unique set of symptoms, some commonalities exist. Each type of bipolar disorder is marked by extremely energetic symptoms, also known as manic symptoms, and low symptoms, also known as depression.
Having sleep problems (e.g., sleeping too much, or difficulty falling and staying asleep).
Experiencing increased appetite.
Feeling sad and hopeless.
Having little to no energy.
Thinking of death, including thoughts of suicide.
Having difficulty concentrating.
Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder
Only a mental health or medical professional can diagnose bipolar disorder. It is also important to examine other factors that can contribute to the symptoms of bipolar disorder, such as medical complications and substance use.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder can reflect symptoms of other mental health disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder, so it’s important to rule out other possible mental health diagnoses.
Drug and alcohol use can contribute to the development of some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder. For example, the use of hallucinogens such as methamphetamines can cause high energy, rapid speech, and delusions.
Underlying medical problems can influence the presence and development of symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Comprehensive testing for bipolar disorder includes a complete physical exam, medical tests to rule out any other illnesses, and a psychiatric evaluation by a mental health professional.
Bipolar disorder is treatable through interventions such as talk therapy, medication, and other complementary therapies. However, a proper diagnosis is needed to create an effective treatment plan.
If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder, you are not alone. In fact, 2.3 million Americans have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and researchers believe the number of people affected is even higher. Bipolar disorder can be managed, and the symptoms can be treated through medical interventions such as therapy and medication. Proper diagnosis is important so an effective treatment plan can be created for you. If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder, speak to your doctor about whether telehealth or in-person treatment is best for you. If you have thoughts of suicide, call the national suicide crisis number at 800-273-8255. If you are considering acting on your thoughts or have a plan for suicide, please call 911 or go to your local emergency department immediately.
Valera Health offers doctors and therapists through telemedicine that are available to help you navigate your personal journey to improved wellness.
Bipolar disorder is a diagnosable mental health disorder that affects many people. In fact, bipolar disorder has been diagnosed in more than 2 million adults in the United States, and researchers believe the number of Americans who have bipolar disorder is even higher. However, there are things we can do to help support those who experience bipolar disorder.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder characterized by intense mood changes, thought processes, and behaviors. The changes in mood can be intense and severe and include patterns of mania and patterns of depression. The 5 types of bipolar disorder are bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymic disorder, bipolar disorder “unspecified” and bipolar disorder “otherwise specified”. While there are differences among the types of bipolar disorder, they all encompass symptoms of both mania and depression.
Bipolar disorder can impact a person’s behavior and, oftentimes, the behaviors can present negatively. For example, excessive spending, drug and alcohol use, and difficulty adhering to work and personal responsibilities can all be symptoms of bipolar disorder. While difficult to experience and accept at times, these behaviors are not character flaws but are symptoms of a person’s mental health disorder. Work on recognizing that these behaviors are symptoms of an illness and not reflective of a person’s personality or intentions.
If you love someone or care for someone who has a mental illness such as bipolar disorder, be sure to take care of your own physical, mental, and spiritual needs. Engage in pleasurable activities, take breaks throughout your day, eat well, and get adequate rest. This can also include attending support groups and seeking therapy for yourself. You’ve heard the adage about taking care of yourself so that you can support and care for others; this is certainly true when helping someone experiencing mental illness.
When your loved one is in a healthy emotional place (not experiencing an episode of mania or depression), discuss the plan for a manic episode. This can look like creating a schedule, identifying healthy creative outlets for energy, and helping with finances and spending. You can start the conversation by asking the person “what would be helpful to you when you notice yourself experiencing symptoms of mania” or “what can I do to help you effectively manage your symptoms when you experience a manic episode?”.
Having a non-judgmental, listening ear can help your loved one feel supported and safe to discuss any symptoms. It may also help your loved one feel more comfortable asking for help or coming to you when symptoms of a manic or depressive episode begin to occur. It can be helpful to ask the person “How have you managed your symptoms of bipolar disorder so well?” or “What can I do to help you when you are experiencing symptoms?”.
Try to remember that your loved one experiences thoughts and emotions that feel real, even if they aren’t based on facts and reality. For example, disputing the thoughts of people with bipolar disorder and telling them to calm down when they are experiencing intense emotions can escalate symptoms. Instead, try to remain calm during these situations and recognize that their reality is true to them. A validating statement can look like “I see you are experiencing strong emotions right now and that’s okay” or “it makes sense why you think or feel that way”. This normalizes and validates their internal experience (thoughts and emotions).
If you believe you may be experiencing bipolar disorder, talk to your primary care physician and discuss whether telehealth or in-person treatment is best for you. If you have thoughts of suicide, call the national suicide crisis number at 800-273-8255. If you are considering acting on your thoughts, please call 911 or go to your local emergency department to get the support you may need. Medical and mental health professionals can help you manage these symptoms. Getting help can be as easy as contacting Valera Health. We provide psychiatric and mental health telemedicine services to help you pursue your personal journey toward wellness.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects an estimated 6.1 million youth in the United States, which equates to roughly 9.4% of this population. Of those teens and children, 64% have another mental health disorder, with anxiety, depression, and behavior problems being the most prevalent.
ADHD also affects 4.4% of adults. Many adults who have ADHD don’t know they have it because it went undetected earlier in their lives. If you’re an adult who suspects they may have ADHD, try reviewing and determining whether your symptoms impacted you during childhood and early adulthood, and may have followed you into the present.
Knowing how to spot signs and symptoms of ADHD can help you determine whether you may need professional treatment for this mental health disorder.
Consider getting help today if you think you have any of the following seven symptoms of ADHD.
1. Difficulty Concentrating and Paying Attention
People with ADHD often have difficulty concentrating and paying attention, which is also a common symptom of anxiety. In fact, nearly 50% of adults and 30% of children with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder.
You may have ADHD if you experience these symptoms all the time. If you only experience these symptoms at times you’re feeling anxious, you may have an anxiety disorder.
Fidgeting, difficulty sitting still, and excessive movement are all symptoms of hyperactivity. These symptoms may occur when a person with ADHD is engaging in tasks they feel are not interesting enough to keep their focus. Many mental health professionals now help people with ADHD to harness their fidgeting and hyperactivity to increase focus and productivity.
3. Difficulty With Communication
ADHD can make it difficult for people with this condition to communicate with others. They may interrupt others without meaning to or miss important details of a conversation. They may also forget what they were going to say or swerve into another area. Struggling with word choice, zoning out during talks, and short conversations are other signs of ADHD that are associated with communication difficulties.
4. Difficulty Completing Tasks That Require Focus
People with ADHD may try to delay or avoid performing tasks that require them to stay focused, such as listening to lectures or doing homework. Their inability to sit still and concentrate can become stressful and overwhelming, which can cause them to leave certain tasks incomplete.
5. Difficulty Being Patient
People with ADHD may experience difficulty when forced to wait their turn, such as when standing in line, speaking, or sitting in traffic. Being patient can often be uncomfortable for people with ADHD. They may need help to practice patience. It is often difficult for people with ADHD to relax and be patient.
Daydreaming tends to be more intense in people with ADHD given how the brain has difficulty transitioning from one task to another. People without ADHD can often easily stop daydreaming right away, while people with ADHD may have difficulty refocusing their attention.
7. Excessively Talking
Excessive talking in ADHD occurs on behalf of hyperactivity and impulsivity and is often difficult to control. People with ADHD often do not realize they have taken over conversations and may also talk a lot because they have difficulty focusing on what others are saying.
Getting Help For ADHD
If you think a loved one may have ADHD, see your pediatrician or family doctor right away for an evaluation. Your doctor may refer you to a psychiatrist or another mental health professional who can properly diagnose and treat the condition. Treatments for ADHD can help your loved one effectively manage their symptoms.
Could You Have ADHD? Signs It’s Time To See a Doctor
Valera Health provides tele-mental health care in the form of therapy and psychiatry services for those who suffer from mental health disorders including ADHD, depression, and bipolar disorder. Request a consultation with us today and get started on your personal journey to improved mental wellness.
The connection between your mind and body can’t be denied. The mind refers to the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and images that we experience. These things have an impact on your body’s physical state and well-being. You are physically affected (through body sensations and functioning) by what goes on in your mind. For example, your heart rate may increase when you experience feelings of anxiety when you have to make a speech in front of other people or when you do something for the first time.
How Does It Work?
How you think can directly affect how you feel physically, and how you feel physically can directly affect how you think and feel mentally. For example, if you have chronic back pain, you may be more vulnerable to feelings of irritability or frustration. In this instance, your body’s physical issues are affecting your feelings and thoughts.
Conversely, your thoughts and feelings can affect how you feel physically. For example, if you are constantly worrying and stressing about finances, your body responds through muscle aches and pains. It is helpful to think about your mind and body as being in constant communication with one another.
5 Ways the Mind and Body Are Connected
When you experience emotions, your brain sends signals to your body, and your body responds accordingly. Your body’s response to the brain’s signal is referred to as action urges. These urges can be unconscious, so you don’t necessarily think about how your body is responding. Also, when you experience problems with your physical body, your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are affected. Below are 5 ways your mind and body are connected.
Stress and the fight or flight response: When you experience the emotion of stress, your body engages in the fight or flight response. This feels like your heart may beat right out of your chest, you are breathing so fast you can’t catch your breath, and it is difficult to move because of your muscle aches. This physical response helps us defend ourselves and avoid danger.
Chronic pain and depression: Studies show that people who experience chronic pain are at risk for experiencing feelings of depression and sadness which can make it difficult to get out of bed, complete normal tasks, and feelings of hopelessness.
Anxiety and eating (overeating and undereating): When you experience the emotion of anxiety, your urge may be to use food as a source of comfort to help reduce your feelings of anxiety, which can cause you to eat even when you are full. Conversely, anxiety can cause an upset stomach and other gastrointestinal issues that may contribute to a reduction in appetite, which can lead you to undereat.
Anger and aggression:Anger is an emotion that exists to help protect you. Anger is part of your survival instincts, and it serves the purpose of protecting you when you are experiencing a threat to your safety. When you experience anger, the mind sends the body a message to prepare for fleeing or fighting by sending blood and other chemicals to your muscles. Clenching your fists and grinding your teeth are the body’s physical responses to the emotion of anger.
Experiencing more positive emotions can improve physical health:Studies show that people who experience more happiness and joy have healthier blood sugar levels, healthier weight, have lower blood pressure, and have a reduced risk of heart disease compared to people who experience more negative emotions (anger, sadness, anxiety, fear).
How to Use It to Your Advantage
Having an awareness of your body’s physical response to your emotions can help you engage in the opposite action. Opposite action is when you act opposite of your physical urge. For example, when you experience anger and notice yourself clenching your fists, open your hands with your palms facing up. This interrupts the mind-body connection and can help reduce the intensity of your anger and prevent you from reacting to your anger. When you are experiencing depression, your urge may be to withdraw or isolate. In this case, the opposite action would be to gently approach the situation you are trying to withdraw from. For example, if your urge is to avoid going to the family get-together, the opposite action would be to go to the event, at least for a short time. Surrounding yourself with loved ones can help improve your mood and even reduce feelings of depression.
Talk to your doctor about any physical problems you may be experiencing. If you are experiencing mood or mental health issues, Valera Health can help on your personal journey with mind and body wellness. Valera Health offers psychiatric and therapeutic services through telemedicine.