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Posted on 25th of January, 2013
152 notes

Tags: bipolar disorder, bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothemia,

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder used to be called Manic-Depressive Disorder because it was characterized by manic episodes paired with depressive episodes. Manic episodes may last from days to months. Symptoms include distraction, difficulty sleeping, poor judgment, poor temperature control, reckless behavior, high self-esteem, increased talking, racing thoughts, increased energy, involved in activities, and irritation. Those with bipolar disorder have periods of time where they have manic episodes, periods of time where they have depressive episodes which are similar in symptoms to other forms of depression, as well as having stable periods of time. There are different kinds of Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar I involves having at least one manic episode and periods of major/clinical depression. Bipolar II involves hypomania (periods of high energy or recklessness that don’t make it to a full manic episode), and periods of major/clinical depression. Cyclomania involves less severe mood swings. They usually have hypomania and mild depression. Many people with bipolar II disorder or Cyclomania are wrongly diagnosed with depression. In fact, due to some overlapping in symptoms many people are considering changing around criteria in the DSM V because it is thought that some forms of depression are more closely related to bipolar disorder which could change treatment. For those that don’t know the DSM is the diagnostic manual that many therapists, psychiatrists, and psychologists use to diagnose people with certain illnesses. It is currently going through its fifth revision and reprint. As stated before, many forms of bipolar disorder are mistaken as depression and treated with antidepressants, this usually has disastrous results as antidepressants tend to make manic episodes worse. Bipolar is difficult to treat, and many people with bipolar disorder tend to avoid treatment. When it’s not treated there is a higher rate of suicide than other forms of mental illness, including depression. It is usually treated with a combination of medication, education about bipolar disorder, and therapy. Medications include lithium or other mood stabilizers, antiseizure drugs, antipsychotics, and in some cases electroshock therapy.

Bipolar disorder can really put a strain on relationships. Many times people with bipolar disorder don’t recognize their own symptoms which is why education can play a big role in treatment. It’s also important to note that during their manic phases they tend to be over sexual and sexualized and because of their impulsive behavior do things they may regret when out of their manic phase. It’s important if you are in a relationship with someone with bipolar disorder that you really make sure they want sex and it’s not the manic episode talking. Then they can go into a depressive episode that usually comes with a low libido. This can make it difficult to figure out when sex is wanted. It’s very important to work with your partner and together figure out a way to communicate better. Figure out when sex will be enjoyed by both parties. Support your partner through all of their mood changes. Many people with bipolar disorder tend to think that they are more fun or interesting when they’re in their manic phases but remind them that you find them amazing, attractive, and lovable in all stages. It’s important to work at recognizing your partner’s mood and learning what works best to keep misunderstandings from happening. It’s important for those with bipolar disorder to remember that your thoughts are sometimes a product of your illness. Work on figuring out when your thinking is distorted. Hint: when you feel worthless those automatic thoughts telling you you’re worthless are wrong. It’s important to remember that you are loved and to continue working on communicating and building intimacy with your partner and don’t try to isolate yourself. Many medications for bipolar disorder can kill your sex drive. It’s important to talk to your partner about this and to work through this by spending time being intimate with your partner. Just hang out together, cuddle, and talk. If you’re not feeling up to sex that’s fine, but don’t isolate yourself from your partner and make sure you have a partner that accepts it when you don’t want sex. The main thing is to not get down on yourself, and communicate. Don’t jump to conclusions about how either of you are feeling. Learn how to work through the moods together and support each other. It’s important to find a balance.

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