Understanding Bipolar I Disorder
Understanding Bipolar I Disorder: Bipolar I Disorder is also known as manic-depressive disorder. People who are diagnosed with Bipolar I disorder go through periods of extreme high and low mood. The high moods are referred to as mania and the severe lows are referred to as depression.
This disorder is much less common as compared to Major Depressive Disorder (MDD; The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, n.d., p. 2). Fluctuations in mood is a part of life. However, it is important to note that when these fluctuations become severe and start disrupting your everyday life.
Some of the symptoms of manic episodes include:
- Jumping from one thought to another thought
- Loud and/or rapid speech
- Increase in energy
- A decreased need for sleep
- Inflated self-image
- Excessive spending
- Impulsive expenditures
- Substance abuse
Some of the symptoms of depressive episodes include:• Low mood
- Loss in appetite
- Decreased energy
Diagnostic Criteria for Manic Episode
For a diagnosis of bipolar I disorder, it is necessary to meet the following criteria for a manic episode. The manic episode may have been preceded by and may be followed by hypomanic or major depressive episodes (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
A. A distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood and abnormally and persistently increased activity or energy, lasting at least 1 week and present most of the day, nearly every day (or any duration if hospitalization is necessary).
B. During the period of mood disturbance and increased energy or activity, three (or more) of the following symptoms (four if the mood is only irritable) are present to a significant degree and represent a noticeable change from usual behavior:
- Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity.
- Decreased need for sleep (e.g., feels rested after only 3 hours of sleep).
- More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking.
- Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing.
- Distractibility (i.e., attention too easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli), as reported or observed.
- Increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work or school, or sexually) or psychomotor agitation (i.e., purposeless non-goal-directed activity).
- Excessive involvement in activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., engaging in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments).
C. The mood disturbance is sufficiently severe to cause marked impairment in social or occupational functioning or to necessitate hospitalization to prevent harm to self or others, or there are psychotic features.
D. The episode is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication, other treatment) or to another medical condition.
Note: A full manic episode that emerges during antidepressant treatment (e.g., medication, electroconvulsive therapy) but persists at a fully syndromal level beyond the physiological effect of that treatment is sufficient evidence for a manic episode and, therefore, a bipolar I diagnosis.
Note: Criteria A–D constitute a manic episode. At least one lifetime manic episode is required for the diagnosis of bipolar I disorder.
Diagnostic Criteria for Bipolar I Disorder
The following criteria is used to diagnose Bipolar I Disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
A. Criteria have been met for at least one manic episode (Criteria A–D under “Manic Episode” above).
B. The occurrence of the manic and major depressive episode(s) is not better explained by schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder, delusional disorder, or other specified or unspecified schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorder.
Common Treatments for Bipolar I Disorder in Pakistan
Medication is one of the most important features of treatment of bipolar disorder. Mood stabilizers can help in minimization of mood fluctuations.
Therapy is equally important while dealing with bipolar disorder as it can trigger other significant problems in one’s life. Therapy can help one deal with everyday stress, cope with any difficult feelings, manage relationships, etc.
Becoming aware of the symptoms and issues associated with the disorder can help one better understand their condition and make them feel like they have more control rather than feeling confused and helpless.
When to Seek Help?
If you feel like you have any of the mentioned symptoms, do not hesitate to contact a professional to learn more about how you are feeling and what can be done to overcome it. If you would like to speak to a professional, you can book an appointment or an online session with Hero Health Care. That’s all from blog “Understanding Bipolar I Disorder”.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5). American Psychiatric Publications.