Why Have I Been Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder ?
Please read this article fully. It explains the complex condition in clear terms. Only some of it may apply to you. For others, it will be spot on. Eric Groh is an Atlanta counselor who has helped hundreds of Bipolar Disorder individuals greatly improve their lives through psychotherapy.
Why the word, ” Bipolar “?
Bipolar describes the ups and downs of our mood. Ups and downs are normal. We aren’t in a good mood all of the time. We aren’t in a bad mood all of the time. That’s not how our brains operate. It is normal to feel excited. Sometimes we feel sad. Life would be boring if our mood were the same all of the time. There is Bipolar Type 1 and 2. Type 1 is much more rare. It tends to be more chronic and severe. Some believe the two disorders are only loosely related. At least 90% of those diagnosed are Type 2.
Watch the video above. Then return to continue reading.
Healthy Fluctuations in Mood versus …
The video begins with gentle waves. Interpret them as pleasant mood changes. The waves intensify with splashes of color. The colors represent ecstasy and excitement. Sadness and mourning. A normal range of emotion.
Type 2 Bipolar symptoms are often “triggered”. Panic Attacks. Memories replaying like a video. Nightmares. Rage episodes. Isolation. Dark places that feel like a cloud hanging over us. Agitation. Irritability. Negative reactions to relationship events. Disorientation.
… Bipolar is Deep Highs and Deep Lows
But notice what occurs at the midpoint of the video. There are bursts and eruptions that result in a deepening of the waves. They waves become erratic and violent. These are the distressing mood swings of Bipolar Disorder.
Bipolar Type 1 and What Causes Mood Swings
With Type 1, sometimes nothing. They might be random due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. The person is usually prescribed medications to keep their mood steady. A full manic episode ( the older name ” manic depression ” ) includes symptoms of: (National Institute of Mental Health)
Thoughts crashing into each other.
Being unusually distracted.
Increasing activities, such as taking on multiple new projects.
Irritability or agitation.
Sleeping little or not being tired.
Having an outrageous beliefs in one’s abilities.
High risk health behavior.
When most severe, one may believe they are a prophet or great figure in history. It is even obvious to family they have severe problems. Sadly it can result in forced hospitalization. It is most effectively treated with medications to keep your mood level.
Bipolar Type 2: Milder Mood Swings With Often Identifiable Causes
People who have deep mood swings but have never had a
full manic episode are often categorized Bipolar Type 2.
In some ways, it is a catch-all category. A diagnosis for everyone who does not meet criteria for Bipolar Type 1. While not applicable to all, the following is relevant for many.
Many individuals experiencing adverse experiences in childhood have been previously diagnosed Bipolar Type 2.
A staggering number of adults who have survived sexual trauma in childhood are also diagnosed Bipolar 2. Many studies say at least twice the rate of non-trauma survivors. Therefore, many survivors have dramatic mood swings. If an adult survivor of molestation comes to me already diagnosed by a medical doctor, about 70% are Bipolar Type 2.
Sorting Out Type 1 and Type 2
There are subtle but important differences. Symptoms may appear the same, but have different processes.With Bipolar 2, the mood swings are often not random as in Type 1. Rather, they can be triggered by stress. Panic Attacks. Flashbacks. Nightmares. Rage episodes. Isolation. Agitation. Irritability. Negative reactions to relationship events. Disorientation.