10 Signs It’s Time to Seek More Intensive Treatment for Your Bipolar Disorder
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10 Signs It’s Time to Seek More Intensive Treatment for Your Bipolar Disorder

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Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that affects your moods and activity level. Doctors diagnose people of all ages with bipolar disorder. However, the average age of a person developing bipolar disorder is 25 years old. Bipolar disorder affects around 2.8% of the U.S. population, and around 83% of those cases are considered severe bipolar disorder. 

Not treating this condition can be dangerous. It can get worse without help. However, common types of help, like outpatient therapy, may not always provide the structure and intensive support you need. This makes it crucial to recognize the signs that you may need a more structured or intensive level of care for bipolar disorder. 

Understanding the symptoms of bipolar disorder

It’s essential to understand the symptoms of bipolar depression to know when treatment may be necessary. It has several different mood states:

  • Mania — Mania is characterized by emotional highs, including feeling euphoric or invincible. While in a manic episode, a person may partake in risky behaviors and have trouble sleeping. These episodes can lead to difficulty maintaining relationships and impulsive decision-making. Mania episodes impair a person’s ability to perform activities that are necessary for daily living, which is also known as functional ability. 
  • Hypomania — Hypomania is similar to mania, but it’s generally less severe and doesn’t always impair a person’s functional ability. You may have increased energy and productivity. While hypomania is considered less intense than mania, it can still impact an individual’s daily functioning and interpersonal relationships. Hypomanic episodes can lead a person to engage in impulsive behaviors and experience lowered inhibitions and increased libido. These episodes have the potential to cause negative effects on an individual’s life as well as their close relationships.
  • Depression — Depression involves persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness and even a lack of interest in activities you usually enjoy. Episodes of depression can significantly impact work, social relationships, and self-image.

Symptoms of a manic or hypomanic episode may include:

  • Increased energy levels
  • Heightened sense of self-importance
  • Racing thoughts
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Feeling like you don’t need sleep
  • Talkativeness
  • Difficulty concentrating

Symptoms of a major depressive episode may include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness or emptiness
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Changes in sleep
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

It’s important to seek help from health care providers if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder. Early intervention and treatment can have a huge difference in the outcome and quality of life for those living with bipolar disorder. 

Types of bipolar disorder

There are several types of bipolar disorder, including:

  • Bipolar 1 disorder — Bipolar 1 disorder can feel like you’re riding on a roller coaster of overwhelming symptoms. You can experience intense manic episodes that last for at least a week. Then, you may shift back to feeling low with depressive episodes. That’s not always the case for people with bipolar 2.
  • Bipolar 2 disorder — Bipolar 2 can be similar to Bipolar 1 disorder but slightly differs. You’ll still experience highs and lows, but generally, these are less severe and not as intense as bipolar 1. You’ll be more likely to experience hypomania. 
  • Cyclothymic disorder — This is mild compared to bipolar 1 and bipolar 2. With this disorder, you’ll have milder shifts between hypomania and mild depression. These shifts aren’t as intensive, but can still affect your day-to-day quality of life. 
  • Other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorders — Your mood fluctuations may not fit neatly into the three most common types of bipolar disorder. That’s where this catchall description comes in. It recognizes that your emotional roller coaster is unique, but still brings notice that you’re going through things, and we’re here to help. 

What are risk factors of bipolar disorder?

Currently, there’s no known single indicator of what can cause bipolar disorder. However, these combination of factors are believed to lead to the disorder:

  • Family history
  • Brain structure and function
  • Traumatic experience
  • Chronic stress
  • Hormonal changes
  • Substance abuse
  • Medical conditions
  • Medication side effects

10 signs a more intensive level of treatment is needed

For all types of bipolar disorder, it’s important to get help from a healthcare professional. Leaving any type of bipolar disorder untreated can make it worse. It’s non-curable, but the symptoms of bipolar disorder can be effectively managed to help an individual with this disorder experience greater stability and long-term satisfaction with their lives.

Often, treatment for bipolar disorder often starts with outpatient therapy. However, some people with bipolar disorder may need a higher level of care. Some signs that may indicate you need a more structured or intensive level of care than outpatient therapy include:

  • You are experiencing major mood shifts from high to low and they are affecting your daily life and relationships.
  • You are noticing persistent and drastic changes in your sleeping habits, appetite or energy levels.
  • You are having a hard time concentrating or making decisions. 
  • You are noticing that bipolar symptoms are having an impact on your ability to live your life normally. 
  • You are taking up risky behaviors. 
  • You’re having a manic or depressive episode and it feels uncontrollable or overwhelming. 
  • You’re having thoughts of harming yourself or others. 
  • You can’t take care of yourself or keep yourself safe. 
  • You’re experiencing severe agitation, psychosis or hallucinations. 
  • You’re struggling with clearly communicating or are having a medical emergency that’s related to your bipolar symptoms. 

It can be difficult to admit or identify that you’re in the thick of struggling with a mental health issue like bipolar disorder. However, if you are worried about yourself or a loved one, it’s important to seek professional help quickly. Getting help can lead you or your loved one on the path toward improved quality of life. 

If you are struggling with bipolar disorder, Lightfully Behavioral Health can help

We understand the struggle of recognizing the symptoms of bipolar disorder in yourself or admit you need help. However, taking the first step to seek treatment can be your first step to a happier and healthier future. At Lightfully, our mission is to compassionately help our clients through our unique process-based therapy. We see more than your bipolar disorder diagnosis, and we use evidence-based key component approaches to design a holistic treatment to provide you with whole-person-centered care. Our clinically trained therapists can help you experience long-term, sustainable changes. 

Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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