What is bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder signs and symptoms.

Bipolar disorder signs and symptoms.

Bipolar disorder, also known as Manic-depressive disorder, is characterized periods of elevated moods and periods of depression. People with bipolar disorder experience typical bipolar disorder signs and symptoms such as: heavy mood swings, huge changes in energy level, activity level, and experience difficulty carrying out daily tasks. Mood shifts occur in a range of a few times a day to a few times a year. Because of the bipolar disorders signs it may be difficult to maintain relationships, keep jobs for longer periods of time. Some bipolars even commit suicide, because they suffer too much from the bipolar disorder signs and symptoms.

However, bipolar disorder is treatable and with the right type of counseling the severity of the symptoms can be reduced and a healthy and normal life can be maintained.

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At Barends Psychology Practice, we offer counseling for bipolar disorder. Schedule a first, free of charge, session now, go to: contact us. (Depending on your health insurance, treatment may be reimbursed).


Bipolar disorder terminology.

Mania – The elevated mood is called a Mania, or hypomania (depending on the severity). The bipolar disorder signs and symptoms during mania make people feel euphoric, full of energy and sometimes irritable. They are impulsive in their decisions (don’t think of the consequences) and sleep little.

Periods of depression – The bipolar disorder signs and symptoms during periods of depression are characterized by feelings of sadness, anxiety, guilt, hopelessness and isolation. People often loss interest in activities they like, report changes in sleep and appetite, loneliness, and feel indifferent.

Mixed affective episodes – During such episodes people experience Mania and Depression at the same time. During such periods there is an increased risk of suicide, because depressive emotions are often accompanied by impulsiveness.
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Bipolar disorder is in most cases controllable with the right medication and therapy.

Bipolar types: I, II and cyclothymia.

There are three types of Bipolar disorder: type I, type II, and cyclothymia.

Bipolar Type I is characterized by at least one full-blown manic episode lasting at least one week. The bipolar disorder signs and symptoms are severe enough to disrupt the patients ability to work and function socialize. Hospitalization sometimes in required to prevent harm to themselves or others.

Bipolar Type II is less severe than type I. Although you can have an elevated mood and changes in your functioning, you are able to carry out daily tasks. People with type II experience longer depressive episodes than manic episodes.

Cyclothymia is a less severe type of bipolar disorder than Type I and Type II. Cyclothymia is characterized by short manic and depressive episodes (too short to meet the criteria for major affective syndromes like bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder.

Bipolar disorder signs and symptoms.

Bipolar disorder symptoms

Bipolar disorder causes.

Researchers don’t know what the exact cause of Bipolar disorder is, but there are several factors that seem to be involved in causing and triggering it:

  • Neurotransmitters – An imbalance in neurotransmitters in the brain may cause or trigger Bipolar disorder. Read more about neurotransmitters at depression causes.
  • Genetic factors – Half of the people with bipolar disorder have one family member with bipolar as well. When one of your parents have bipolar, then chances range from 15-25% that you will have the condition too. Researchers are trying to find the genes involved in causing bipolar.
  • Hormones – An imbalance in hormones may trigger or cause bipolar.
  • Biological differences – People with Bipolar disorder have physical changes in their brains, but it is still unclear what its significance means.
  • Environmental factors – stress and traumatic life events can trigger or cause bipolar disorder.

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Bipolar disorder treatment.

Bipolar disorder requires a life long treatment. Usually treatment includes medication, individual and group therapy sessions and education.
Often people with Bipolar disorder stop taking their medication when they feel better, but this often causes a lot more problems.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the common form of individual therapy. The goal of CBT treatment of bipolar disorder is to replace unhealthy, negative beliefs and behaviours with more healthy, positive beliefs and behaviours. Stress management is another focus of CBT. At Barends Psychology Practice, we offer online counseling using CBT for bipolar disorder to reduce the bipolar disorder signs and symptoms.

Bipolar disorder Facts and numbers.

  • Bipolar disorder develops in as many men as women. It is equally common in all ages, social classes, ethnic groups and races.
  • On average the onset of bipolar disorder is 25, but has a range from childhood to 50 year olds.
  • Bipolar disorder is the 6th leading cause of disability in the world (World Health Organization).
  • A meta analysis of Tondo et al. (1998) shows that 3 times as many women as men experience rapid cycling. Also only 29,6% of the bipolar women and only 16,5% of the bipolar men who were included in the meta analysis experienced rapid cycling. The data was rather inconsistent, so further research is needed.
  • At least 25-50% of the people with Bipolar attempts suicide once.
  • 0,4-1,6% of the total population has Bipolar disorder at some time in their life (DSM-IV).


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