Bipolar disorder is more than just a mood disorder; it’s a complex illness that manifests through several different symptoms. Each case of bipolar disorder can differ between people, making it more difficult to diagnose than other mental health illnesses.
There are many different types of bipolar related disorders. The most prevalent types of the disorder are bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymic disorder. Each type presents its own set of symptoms, but is generally characterized by some degree of mood swings.
With bipolar disorder, you may experience days when you feel invincible and fantastic. These periods of inflated mood can make you think you don’t need medical help, but bipolar disorder can be dangerous when left untreated.
Periods of intense depression can be very unhealthy and dangerous, but online therapy can provide the relief and assistance you need from the comfort of your home.
Bipolar I Disorder
Bipolar one is often referred to as manic-depressive disorder. To be diagnosed with bipolar I, you must have experienced at least one manic episode in your lifetime. This episode is characterized by periods of high energy and reckless or irregular behavior.
Like most things – what goes up, must come down; people suffering from bipolar I usually enter a deep depression after their manic episode. These episodes don’t necessarily happen immediately after one another, though, and many people who are bipolar can experience normal mental health between episodes.
If you’re not sure if you have bipolar I, here are the symptoms to look for:
Periods of mania, during which time you experience:
- Higher sex drive
- Self destructive behavior
- Heightened energy
- Racing thoughts
- Rapid speech
During a manic episode, you may become more frivolous with your money and not give a second thought to spending $500 on a designer handbag. These episodes can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, or even a few months.
Periods of depression, during which time you may experience:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Lack of energy and motivation
Depressive episodes can be especially dangerous because many experience an increase in suicidal or violent thoughts. If left untreated, depression can be deadly. Find an online therapist or counselor who can help you maintain your bipolar disorder and assist you through your episodes.
Bipolar II Disorder
Similar to bipolar I disorder, bipolar two is also characterized by fluctuations between high and low moods over time. The primary difference between type I and type II, though, is that type two individuals never experience a full-blown manic episode.
Instead, bipolar II sufferers experience from hypomanic episodes, and have to have experienced at least one hypomanic episode in their life. Rather than fluctuating between highs and lows, bipolar II is more commonly associated with periods of depression.
The symptoms of bipolar II disorder are:
- Hypomania or Racing thoughts
- Rambling or excessive talking
- Increased energy
- Increased sadness
- Feelings of guilt and shame
- Suicidal thoughts
- Decreased activity levels
Treatments are available to stabilize your mood, and therapy can help you handle living with bipolar II disorder. If you just can’t seem to make the time to see a counselor, several professionals can help you virtually. Online therapy offers comparable results to face-to-face counseling and is often more comfortable and convenient for the patient.
Compared to types I and II, cyclothymic disorder is a pretty mild mood disorder. Rather than experiencing full-blown episodes of mania or depression, you might feel more mild symptoms of the two extremes.
Mood swings typically don’t follow any pattern, meaning you don’t really know when you’re going to experience a high or low. Whereas with bipolar one or two you may regularly experience two months of mania or depression followed by periods of normal living, with cyclothymia, you might never experience a normal period between fluctuations.
Symptoms of cyclothymic disorder are more mild than other types of bipolar disorders. Depressive symptoms don’t actually meet the criteria for major depression, and manic symptoms never technically qualify for mania.
Bipolar disorder is very difficult to diagnose because of how unstable your mood can be. Many people who are bipolar stop seeking treatment when they enter a manic episode, because they feel so great they don’t think they need to see a doctor anymore.
If your moods are unusually unstable, or if you experience irregular mood swings that affect your daily life, it may be time to seek professional help. Counseling is the most effective way of treating bipolar disorder, and is usually coupled with some sort of mood stabilizer or psychoactive drug.
Counseling can be very costly, though, and can often interfere with your schedule. Maybe you can’t leave work to see the doctor, or maybe you don’t work often enough to afford mental health help; no matter your circumstance, online therapy offers effective counseling to help you live a normal life.
Besides the convenience, finding an online counselor for bipolar disorder is also more economical and you can meet with several professionals before committing to one primary specialist.
The Virtual Therapist Network has a wide range of professional online therapists who are trained and experienced in bipolar disorder and can provide you the online therapy you need in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
This article may be freely distributed in its entirety in any e-zine, newsletter, blog, or website as long as the website links remain intact, unchanged, and are included, in their entirety, with every reproduction.