2013 Bipolar Update
Facts About Bipolar Episodes
Bipolar disorder is characterized by euphoric highs and extreme lows, hence the term “bipolar.” When a person is struck with bipolar disorder, there can be little to no warning in between bipolar episodes making it harder to prepare for anything that happens as a consequence of the mania or depression.
Extremely severe cases can have mania or depressive episodes lasting days, weeks or even months which can lead to severe disruption in the quality of life of the patient and the family alike. Learning to handle bipolar episodes is one of the most crucial steps to allow the patient a slow but sure road to recovery.
From a medical perspective, bipolar episodes are defined as the progression of mania or depression through an alternating cycle with a larger sequence or incident. That means that the specific string of episodes, whether it’s a high or a low, together constitute the disorder. Medical journal breaks down bipolar episodes into four specific cases which each corresponding symptoms and diagnoses. These types are manic episodes, hypomanic episodes, major depressive episodes, and mixed episodes.
In manic episodes, the patient feels a sustained, abnormal or expansive sense of mood. Contrary to popular belief, a manic episode need not be a happy one; instead, it’s characterized by a generally excited, irritable or aggressive mood where a person is prone to react to any stimulus around him. Doctors recommend immediate hospitalization if a manic episode lasts more than a few days.
In contrast, the hypomanic type of bipolar episodes is a more subdued version of the manic episode and the original definition from medical literature eliminates the term “abnormal” but retains the sustained and expansive irritable mood. For it to be formally considered a hypomanic episode, it has to last at least four days.
In contrast, a major depressive episode is characterized by depression and a general loss of interest or pleasure. Of the types of bipolar episodes, a major depressive episode is typically the longest occurring and can easily last for months. Doctors prescribe hospitalization if a major depressive episode lasts in excess two weeks.
Finally, a mixed episode is a combination of a major depressive episode together with a manic episode with symptoms happening on a near daily basis and without letting up. This type of bipolar episode is the hardest to address because you are never too sure how to react to anything that the patient is saying. Extremely bad cases already carry a hallucination component at which point hospitalization is a must in order to keep the patient safe.
Patients with recurring bipolar episodes should seek the services of a qualified psychologist in order to implement a therapy regimen that can help reverse the effects of the disorder and facilitate complete recovery. Medication is also an essential component of the routine as well as making sure that every episode is attended to. Other concerns include stress management, proper diet and exercise, and mental stimulation to keep the brain as cognitively engaged as possible.
Bipolar disorder is a serious psychological condition that demands nothing but the utmost of attention. Early detection is your best chance at controlling bipolar episodes effectively so keep your doctor’s number at bay and always be on the lookout for the telltale signs of bipolar episodes in bipolar patients.
Though bipolar disorders and bipolar episodes can be lifetime problems, an individual can live a normal life by learning about their disorder and listening to professional advice on how to control it.
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