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Crossing Over The Borderline: The Importance Of Proper Bipolar Diagnosis

1192 words - 5 pages

Whenever people think about medical conditions, it is very important to remember the differences between various diseases and disorders, even if they may at first seem similar. This is definitely the case with bipolar disorder and depression, and it is extremely important that those suffering from bipolar disorder know that there are differences, and the result of misdiagnosis or not receiving proper treatment can be extremely devastating. The impulsiveness and aggressiveness of bipolar disorder can lead to a higher risk of suicide than patients diagnosed with depression, according to major findings recorded with the US National Library of Medicine. With eight distinct differences in ...view middle of the document...

Bipolar II disorder involves recurring episodes of major depression and hypomania, a milder form of mania. Cyclothymia, a milder form of bipolar disorder, consists of mood swings; however, the highs and lows are not severe enough to be labeled as either mania or major depression. There are 8 unique symptoms that differentiate bipolar disorder from depression that include: exaggerated euphoria, insomnia, irritability, racing thoughts, thoughts of grandeur, rapid speech, increased hyperactivity and extremely poor judgment. Depression has 8 distinct symptoms as well that bipolar patients can also suffer from when in a low state including: sad mood, loss of energy or fatigue, appetite changes, diminished ability to concentrate, feelings of guilt or low self-esteem, loss of interest or pleasure in life, excessive or shallow sleeping and thoughts or attempts of suicide. Bipolar patients can also have a middle ground episode of experiencing both depression and mania which is called a “mixed state” that can be any combination of the sixteen symptoms listed.

Once proper diagnosis has been established, a comprehensive treatment plan for bipolar disorder is tried and tested to relieve the symptoms, restore the ability to function, fix the problems the disorder caused at home and at work, and greatly reduce the likelihood of reoccurrence. Medications are the most commonly used form of treatment which can help minimize the highs and lows of bipolar disorder and keep symptoms under control. Counseling and psychotherapy can teach an individual how to cope with difficult feelings, manage stress and regulate mood. Learning to manage day-to-day activities can help relieve stressors that can trigger manic episodes. Regular visits to a family doctor can aid in maintaining a healthier lifestyle including keeping weight under control, avoiding alcohol and drugs, starting on an exercise program and help to regulate a sleep schedule.
Bipolar disorder cannot be cured. Variations in mood are unpredictable and can sometimes be confused as either emerging from a bipolar phase or a response to treatment. Acceptance of the disorder, recognizing the symptoms and reaching out for help may not be the easiest pill to swallow for most bipolar patients; however, it can make all the difference in perspective and motivation. Participating in a support group enables a patient to share experiences and learn from others going through the same afflictions. The support of family and friends is extremely valuable, be very open and honest with them. Family members and friends who have not been educated about the disorder may interfere with the treatment, so disclosing true feelings and emotions...

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