Bipolar Disorder

Misunderstood Mental Health

From time-to-time, mainstream media gleefully manipulates popular perception when they persevere on a celebrity whose public behavior is out of character. If a recognizable person goes into a “tailspin”, their behavior becomes fodder for every tabloid and celebrity news source in the U.S. Reporters gleefully vilify an incident that isn’t a celebrity seeking notoriety – after all, wasn’t it Hollywood that created the phrase all press is good press? Instead, mass media exploits a person who needs medical care. Celebrities with bipolar disorder, for example, have been disparaged and derided when what they really needed was treatment.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Recognition of bipolar disorder has become more widespread, but it’s still difficult for those who don’t experience it to understand what it is. Adding to its complexity, there are different kinds of bipolar disorder, including bipolar 1 and bipolar 2. Although there are additional variations of bipolar disorder, this blog will focus on the symptoms of bipolar 1 and 2 because those iterations of it are the most commonly diagnosed.

About 5.7 million American adults experience bipolar disorder each year. Symptoms include extreme mood swings: very high highs (mania) sometimes followed by very low lows (depression). Bipolar disorder was formerly called manic-depressive illness. Mood swings and having good and/or bad days are part of the human condition, but those experiencing bipolar disorder experience severe fluctuations in mood that detrimentally impact their lives.

Bipolar 1 vs. Bipolar 2

A diagnosis of bipolar disorder requires a person to have experienced one manic episode. Manic behavior can look like:

  • Euphoria
  • Wild, erratic mood
  • Excessive behavior in spending, sex, recreational drugs, or anything that might be self-destructive
  • Needing little sleep
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Denial that anything is wrong with one’s behavior

This manic episode can, but doesn’t have to be, followed by a depressive episode. In a depressive episode, an individual might experience:

  • Extreme fatigue and listlessness
  • Excessive sleep
  • Being easily irritated
  • Have repeated thoughts of suicide or death
  • Loss of interest in usual activities or relationships

The difference between a bipolar 1 and bipolar 2 diagnosis is the level of mania experienced. Those with bipolar 1 will experience a full-blown manic episode while those with a bipolar 2 diagnosis will experience hypomania. Although the extreme “high” behavior is noticeable to others around you, it is less extreme than full-blown manic behavior and likely won’t require hospitalization.

Bipolar Disorder or Something Else?

There are overlapping symptoms between bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, but BPD has additional symptoms that may include:

  • A deep need to avoid abandonment
  • Paranoia
  • Impulsivity and self-destructive tendencies
  • Intense relationships
  • Rapidly cycling moods

Proper treatment requires a correct diagnosis. It’s imperative that anyone experiencing the symptoms outlined above seek a qualified, highly trained medical professional for treatment and support.

Meisel NP Psychiatry

For those in the tri-state area, Jason Meisel, NP, and Stephanie Owusu, PMHNP, provide medical treatment and support in a safe space that is affirming of the LGBTQIA+ community. Meisel NP Psychiatry is located in the Park Slope area of Brooklyn, NY. Treatment is also available for those in New York state, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

For the treatment of bipolar disorder, we may recommend medication, therapy, or a combination of treatments. Contact us at 740-777-6184 or to help you navigate your challenges and, ultimately, thrive.

Disclaimer: The information contained here was not written by a medical doctor and is intended for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for medical advice.

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