Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme changes in mood, that can last for several months at a time. The depression one feels with this disorder is similar to that of other types of depression. Manic episodes are the alternate mood, and are characterized by feelings of invincibility. People experiencing mania often stay up for days at a time, have excessive amounts of energy, may be hypersexual, and have a pronounced inability to focus. The period between episodes is not guaranteed to be symptom free, but certainly more regulated.
With bipolar II, one must have experienced an episode of major depression for at least two weeks and at least one hypomanic event. Bipolar II can be misdiagnosed as unipolar depression, as the mania is generally less pronounced than in bipolar I.
Individuals with depression or mania may have difficulty with concentration, thereby making gainful employment, self sufficiency, and the ability to financially care for oneself difficult to maintain.
Serotonin, a neurotransmitter whose lack contributes to depression and depressive episodes, is produced in the gastrointestinal system. A decrease in this chemical also contributes to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and other debilitating conditions.
Depression has been shown to promote osteoporosis based on noted links between mood disorder and bone density.
Mood disorders in general can contribute to poor self care in many areas, including eating properly, getting enough sleep, and maintaining positive, supportive relationships. If left unchecked, these behaviors make individuals highly sustepcible to developing a myriad of life altering, as well as life limiting diseases.
Meeting with a mental health specialist with whom you can confide in and trust, is often of great benefit. Psychotherapy can help tremendously, whether someone is enjoying a period of relative calm or an active episode. Medication is also a viable and effective treatment for many with depression or bipolar disorder.
When it is Time to Get Help