Bipolar was formally known as manic depression. Due to the increase in diagnosis, there is also an increase in awareness of the disorder. Bipolar disorder has been defined as a mental disorder that is classified as alternating mood periods of elation/ happiness and depression. The mood swings are described as depressive lows and manic highs. Society has brought mental illness specifically Bipolar Disorder to the surface and it is more accepted and no longer a disorder that is hidden by those who are silently suffering. We are now educated on this disorder allowing us to better understand those who have it, which results in a higher percentage of compliance to treatment and medications. Even though society has progressed, Bipolar Disorder still is misunderstood resulting in unnecessary social stigmas and myths.
Bipolar has been labeled as “not a true illness.” It is in fact just as much of an illness as those who suffer from diabetes or thyroid disorders. Patients who have bipolar may also need to be admitted for hospitalization and they also need to adhere to ongoing treatment and medication therapies.
Another myth that has been associated with bipolar is the person’s quality of life is poor and it may be hard to remain employed and build a career. While it is true there is no cure for Bipolar Disorder, there is still hope in recovery, those who are proactive in managing their illness through their schedule, sleep and healthy lifestyle habits can live a normal life and live out their dreams and aspirations, both professional and emotional. Keep on reading and discover more useful information on the bipolar disease.
Everyone Who is Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorders Suffers From Extreme Mood Swings
This is often untrue. The disorder can be discovered after years because in several people the mood swings are not as extreme and simply viewed as normal highs and lows of life. Some do not even have different moods, they could just suffer from one side of the spectrum, it is typical for most bipolar patients to suffer from depression rather than being manic. The manic phase of Bipolar does not always mean that the patient is happy, that is only part of the manic phase, they can actually be very irritable, on edge and downright frightened because they are losing control of their thoughts and actions. A manic phase can result in extreme spending, abuse of drugs or alcohol, unhealthy increased sex drive resulting in poor sleep, increased unhealthy energy that disrupts normal life patterns.
There are actually several different types of bipolar including:
- Bipolar I (extreme manic episodes and depressive episodes)
- Bipolar II (hypomania, a reduced form of mania, and intense depressive episodes)
- Cyclothymia (multiple hypomanic episodes and mild episodes of depression)
- Bipolar Disorder (an “umbrella” term that does not follow a particular pattern, most common when we think of those who suffer from Bipolar)
Bipolar Is Not a Rare Disorder
The diagnosis is on the rise especially in teens and children. Experts out of Columbia University have done statistical research on the number of doctors office visits for those with bipolar; it has nearly doubled in the past 20 years for adults and increased almost four times for children and teens. There was a time that bipolar could not be diagnosed until after age 18, but with strong behavior patterns and medical attention the diagnosis can be done earlier to start a treatment plan with children and teens. 5.7 million American adults are affected by Bipolar.
In 2008 there was a saliva test that was developed to test for bipolar. The test looked for a genetic mutation, but later scientist found it to be inaccurate. Doctors who keep detailed records on patient history, behavior, and family history of bipolar over a long period of time do a true diagnosis.
Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
There is some controversy about taking anti depressants for those diagnosed with bipolar because some experts have said that it could throw a patient into a manic episode. Anti-depressants may be beneficial depending on the type of bipolar one is suffering from.
Other lifestyle strategies that have shown to be beneficial to all bipolar patients in taking care of their health include:
Setting a Regular Sleep Schedule
When we are sleep deprived it can shift our hormones and possibly exacerbate symptoms of bipolar disorder, specifically manic episodes. Going to bed at the same time each evening will help prevent those episodes while keeping the body healthy. Our best sleep window opportunity is 7-8 hours between the hours of 10:pm- 6:00am, this in conjunction with the natural light and body rhythm. Staying up far past 12:00am can wreck havoc on your hormones causing inflammation and insulin fluctuations.
Regular Exercise Also Keeps Mood and Hormones Stable
This can help prevent depression. Trying to get in ten thousand steps in per day, along with regular strength training and a mind and body format such as Pilates and Yoga will be beneficial. Adhering to a workout schedule will help reduce feeling overwhelmed with daily task.
Therapist can keep records and encourage bipolar patients to keep records of how they feel before they have manic depression episodes. If they recognize a pattern and behavior they can promptly see medical help and treatment. Behaviors may include waking up early, increased irritability, etc.
Eat a Balanced Nutritious Diet
Nutrition helps with weight management, which will help patients feel in control and proud of themselves for staying healthy, therefore reducing some causes of depression.
A Balanced Nutrition Plan Should Include
Heart healthy fats from approved oils, nuts, seeds, nut butters, avocado, coconut, etc. at most meals and snacks. Healthy fats keep the brain nourished, increase our ability to focus and concentrate while also keeping us satisfied.
Consume 9-11 servings of non starchy vegetables and some fruits per day, a 3:1 ratio of vegetables to fruit is best, reducing sugar consumption while increasing overall fiber. Ensuring that the patients are getting adequate nutrients from high fiber low glycemic plant based foods will reduce insulin fluctuations and opiate receptor stimulation, reducing cravings for junk foods including processed fours and sugars.
High quality protein should also be consumed at most meals, coming from eggs, fish, poultry or meat. Protein has essential amino acids that maintain muscle mass while keeping us satisfied and full throughout the day reducing cravings for junk foods, while maintaining hormone balance.
Moderate portions of unprocessed complex carbohydrates should be consumed, coming from steel cut oats, beans, quinoa, long grain rice or sweet potatoes. Avoid carbohydrates with starchy processed flours like pastries or mainstream breads. This will also help the patient to feel full and keep fiber intake at optimal level daily. A portion size is typically one half cup cooked, keep the portions moderate at each meal to prevent a spike in insulin. Carbohydrates are best to be consumed around exercise times, this is when we metabolize the starches best.
Hydration aims to consume at least half of your body weight in ounces of drink plenty of water per day. Avoid artificially sweetened drinks or even sugary sports drinks, the chemicals from these drinks do more harm then good from the hydration. If you must have flavor your water use fresh fruit, vegetables or herbs like lemons, limes, cucumbers, mint, basil or berries. Research has shown hydroxide rich water helps reduce inflammation and acidity in the body. When the body is more alkaline (has less acid) it functions at its best, reducing triggers for bipolar episodes and it is able to withstand the pressures from the outside. The immune system is stronger and the body is able to recover more quickly. Consuming hydroxide water is beneficial for all patients.
There are many myths associated with a bipolar diagnosis. The best treatment is to remain faithful to your therapy and healthy lifestyle behaviors related to sleep, nutrition, activity and mental health therapy sessions. And, remember, the bipolar disease can be kept under control, as long as you take the necessary measures and get help.