Bipolar Affective Disorder: Definition
Bipolar disorder is a biological condition that has both physical and psychological features that affects one’s functioning. The physical features typically include impairments in sleep, energy, appetite, and concentration. A classic description in adulthood involves individuals that experience periods of depression (extremely sad or hopeless state) and periods of mania (overly joyful or overexcited state), either at different points in their life, or together in a mixed presentation. The psychological features typically include changes in thoughts, feelings and choice of actions. A constellation of events are related to an individual experiencing a bipolar affective disorder. There are more casual links for individuals including family genetics and abnormal brain chemicals. While the onset of features has been linked to stressful life events, seasonal changes, medical illnesses, medication impacts and even pregnancy.
- Symptoms of Mania
- A long period of feeling “high:, or an overly happy or outgoing mood
- Extremely irritable mood, agitation, feeling “jumpy” or “wired”
- Inflated sense of self or grandiosity
- Decreased need for sleep
- More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
- Racing thoughts
- Increase in goal directed activity or psychomotor agitation
- Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences
- Symptoms of Depression
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
- Marked diminished interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities most of the day nearly every day
- Changes in weight and appetite
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Psychomotor agitation (restlessness)
- Loss of energy
- Feeling of worthlessness
- Decreased concentration or indecisiveness
- Recurrent thoughts about death, suicidal ideation, or suicidal actions
Bipolar Disorder Treatment
Proper treatment of individuals with bipolar affective disorder helps them to gain better control of their mood swings and the associated secondary impacts on their thoughts, feelings and decision making. The cognitive-behavioural model of bipolar disorder is based on depression/mania producing changes in thinking and feeling, which produces changes in behaviour, which leads to decreased functioning, which leads to psychosocial problems, which leads to sleep disruption, stress and other symptoms, and if unsuccessfully treated leads right back to further episodes of depression and mania. Together we interrupt the cycle through a combination of individual therapy, education, life style changes, and as required medication.
At Stevenson, Waplak & Associates we assist people develop an understanding of their unique features of the disorder (e.g., their symptoms, monitor their mood, recognize their triggers), learn to how to develop a mood stabilizing approach to life (e.g., what makes features worst, how to add structure and routine, add positives to life, decrease negative in life) and assist with specific symptom reduction (e.g., changing activity levels, challenging disruptive thinking, learning affective regulation skills).
We are with you every step of the way.