Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Bipolar Disorder

Frequently Asked Questions About Bipolar Disorder

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  • If you’ve been experiencing any of the unusual mood and behavioral changes mentioned, then there’s a chance that you may have bipolar disorder
  • Bipolar disorder is considered a serious mental health illness. It’s categorized under the mood or affective disorders, since it causes extreme mood swings
  • If you’re looking for a safe way to manage bipolar disorder, then you should adopt healthy lifestyle habits and eat nutritious, organic foods

Q: How do I know if I have bipolar disorder?

A: Bipolar disorder is characterized by dramatic and unpredictable mood swings. In order to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you must experience at least one episode of depression and one episode of mania or hypomania. During a depressive episode, you may experience five or more of the following symptoms:

Extreme feelings of sadness, emptiness or guilt

Loss of interest in activities or things that you once enjoyed

Poor concentration

Lack of appetite and weight loss

Loss of energy or fatigue

Meanwhile, a manic or hypomanic episode is diagnosed if you encounter three or more of these symptoms:

Significantly increased activity levels

Agitation

Euphoria

Decreased need for sleep

Poor concentration

If you've been experiencing any of the unusual mood and behavioral changes mentioned above, then there's a chance that you have bipolar disorder. To get a proper diagnosis, consult a mental health professional as soon as you can.1,2

Q: Is bipolar disorder hereditary?

A: Scientific evidence suggest that bipolar disorder is a heritable condition, which explains why around two-thirds of sufferers have a first-degree relative who's also diagnosed with this mental health problem.3 It's important to note, though, that having a first-degree relative with bipolar disorder doesn't mean that you're bound to have this illness. Genetic predisposition simply increases your chance of developing it.4,5

Q: How do you get bipolar disorder?

A: Researchers are still unsure of what exactly causes bipolar disorder. However, they do agree that there is no single cause behind this condition, and it's likely caused by a combination of risk factors. Your chances of developing bipolar disorder may increase if you have a close relative who's diagnosed with this condition.

Imbalances of the brain chemicals may also pay a role in its onset, since it's linked to low serotonin levels and abnormal dopamine signaling. The social and environmental factors that may trigger its onset include emotional and physical stress, illness, trauma and abuse.6

Q: Is bipolar disorder a mental illness?

A: Bipolar disorder is considered a serious mental health illness. It's categorized under the mood or affective disorders, since it causes extreme mood swings. Other mental illnesses that are classified under this category include depression and mania.7

Q: Is bipolar disorder a disability?

A: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that a mental impairment is considered a disability if it substantially limits a person's capacity to perform one or more major life activities. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the nature of bipolar disorder qualifies it as a disability under the ADA since it may hinder activities and normal brain function.8

Q: Is there a cure for bipolar disorder?

A: There is no cure that can get rid of bipolar disorder for good. However, it's an entirely manageable condition with the help of the right treatment plan.9

Q: How do you treat bipolar disorder?

A: Conventional treatment for bipolar disorder is through pharmaceutical drugs. There are three types of medications prescribed for this illness: mood stabilizers, antipsychotics and antidepressants. You should keep in mind, though, that these medications are not completely effective and may also cause some serious side effects.10

If you're looking for a safe way to manage bipolar disorder, then you should adopt healthy lifestyle habits and eat nutritious, organic foods. You should also consider taking nutritional supplements that may help improve your brain function and mental health, such as krill oil, S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e), 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), choline and folate.11

Q: How is bipolar disorder diagnosed?

A: Bipolar disorder is diagnosed though psychiatric assessment, wherein a mental health professional will ask you about the frequency, severity and duration of your mood episodes. Your family's medical history may also be checked to see if genetic factors play a role in your condition.

There is no medical test that can identify bipolar disorder. However, your doctor may ask you to undergo a thyroid function test, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam and computed tomography (CT) scan to rule out the other possible causes of your mood swings.12,13

MORE ABOUT BIPOLAR DISORDER

Bipolar Disorder: An Introduction

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder in Children

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

Bipolar Disorder Causes

Bipolar Disorder Types

Bipolar Disorder Test

Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Bipolar Disorder Prevention

Living with Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder Diet

Bipolar Disorder FAQ

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