Bipolar disorder is a very confusing ailment that according to the National Institute of Mental Health, around 5.7 million adults in America suffering from every year. The report shows that both men and women suffer from a bipolar disorder, however, 3 times more women have at least four or more episodes every year. The mood episodes shift and cause patients to be unpredictable in their actions, have impaired judgment, have irrational actions, and in some cases feel so depressed they do not want to get out of bed.
A recent study by Psychiatry estimated that nearly 69% of individuals are misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder as it can be difficult to distinguish between clinical depression and bipolar disorder. With bipolar disorder, the mood swings from mania to depression may not be seen at first but the extreme depression is often noted. There are according to studies conducted specific questions that will determine if the individual has clinical depression or bipolar disorder. The questions are as follows:
1. For several days in a row, have you had an elevated mood or the emotions of feeling “too good”?
Even if an individual answers yes to this question. A counselor will need to go a bit more in-depth to learn if the mood swing was manic or if the feeling was due to something great happening in their life. In order to learn the answer, a therapist needs to determine if the mood was manic and if during this time, the individual has more confidence, energy and even a bit more agitated than normal. During manic moods, those with bipolar disorder will often experience reckless behavior, increased self-confidence, decreased need for sleep, and will have more energy.
2. During the elevated mood, did you sleep less but still felt energetic?
During manic moods, individuals with bipolar disorder can sleep fewer hours than normal and still feel energized and refreshed. Keeping track of an individual’s sleep matter can aid in determining the diagnosis.
3. During the elevated mood episode, did you experience great ideas or feeling like your brain is working double time?
This one is a bit more difficult as racing thoughts can also be attributed to anxiety, however, many individuals with bipolar disorder do not experience racing thoughts but do have clear, precise and deep thoughts. In most cases, the thoughts even though they are precise the individual may have trouble keeping up with their thoughts or ideas.
4. Are you more conversational during the elevated mood?
Even though being more talkative can be a sign of anxiety a therapist must ask more specific questions regarding the way in which an individual carries on a conversation during the elevated mood episodes in order to determine bipolar disorder.
An individual that has bipolar disorder may feel like they are speaking a mile a minute or have problems following what they are saying. In most cases, the individual does not know they are thinking, speaking or acting differently. Most individuals with anxiety realize they are feeling like they are everywhere at once, while a patient with bipolar disorder does not distinguish these feelings, meaning they have no insight and feel like they are acting normal.
5. During the elevated mood, do you take on more things than you can actually accomplish?
During manic episodes, those with bipolar disorder often take on more than they can handle as they tend to be more goal-oriented. This can be taking on more projects at work or even volunteering at their child’s school. In most cases, the extra load will cause them to suffer as they cannot keep up with all they have on their plates, but the individual does not recognize it as a problem. However, the therapist but determine if the extra workload is due to others saying the individual is not participating or are slacking off at work, or it is the elevated mood that is causing the behavior.
6. During the elevated mood are you a bit risky?
Individuals that are suffering from bipolar disorder are often more impulsive and usually act rash in decision making which is not their normal behavior. This can include shopping extensively, having several sexual partners, and even driving recklessly.
7. Do you feel more confident, more optimism, sexier, or smarter during the elevated mood episode?
Individuals that suffer from bipolar disorder often have a feeling of grandiose. Individuals may even state they are going to quit their job even though they do not have a plan in mind for the future. This is due to the individual not having any insight to realize their actions are out of their normal behavior.
By answering these questions, a therapist can better determine if a person has bipolar disorder, clinical depression, or anxiety.
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