While bipolar disorder does not have an immediate cure, the right medications may lessen the frequency of mood episodes and other symptoms. With a good treatment plan that includes psychotherapy, medication, healthy living, a regular schedule, and early recognition of symptoms, many people can live well with this condition. Although symptoms can get worse as you get older if you do not treat your bipolar disorder, getting effective treatment should keep that from happening. When left untreated, undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed, symptoms for a person living with Bipolar I or II usually worsen only with time.
Bipolar Episodes and Symptom Frequency
As time goes on, a person may have episodes that are worse and occur more frequently than they did when symptoms first appeared. Some people with bipolar disorder experience episodes of mania or hypomania several times over the course of their lives; others may only rarely experience them. These mood episodes can mean that you are experiencing symptoms of depression along with the mania or hypomania, in a circular pattern. Sometimes, one mood episode includes symptoms of both mania and depression.
Severe bipolar episodes, either mania or depression, can include psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions. Without adequate treatment, individuals experiencing hypomania can experience serious episodes of mania or depression. With or without substance abuse, episodes of mania may trigger destructive actions that might not have occurred had bipolar symptoms been controlled.
Bipolar and Depressive Episodes
An individual may believe episodes of mania and depression are part of his natural mood cycles if the bipolar disorder is covered up with an underlying addiction to drugs or alcohol. While a bipolar I disorders mania episodes may be serious and dangerous, individuals with bipolar II disorders can experience prolonged periods of depressive episodes that may result in substantial impairment. Children and adolescents can experience significant depressive episodes, or they can experience manic or hypomanic episodes, but the patterns can differ from those seen in adults with bipolar disorder. Some children may have periods without mood symptoms in between episodes.
Without consistent treatment, small changes in mood can snowball into a manic or depressive episode. Episodes can grow more frequent or severe over time with no treatment. Even after treatment, you may experience some residual symptoms and relapses, but overall your disruptive symptoms should be reduced. Without treatment, individuals can experience incapacitating symptoms, which can impact their families, relationships, and careers.
Only 51% of individuals with untreated bipolar disorder get treatment, even though the majority of individuals suffer severe symptoms and significant functional impairment. When left untreated, symptoms of Bipolar disorder will often worsen and can result in suicide; there is a high rate of suicide among those with this condition. In one study, about 20% of individuals diagnosed with Bipolar disorder ended their lives through suicide, and the majority of these cases went untreated.
More Bipolar Symptoms
With bipolar disorder, delays in diagnosis and treatment may cause personal, social, and financial problems, as symptoms may include mood changes and risk-taking behaviors. In most cases, bipolar disorder is a lifelong disease that will still need to be treated, but following a bipolar treatment plan, which includes taking medications as prescribed and attending therapy sessions, can help to stabilize mood swings and prevent symptoms from getting worse with age. While everyone experiences mood swings from time to time, someone with bipolar disorder experiences extreme differences in mood, which can impact their ability to think clearly and may disrupt their daily lives. The lowest levels of bipolar depression are often so debilitating that people might not even get out of bed.
Symptoms may produce unpredictable changes in mood and behavior, leading to considerable distress and hardship in life. Each of these symptoms may affect how you view yourself and others, as well as how the brain processes experiences. The symptoms of an illness are obviously outside the range of normal behaviors for that individual. In addition, symptoms of bipolar disorder can arise during pregnancy or vary by the seasons.
People with cycloparietic disorder experience episodes of hypomania, along with minor depression, over at least two years. Bipolar disorder, Other specified, Unspecified is when an individual does not fit criteria for bipolar I, II, or Cyclothymic disorder or Cyclothymia, but nevertheless experiences periods of clinically significant aberrant mood elevation. To be diagnosed with bipolar I, the persons manic episode must have lasted for at least seven days, or it is so severe that it requires hospitalization. These include, for example, bipolar disorder and related disorders caused by specific drugs or alcohol, or due to medical conditions, such as Cushings disease, multiple sclerosis, or stroke.