Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric condition which is caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain.
While many people associate bipolar disorder with extreme manic and depressed episodes, which is the case with bipolar I disorder, individuals with bipolar II disorder tend to experience less extreme states of mania (hypomania), yet suffer through just as severe states of depression as bipolar I patients.
It is important to be aware of the symptoms of bipolar disorder, in both manic and depressed states. The best known symptom of mania is an extreme increase in energy and happiness, but in some people, it may present as an increase in irritability and anger.
Some other symptoms are racing thoughts, pressured speech, inflated self-esteem to the point of grandiosity, distractibility, increase in goal directed behaviors or possible high risk impulsive behaviors such as shopping sprees or hypersexual activity.
Untreated, severe symptoms of mania may lead to delusional thinking, loss of reality and possible psychosis.
In depressed episodes, individuals may experience depressed mood, changes in sleeping and eating habits, crying spells, excessive guilt, low self-worth and sometimes thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Bipolar disorder can be a potentially fatal disease if not treated properly.
And unfortunately, many bipolar patients who are being treated go off their medication because they do not like how medications make them feel or they begin to feel better and feel that they no longer need medication.
It is extremely important for bipolar disorder patients to stay in close follow-up with their treatment team, as treatment for the disorder often involves both medication and therapy.
Cone Health Behavioral Health Services provides an exceptional network of both inpatient and outpatient care and behavioral health specialists dedicated to caring for patients with bipolar disorder and helping return them to everyday function and restored quality of life.
Shawn Taylor is the assistant director of inpatient services at Cone Health Behavioral Health Hospital.
Taylor received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from UNC Chapel Hill in 1991, and a Bachelor of Science in nursing from UNCG in 2002. He was recently board certified in psychological and mental health nursing by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
He is currently in school at East Carolina University, studying to get his Master of Science in nursing.