With everything I have published to this blog I talk a lot about having Bipolar. I use a lot of terms that, to those with Bipolar or close to us, have understood meanings. I don’t know how many people out there are reading this blog who don’t understand the meanings of these terms. I will do my best here to gather all these terms together and give them some meaning. If you read through this list and find that I missed something, please let me know so I get to it as soon as possible.
Psychosis: a mental condition that affects a person’s sense of reality. Hallucinations and delusions are common symptoms.
Psychotic Break: A psychotic break occurs when a person experiences an episode of acute primary psychosis generally for the first time or it may also be after a significant symptom-free period.
Manic: People in manic episodes may spend money far beyond their means, have sex with people they wouldn’t otherwise, or pursue grandiose, unrealistic plans. In severe manic episodes, a person loses touch with reality. They may become delusional and behave bizarrely.
Hypomanic: People experiencing Hypomanic episodes are often quite pleasant to be around. They can often seem like the “life of the party” — making jokes, taking an intense interest in other people and activities, and infecting others with their positive mood. Hypomania can also morph into Mania leading to erratic and unhealthy behavior and as with Manic episodes, people might spend money they don’t have, seek out sex with people they normally wouldn’t, and engage in other impulsive or risky behaviors.
Depression: Like any depression, Bipolar Depression symptoms include:
Depressed mood and low self-esteem
Low energy levels and apathy
Sadness, loneliness, helplessness, guilt
Slow speech, fatigue, and poor coordination
Insomnia or oversleeping
Suicidal thoughts and feelings
Lack of interest or pleasure in usual activities
Bipolar Disorder: The primary symptoms of Bipolar Disorder are periods of elevated or irritable mood accompanied by dramatic increases in energy, activity, and thinking. The illness has two strongly contrasting phases: 1) Bipolar mania or Hypomania and 2) Depression.
Bipolar I: Characterized by Manic Episodes and bouts of Depression
Bipolar II: Characterized by Mostly Hypomanic Episodes and bouts of Depression
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT): Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a procedure in which electric currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure. ECT seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can quickly reverse symptoms of certain mental illnesses. It often works when other treatments are unsuccessful.
Many people with Bipolar Disorder experience long periods without symptoms in between episodes. A minority has rapid-cycling symptoms of mania and depression, in which they may have distinct periods of mania or depression four or more times within a year. People can also have mixed episodes, in which manic and depressive symptoms occur simultaneously, or may alternate from one pole to the other within the same day.
Depressive episodes in Bipolar disorder are similar to “regular” clinical depression, with depressed mood, loss of pleasure, low energy and activity, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, and thoughts of suicide. Depressive symptoms of Bipolar Disorder can last weeks or months, but rarely longer than one year.
I hope I have made some things clear, or at least haven’t muddied the waters. Like I said earlier, please let me know of I can clear anything up or if I have missed anything.