Bipolar Disorder Type 1 - Info & Treatment


Type 1 bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that is frequently upsetting and disturbing to family members and to individuals who suffer from this illness.  While it is treatable, the challenges of bipolar 1 disorder can make treatment difficult and frustrating, but with help and continued treatment successful outcomes are possible.

•    What is Bipolar Disorder – Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder in which an individual experiences mood swings that shift between periods of mania and depression.

•    What Does a Manic Episode Look Like – A manic episode is characterized by symptoms that include rapid speech, flight of ideas, extreme grandiosity and excessive energy.

•    What Does a Depressive Episode Look Like – A depressive episode is the polar opposite of a manic episode and is characterized by excessive sleep, feelings of worthlessness, lack of interest in enjoyable activities, thoughts of death including suicide.

Type 1 Bipolar Disorder

Among the mood disorders, bipolar disorders are among the most challenge to treat and can be among the most disturbing for the individuals who have the illness.  Bipolar disorder is divided into two separate disorders – Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is often the diagnosis if there is an intense manic episode.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder where an individual cycles between periods of depression and mania.  Type 1 bipolar disorder is what most of us recognize as “manic-depressive” disorder.  Type 1 bipolar disorder may consist of a single episode of mania or repeated episodes in which a person experiences periods of mania at the end of a depressive episode.

What Does a Manic Episode Look Like?

A person who is experiencing a manic episode for the first time may not realize what is happening to them.  They may exhibit the following behaviours, although most people do not show all of these activities:

•    Pressured or fast speech patterns

•    Feelings of excessive or extreme creativity

•    Inflated self esteem or grandiosity

•    Decreased need for sleep – they may feel rested after only a few hours of sleep, for example.

•    Racing thoughts

•    Easily distracted by minor or irrelevant ideas or details

•    Hyper-sexuality or promiscuity

•    Extremely goal oriented – may start a great many projects, although may not finish them

•    Buying sprees

•    Excessive gambling

Usually these symptoms of mania are strong enough so that the person is having difficulty functioning in their regular, everyday life.

What Does a Depressive Episode Look Like?

Many of us are familiar with depression.  For an individual with Type 1 bipolar disorder, an episode of depression can be an extreme experience compared to the average person.  Depression for a person with bipolar 1 can feel like bottoming out emotionally, particularly if it is following a manic episode.  Common symptoms of a depressive episode include:

•    Excessive sleeping

•    Persistently down mood

•    Poor concentration

•    Irritability

•    Lack of desire to participate in previously enjoyable activities

•    Low sexual desire

•    Poor or little appetite

•    Little energy

•    Feelings of worthlessness or excessive and inappropriate guilt

•    Thoughts about death

•    Suicidal thoughts

For individuals who swing back and forth between manic and depressive states, the dramatic differences between moods can be extremely distressing.  Some individuals with bipolar disorders swing or cycle quickly between the two moods, while others may have long periods between dramatic mood swings.

How is Type 1 Bipolar Disorder Treated?

Type 1 bipolar disorder is usually treated with a combination of medication and counselling therapy.  Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that is the result of a disorder of the biochemistry of the brain and while medication is helpful, often it can have uncomfortable side effects that make it difficult and challenging for individuals to stay in treatment.  Common medications include Abilify, Depakote, Zyprexa, Lamictal and Tegretol among many others.

Counselling helps individuals with bipolar disorder understand the way in which their illness affects their life and relationships and helps them develop coping skills to recognize when they are becoming manic or depressed.  Counsellors and Psychologists also help keep the perspective that it is important to maintain their medications and remain in treatment.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Type 1 bipolar disorder the first step is to ensure that the person has been assessed and treated by a Psychiatrist. Without proper medication persons can be at real risk. Once medication is commenced, if you would like to book a consultation with a qualified counsellor, psychologist or therapist or if would like to obtain further advice please contact:

Associated Counselors & Psychologists Sydney

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