What Triggers Bipolar Disorder to Occur

There is no known cure yet for bipolar disorder. The episodes that people experience come and go but is it possible to prevent them from happening? We've discussed some of these possibilities, yet we can't emphasize the importance of identifying the triggers.

In some cases, it is possible. But first, you have to find out what triggers these episodes to occur.

What sets off an episode? There are a lot of things and it just proves that bipolar disorder is not caused by just genetics. These external factors are better known as triggers and once they are set off, the patient will suffer from either mania or depression episodes. Here are some of them.

Stress is the number one factor. If the person is not able to keep up with the pressure he or she will just lose it. Believe it or not, being overworked does trigger either mania or depression in someone with a genetic vulnerability to bipolar disorder. Once this occurs, the illness itself develops a life of its own and the biological as well as psychological processes take over and keep this active. Running a close second to stress not getting enough sleep is also known to trigger an episode of mania.

Life changing events have also been known to trigger an episode of bipolar disorder. This is different for each individual because this could happen as a result of a death in the family, moving into a new home, losing one's job, going to school far away from home, and a lot more.

Some drugs that used to help one illness may cause the person to suffer from an episode. Some examples of these are antidepressant drugs, appetite suppressants, caffeine, over the counter cold medicine, corticosteroids, and thyroid medication are all known to trigger mania episodes.

The weather also triggers episodes. Studies have shown that people with bipolar disorder feel extremely happy during the summer and depressed during the fall, winter and spring.

Now let us talk about preventing these four episodes. Yes, you can prevent episodes caused by stress by following a daily schedule. You should get the right amount of sleep and sustenance so you don't feel tired later on during the day. This should be followed up by making a mood chart that can be shown to the doctor so he or she can see how you are doing. This is the best way to determine if the drugs being taken are effective or not.

Understanding Bipolar Treatment

The specific treatment for bipolar disorder can vary for each person, but generally bipolar treatment focuses on a combination of medical and psychological approaches.

Scientific evidence suggests that the mood swings experienced by sufferers of bipolar disorder are caused by disturbances in a number of the brains neurochemical systems. For this reason, medication, with ‘mood stabilizers’ is the first line of treatment for bipolar.

The medications can help to reduce the severity if not prevent episodes of illness. Many of these medications have also been found to actually protect the brain from the damage that can occur as a result of the chemical imbalances brought on by bipolar disorder.

Psychological approaches have also been shown to naturally complement medication in the treatment of bipolar disorder. A major component of psychological approaches is in the continuing education, sometimes known as psycho-education, for bipolar sufferers.

This aids in the understanding of living with bipolar, the rationale for medication and the identification of stress and triggers as early warning signs. With this knowledge and strategies, people are able to have an improved quality of life and understanding of the illness.

Once a person has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder it can take time to find the right medication and dose, as well as a psychological approach that ‘fits’ the individual. Not one medication or psychological treatment is right for everyone, and although trying to find suitable treatments can be frustrating, it is a part of the journey to finding those that do work for the individual.

For more articles and support for Bipolar Disorder and an Online Bipolar Self-Help Program visit MoodSwings.

25 Most Common Bipolar Disease Symptoms

On an ordinary day, anyone may call it a mood. When it shifts erratically from one to another, people call it mood swings. But what is really the clinical explanation for people experiencing episodes of extreme moods that shifts unpredictably as any weather going bad on a good day?

Bipolar Disease symptoms include feeling overly ecstatic to feeling tremendously poignant. This high and low process in one’s mood consists the exasperating Bipolar Disease symptoms.

The annoying bipolar disease symptoms include numerous contrary feelings of ups and downs.

A patient experiences a manic episode when most of the day, more than 3 other bipolar disease symptoms are experienced. Also, it happens almost every single day for more than a week or even in a couple of months. Hypomania, which refers to the mild to moderate level of mania, enables a person experiencing it to be overly dynamic. This may sound rather constructive but in fact it is already a Bipolar Disease Symptom. When left untreated, Hypomania may get worse and become severe mania or depression.

A sudden high or a manic episode in bipolar disease symptoms is oftentimes characterized by:

1. Being extremely energetic and fidgety

2. A strange, peculiar, frenzied mood

3. Being unpredictably and exceedingly ill-tempered or short-tempered

4. Increase in the speed of speech

5. Lack of focus or concentration

6. Erratic and irregular sleeping habits

7. Having too unrealistic or over-confidence with regard to one’s skills and strengths

8. Having lack of judgment or unrealistic judgment

9. Going on impulsive spending spree

10. Having a behavior which is not usual that can last for a long period of time

11. Being sexually active or aroused most of the time; being sexually promiscuous

12. Taking drugs

13. Exhibiting violent behavior

14. Being in denial that something is wrong when in fact there is

A severe state of hasty melancholy also known as a depressive episode happens when:

1. Guilty thoughts preoccupy the mind

2. Extreme sadness is felt and cynicism comes in

3. Guilty thoughts preoccupy the mind

4. One becomes uninterested with the once favored activities which includes sex

5. Feelings of exhaustion and low energy is observed

6. Memory loss

7. there is sudden crabbiness in one’s attitude

8. the person has trouble sleeping or can’t sleep that well

9. Loss of appetite or sudden weight loss/gain

10. Frequent body pains which are not caused by any physical damage

11. Suicidal notions

A depressive episode is identified if more than 5 depressive Bipolar Disease symptoms occur all throughout the day, everyday for a span of two weeks or more.

In serious episodes of depression or mania, psychotic symptoms, which include hallucinations and delusions, are also sometimes felt. Unfortunately, Bipolar Disease afflicted people are oftentimes misdiagnosed as having a more severe mental illness called schizophrenia.

A mixed bipolar state, wherein fusions of mania and depression symptoms occur, can also be considered as a Bipolar Disease symptom. These combinations of Bipolar Disease Symptoms oftentimes involve anxiety, insomnia, sudden loss/gain in appetite, psychotic behavior and suicidal thoughts. A person under a mixed bipolar state experiences a confusing mode of sadness at the same time having vigorous or energetic feelings within.

Evidently, people experiencing Bipolar Disease Symptoms are plagued with two very contrary moods. However, through consistent medication and psychotherapy treatment, stabilization of the Bipolar Disease Symptoms can easily be attained.

Bipolar Disorder Medication and Health Insurance – Are You Covered?

Lithium is a medication that is used for bipolar disorder and some forms of depression. This medication has many other uses in other forms, but as an anti-psychotic medication it is very strong and often highly addictive. Like other medications of its kind, doctors and insurance companies alike worry about patients developing ‘disorders’ to obtain a false prescription for the medication. Therefore, Lithium is closely monitored when it comes to health insurance coverage and prescriptions that are written, and you need to make sure that you have prescription coverage if you need it for this medication.

Lithium prescription coverage will be offered in one of two ways in most cases. You will either be given permission and coverage to get Lithium without paying full price or just paying your prescription copayment with careful monitoring and serious restrictions, or you won’t be able to get it at all. Some insurance companies see medications like this as too much of a risk, so they won’t offer prescription coverage in any form. Having to pay for expensive anti-psychotics is not new to mental health patients, but when you have insurance it is supposed to help.

Health insurance companies are all based around risk. They have to do whatever it takes to lower their risk. When the risk includes medications that people can become chemically dependent on or that are controlled substances, they immediately become much more exclusive and restricted than they might for a simple pre-existing condition. Those insurance companies who don’t have tight reins on the medications prescribed to their patients are probably not offering coverage for those prescriptions at all. It’s far too risky with DEA-regulated medications for many insurance companies to bother. In light of recent state laws that have been increasing the requirement of mental health coverage, more companies are accepting their responsibility with Lithium and other medications, however.

Whether or not you have coverage in your prescription plan to get Lithium (the controlled substance form, of course) is going to be completely up to your insurance company. Make sure that you check these kinds of things out before you agree to a policy, or at least before you get a prescription from your medical provider. While other medications might not be as effective, they may be your only choice if you can’t get coverage or afford Lithium on your own. There is a lot to learn about health insurance, but medications like this and their coverage are important to understand.

What Are the Manic Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?

There are many mental disorders that may affect a person’s mood, behavior and everyday function. Aside from the normal highs and lows that everyone has from time to time, mental illness affects functionality in daily activities like work, school and close relationships.

Bipolar disorder, frequently referred to as manic depression, is one of the most recognizable mental illnesses. It is characterized by very high, or manic, and very low, or depressive, moods that can alternate within hours or days of each other depending on the individual.

Causes for the disease are largely unknown, although the concept of heredity is widely accepted in the mental health community. There is no cure for manic depression, but medication and psychotherapy are used to control the disease. When carefully monitored, bipolar patients can lead relatively normal, productive lives. They can hold down jobs, successfully attend school and have close personal relationships.

When some of the classic early warning signs of bipolar disorder are noticed in loved ones, it is time to seek professional help. Signs of depressive behavior are fairly well-known and recognized, but the symptoms of manic episodes are not. They include the following:

Extremely High Energy

Manic episodes are noted by a decrease in sleep with restless behavior and little fatigue. The person may be hyper and in a state of nearly constant activity of one kind or another.

Poor Judgment

Inability to think things through or consider the consequences of one’s actions is a key symptom of mania. Silly or inappropriate behavior, using humor in serious or unwelcomed situations and impulsiveness are common. Manic episodes may also result in sexual promiscuity, financial extravagance, grandiose plans and setting unrealistic goals.

Communication

Manic behavior is characterized by pressured speech. To the observer, this comes out as a fast-paced stream of non-stop babble on unimportant topics delivered with urgency. It is nearly impossible for anyone to interrupt or participate in the one-way conversation. At times, the speed may be so rapid that no one can understand the actual words being formed except the person speaking them.

Clang associations are another symptom of a manic episode. While it is sometimes seen in other mental illnesses, it frequently signals bipolar disorder. The person speaks in rhymes or alliteration with words that do not fit together or make sense when used in the same sentence. Lyrics from the song “X Amount of Words” by Blue October is a classic example of clang association: “Imagine the worst. Systematic, sympathetic, quite pathetic, apologetic, paramedic. Your heart is prosthetic.”

Moods

Exhilaration, extreme excitement and giddiness are three warning signs of mania. The person may also be easily irritated or annoyed and behave in an unexpected hostile manner. During a manic episode, look also for extremes in creative and disjointed thinking and being easily distracted or derailed from focused thought.

When the classic warning signs of mania in bipolar individuals is noticed, they can get help, control the symptoms and lead a more productive lifestyle.

Bipolar Disorder: A Personal Story of Triumph Over Suicide and Mental Illness

Bipolar Disorder: A Personal Story of Triumph

Like in Alcoholics Anonymous, I sometimes wanted to shout to the world, “I am a Bipolar.” Why? Because I was desperate for help when I first contracted Bipolar Disease, but help was not forthcoming. Oh yes, there were the electroshock treatments that in 1991 made me a blithering idiot or in 1995 temporarily lifted my agitated clinical depression for one whole week before submerging me again in drudgery. During this week of freedom, I was so elated that my misery had lifted that I stupidly gave up my long term disability and returned to my professorial duties at Stony Brook University on Long Island, New York. When the misery returned, all of a sudden I was gone from the university for a period that lasted five years. I had to reapply and get reapproved for my long term disability. The paperwork should have taken me at most a couple of hours. Instead like my original application, it took me three weeks. That’s how hard it was for me to do anything. It would be three years later before the shame of this illness allowed me to once more face my university colleagues through attending my friend and colleague Bill’s retirement party.

From 1991 through 1995, I was hospitalized four to five times, each time for several weeks in three different hospitals on Long island. I hated it each time. I couldn’t wear my hairpiece and when that door locked me in the psychiatric ward, I knew I was trapped in a world I detested. Oftentimes, I would plan my escape in that I would bolt out the door with visitors after visiting hours, but I never found the courage to do so. Had I tried and failed, I envisioned being placed in a straightjacket like in the movies. I had sunk pretty low from being an intelligent scientist who now accepted his lot that this is the way his lost life would be from here on in. In March of 1995, I planned my suicide. I had spoken to a patient in one of my hospital visits who described her suicide attempt with an overdose of pills. She sighed when she told me that her experience was not a good one, but I wasn’t listening. I had been a pill taker all my life, so I believed I finally had found a way out of a world that was telling me that there was no way out. Only through Divine Providence of God coming to my wife Marcia am I alive today. And I’m so sad now that Marcia passed on March 18, 2011. She saved my life but I wasn’t able to save hers.

I took drugs for the voices I heard in my head and for the psychosis that accompanied my mania. The side effects of the drugs were involuntary twitching of the lips, brain fog, and tremors to the point that I could not sign my name. The antidepressant drugs that I tried never worked and only months of the passage of time brought me out of my episodes of severe clinical depression. My only respite was the two hours of sleep that I got from sheer exhaustion each night. I’ve never figured out why sleep was able to provide that relief but in retrospect, the doctors should have heavily sedated me with the most powerful sleeping pills. After all, isn’t that what they do, administer drugs? The three different psychiatrists that I had during this time period never really talked to me, never got at what I was feeling. Their role was to provide their patients with pharmaceuticals regardless of drug side effects.

When all else failed, I resorted to suicide by swallowing 200 aspirin and codeine pills that my mother had brought me from Toronto. At the time, my wife Marcia and my youngest daughter Erin were shopping forty-five minutes away from our home. They had no idea about what I had planned. I opened the two bottles of pills and took one or two pills at first, followed by four then six then eight. I was a pro at taking pills and the two hundred pills disappeared into my stomach in just fifteen or twenty minutes. I went to lie down and finally after months of finding it impossible to find a place for myself, I felt at peace. It was too late to reverse the process and I was waiting to see that light that people who have survived near death experiences talk about. Oops, I realized that I hadn’t written a suicide note to Marcia and the family. Nor had I recorded the date for posterity. I was certain, however, that I was going to die.

Meanwhile a miraculous intervention was occurring at the diner 45 minutes away by car. Erin and Marcia had just ordered lunch when Marcia said to Erin, “We have to go. Something’s wrong with dad.” When they showed up back at the house and woke me up, I blurted out what I had done. Marcia immediately called 911 and the Nesconset, Long Island, NY Fire Department responded within minutes. I initially refused to be taken to the emergency room, but Marcia pleaded with them and me. The sadness and desperation on her face changed my mind and all of a sudden I was being lifted off our king-size bed onto a stretcher. With sirens blasting, I found myself in a surreal state. There were no beds at the emergency room, only an uncomfortable short stretcher in an air conditioned room with glaring overhead fluorescent lights. I was freezing and had to pee. An unkind nurse provided a metal urinal and I missed and urine was all over the sheet covering the stretcher. The nurse was less than compassionate. I felt humiliated and embarrassed, and within minutes someone placed a catheter into my penis. The catheter was painful and never should have been inserted.

The worse was yet to come as doctors and nurses stood over me while they pumped my stomach. They kept inserting this stinking tube through my nose. I was wishing it was over and finally for what seemed like forever, it was over, as everyone left. After more time had elapsed, of which I have no account, I remember finally being transferred to a bed that actually accommodated my 6 foot 2 inch height. That was the last thing I remembered as I was in and out and mostly out sleeping for the next 48 to 72 hours. The caring doctor on duty had told Marcia that they didn’t know whether I was going to make it. I had fallen down a bottomless pit and finally hit bottom. I was embarrassed and ashamed but didn’t know how I would continue to face this agitated clinical depression. Days later, I made a second feeble try at suicide with sixteen pills, still considered an overdose, and had my stomach pumped again. Marcia was fed up and dumped me without a kiss goodbye on the steps of the admissions office of the South Oaks Psychiatric Hospital. I dreaded returning and felt that this was the end of the line and the end of my freedom. This is where I would remain for the end of my days. I had hallucinated and seen my hairdressers with orange and purple hair and seen evil in paintings and people. I had delusions of grandeur thinking I was the Messiah. In my 1991 episode, I played chess with Saddam Hussein as we strategized during the first Gulf War. Ironically, I didn’t play chess. I even called the White House to speak to Barbara Bush to give her my advice for ending the war. I had experienced psychosis at the height of my mania and I had crashed to severe depression to the ultimate bottom, suicide.

Several months later when I had recovered from my suicide attempt and agitated depression, I found myself at a mental illness support group. The meeting was attended by parents of children who had the illness and I qualified because in August of 1994 and June of 1995, my twin sons had their first bouts respectively of Bipolar Disorder. I always felt that I was destined to have the illness at age 50 so I could understand what they were and are still going through. I was the first to have Bipolar Disorder in the family. My father suffered from depression but never experienced mania. My psychiatrist felt that the mania probably came from my mother who he suggested was hypomanic. Identical twin studies have shown that Bipolar Disorder, or Manic Depression as the illness used to be called, is genetic in about half the cases. That means that half the time only one identical twin has the illness. Where both twins are sick, you sometimes see one with Bipolar Disorder and the second with Schizoaffective Disorder or Schizophrenia. The “schizo” attachment signifies an additional thought disorder that can accompany the same mania and psychosis as seen in Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar as its name implies is different than the “schizo” disorders in that it is a mood disorder with swings from the high of mania to the low of depression. All types of mental illness are chemical imbalances in the brain and are not the fault of the unfortunate and often surprised recipient who is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.

No one knows the cause of Bipolar Disorder and after doing regressive therapy back to my mothers womb, I am not at all convinced that a genetic explanation in families such as mine is the cause for transmission to descendants like my sons. There is so much bioelectric activity occurring in the womb, especially in the birth canal prior to birth, that may change the neurotransmitters’ and hormones’ amounts and actions to set the stage later for the onset of the disease. Often the disease is not diagnosed for years because it seems that inability to do homework or focus in school can be explained by other problems such as attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactive disorder. The textbooks talk about Bipolar Disorder being diagnosed in children as early as age 8 but my wife Marcia was a special education teacher and she noted the mood swings of the mania and depression of Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression in some of her 4 year olds. Most individuals are diagnosed in their teens or twenties like my sons. There is a smaller group who come down with the disease at about age 40. Rarely does one see anyone like myself at age 50. A young doctor, a pediatrician, in his late forties once stopped by my office at the university just to meet me and know that there was someone else like him who had the illness at such an older age in life. He too was the first in his family and had to give up his medical practice. I hope that I gave him hope. I was out of the university for five years on a long term disability and had just returned to Stony Brook to once again take up my professorial duties when this fine young man stopped by.

It’s a shame that mental illness still has the stigma attached to it although with more celebrities talking about the diseases, we are seeing more awareness and understanding from the public. I often think that the mentally ill are part of a group forgotten by society. Young people in particular think that you can just will yourself back to health. You cannot. You won’t go into remission from a particular episode of Bipolar Disorder until the chemical imbalance is restored in your brain to some fashion we might call normalcy. After years of taking drugs, that state of normalcy may not be the same as your brain was before you ever acquired the disease. Bipolar Disorder is like a tree stump. It stumps your life. Some people never work again and those that do are hampered. Rare ones like myself are blessed to return to a higher level of occupation. The illness is often the cause of job loss, marital tension and divorce, and addiction to mind altering drugs and alcohol. All the Bipolars I met in the hospital for some reason that I cannot comprehend smoked. Traditional Bipolar is diagnosed by mania followed by depression, but the disease takes on different forms with specific medical terminology. The latter is important but what’s more important is to realize that Bipolar Disorder is different for everyone and each individual episode can be different with common patterns. My illness is different from my twin sons, and theirs is different from each other. How would genetics explain their differences unless influenced also by environment?

There are a lot of misconceptions out there, but when people get past their fears and ignorance, they will sometimes ask me what is the difference between hypomania and mania. From my perspective, mania is a more extreme form of brain activity. In hypomania, you may still be able to reach the individual and get him help before he has a full blown episode. In mania, the person hears your voice but he or she is really not listening to you. You can’t reach a person in their manic state unless they finally calm down with the assistance of drugs of they somehow realize themselves, like I did, that it’s time to seek help or you will lose your mind. People also sheepishly ask me what my suicide attempt was like. Bloody awful and demeaning I answer. I remember at that support group the social worker asking for someone to begin. Immediately, a woman sitting beside me jumped at the chance and said something I had never heard before. “Bipolar Disorder is a terminal illness.” No psychiatrist had ever expressed these words and they seemed to be floating in the air as I tried to grasp onto them and internalize them in my brain. The woman, whose husband was sitting solemnly beside her, was somber as she spoke lovingly about her son who blew his brains out with a gun. Thank God I took pills or that could have been me. The woman told of her son’s countless cries for help that went unanswered. When the coordinator of the group asked me to speak next, I wanted this woman to understand that I understood, so I described my suicide attempt. This story has always struck a sad chord in me and makes me grateful that I am still here. It brings up such mixed emotions in me.

There is still much to understand about Bipolar Disorder and lest people think I am anti-drug, I am not. You need to take your drugs and build up your spirituality. In the old days without mood stabilizers such as lithium and the neuroleptics (anti-psychotics), they threw you into the loony bin and you never came out. It’s still a crapshoot in the case of the antidepressants. However, if you find the right one you will kiss the earth and thank God every day. You can have clinical depression without Bipolar Disorder and it is similar. In my case, the depression was mixed with an unyielding agitation of the mania part of my illness. I was given nothing for the Akithisia as the doctors refer to it and I could sit still for just a few seconds. It was horrific and that’s when I decided to finally end it all. Thank God for God coming to Marcia. I would never have known that I would have ever come up had I not survived. I hope that my story gives hope to people who are struggling today that every descent is part of an ascent to follow.

During those five years of long term disability, I was blessed with spiritual experiences of an incredible nature. The psychiatrists speak about 25 % or so of Bipolars going into remission. I have not had an episode in seventeen years. I would like to believe that it’s because I have strengthened myself spiritually for the last thirteen years. Usually a person who doesn’t get enough sleep will trip into mania. I survive on very little sleep. These days I work hard on helping the Creator but I also want to help the forgotten members of our society, the mentally ill. While I was still a Professor at Stony Brook, I ran an ad in the university paper and offered my help to anyone with Bipolar Disorder. I do so now, so please contact me if you need help. You can email jerrypollock@bellsouth.net Thank you for listening

Jerry Pollock, Ph.D..

What Is Bipolar Disorder Spectrum?

One of the many unpleasant aspects about Bipolar l, or ll if it comes to that, although the latter isn’t so serious, is that the poor sufferer has to endure not just the manic stage of the illness, but also the depressive stage.

To reach this from the manic stage, the patient must suffer going through the Bipolar Disorder Spectrum, of which there are five stages. As we’ve seen, the spectrum is bracketed by severe mania and severe depression. In between, we have hynomania, which is mild mania, a normal, balanced mood and mild depression.

However, during this spectrum, there’s what’s known as the mixed state. The patient will experience depression and mania at the same time. They are quite likely to have psychotic episodes and resort to suicidal thinking. They may feel energized, even euphoric, be unable to sleep and have considerable changes in their appetite.

Unfortunately, the Bipolar condition cannot be diagnosed either through blood work or through a brain scan. Doctors resort to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, fourth edition. (DSM-IV).

In the depressed stage of the Bipolar Disorder Spectrum, patients may become suicidal and of course this is something to be watched for very carefully. An early diagnosis is vital, because allowed to go untreated, the risk of suicide escalates alarmingly.

Suicidal symptoms to watch out for are if the person starts talking about suicide or death, voicing a wish to die, if they’re obviously feeling hopeless and that nothing at all is ever going to improve in their lives. They may start to abuse alcohol and drugs or you find them putting their affairs in order. They may even put themselves in harm’s way by driving much too fast, and generally taking unnecessary risks.

Probably the worst aspect of this condition is that it’s usually lifelong. However, there are medications now that can afford people a generally decent life and of course the research goes on. Brain imaging techniques now are prevalent, and three in particular are used.

There’s the Magnetic Resonance Imaging method, (MRI), the Positron Emission Tomography, (PET), and the functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, (fMRI). While it’s been shown that the brains of patients suffering from Bipolar disorder are definitely different from those of healthy people, the actual reasons for it, let alone a cure, remain elusive.

Treatment is usually in the form of therapy and mood stabilizers. A doctor will probably suggest that you keep a chart or a journal of the different moods you suffer throughout the day, their duration and severity.

Will Neurofeedback Help With Bipolar Disorder?

According to a recent survey, approximately 5.7 million Americans are living with bipolar disorder, a serious illness that can manifest itself with intense mood swings and bizarre thoughts. A person who has been clinically diagnosed as having this disorder will spend most of their lives vacillating between extreme emotions, from ecstatic highs to devastating lows, which is why this condition is frequently referred to as manic-depressive disorder. Bipolar sufferers spend very little time in the relatively comfortable range of emotions in which most of us live.

Between these episodes of extreme energy and euphoria (mania), which are followed by periods of severe depression, most patients display somewhat normal behavior, but these symptoms tend to occur at random and can present themselves without warning. There are four distinct types of bipolar disorder ranging from cyclothymia, in which the cycles occur over a two year period and are relatively mild, to Bipolar I disorder, where the patient experiences a continuous succession of both depression and mania.

If left untreated, this illness can make living an ordinary life nearly impossible. People with bipolar disorder can find it difficult to keep a job or maintain a relationship. Unable to cope with their disorder, some will commit suicide.

Treating Bipolar Disorder with Neurofeedback Therapy

In recent years, a certain level of success has been achieved using neurofeedback to help stabilize the rapid cycling between moods that plagues bipolar sufferers. Neurofeedback therapy may help bipolar patients to mitigate the two extremes, allowing them to enjoy longer periods functioning within a more comfortable range of emotions.

Neurofeedback therapy is being used successfully in the treatment of other illnesses such as depression and ADD/ADHD in both adults and children. It has even been proven to help dramatically in cases of traumatic brain injury. And some preliminary studies regarding the use of neurofeedback in treating bipolar disorder have had promising results.

Also known as brain biofeedback, this method of treatment makes use of electrodes used in conjunction with an EEG or electroencephalogram machine to monitor your brainwaves. Through several neurofeedback sessions, you may gradually train your brain to function differently. To accomplish this change, you will use your brain waves to control a visual on the monitor.

When your brain is operating with the desired waves, it receives what it considers a reward, such as making a “spaceship” on the screen fly, or playing a DVD. Your brain will seek to stay within these frequencies, and the changes will eventually become longer lasting. These changes will not happen overnight, however, and may very well require more sessions than other disorders require. Keep in mind, though; the possible outcome is full abatement of rapid cycling bipolar disorder.

Currently, neurofeedback is being used in conjunction with the appropriate medications and other more traditional treatments for bipolar disorder. At this time, you should not abandon any treatments that you are using, but rather work with both your neurofeedback therapist and your physician to create a working treatment that incorporates both methods.

Many patients who have had neurofeedback therapy say that they would never choose to go back to the way they felt before the therapy.

Bipolar Disorder – 13 Items Vital to Getting Your Bipolar Social Security Disability Claim Approved

If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you should know that Social Security disability benefits may be available to help ease some of the financial strain you may be experiencing.

You should also know that the average approval rate for Social Security disability claims is only 25% – 30%. Those sure don't seem like very encouraging numbers.

Particularly since bipolar disorder is such a serious mental illness that, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, affects close to 5.7 million people yearly in the United States alone.

Avoid the # 1 Reason Others Fall Into the Denied Category

The number one reason so many disability claims are denied is actually very simple and completely avoidable.

It's basically because most claims don't have all the critical or even the correct pieces of information necessary to complete the application right from the get go – especially the precise medical information.

13 Pieces of Information Crucial to Your Bipolar Disorder Disability Claim

In order to avoid making the same mistake nearly 70% of those applying for Social Security benefits do, here's a list of 13 of the most crucial pieces of information you should have at your fingertips for your first application interview:

1. Complete names, addresses, and phone numbers of all your doctors, hospitals you may have been admitted to, or medical clinics

2. Dates you were seen at any of those facilities, and all your patient ID numbers

3. Names of any medications you're taking

4. Any medical records you personally possess

5. An original or certified copy of your birth certificate

6. If you were born outside the US, you'll need proof of US citizenship or legal residency

7. If you were in the military, your original or certified copy of your discharge papers

8. Your W-2 forms or your federal income tax return

9. Any workers' compensation information such as date of injury, claim number, and proof of payments

10. The social security numbers of your spouse and your minor children

11. Your bank information such as checking and savings account numbers

12. A list of all the jobs you've had in the past 15 years before you got sick

13. The name of a contact person in case you can't be reached

That might seem like an overwhelming amount of information to gather just to get your Social Security disability claim started. But miss any part of the 13 items listed above and you're definitely looking at an immediately denied claim.

Why take that risk when just a little effort on your part, or perhaps with the help of a family member or friend, you could begin a winning claim for the bipolar disability benefits you deserve.

Albeit probably the single most important step involved in the process of filing a claim with the Social Security office for your bipolar disability, it certainly isn't the only step.

Valuable on-line resources are readily available to help you complete the process of filing a winning bipolar disorder disability claim.

Bipolar Symptoms and Behaviour

Are you suffering from what feels like depression or mood swings and concerned that you may be exhibiting bipolar symptoms?

Everyone experiences mood swings at different times, but for most people these come as a response to external events and can be put aside when needed. For example a person may have a problem at home, but is able to go to work and smile and relate to customers.

The difference for bipolar sufferers is that their mood swings do not necessarily relate to any external event. Their mood swings are far more marked than usual mood swings and can affect their ability to function normally. They can have difficulty in maintaining relations and continuing to work.

Bipolar behaviours can include going on spending sprees, starting a number of projects without finishing any of them, and increased rates of speech and thought patterns. These behaviours are often noticed by others if not by the person exhibiting them. Someone exhibiting the signs of bipolar may also suffer from irritability and be so caught up in their own thoughts that they are unaware of the concerns of those close to them, or can become annoyed when others express their concern

To establish whether you do have bipolar disorder there is no definitive bipolar test that can be taken. A diagnosis is needed by an experienced clinician , who is qualified in the treatment and diagnosis of the disease. The practitioner can assess whether the source of your symptoms and behaviour is in fact bipolar disorder and discuss possible options for treatment and medication.

For more articles and support for Bipolar Disorder and an Online Bipolar Self-Help Program visit MoodSwings.