This disorder’s cycle of extreme highs and lows can be debilitating without proper treatment.

Unlike many mental health disorders, a bipolar diagnosis can be difficult to nail down. A serious mental illness, bipolar disorder causes unusual mood extremes that swing between mania, an elevated state of mood or energy, and depression, which can greatly interfere with the quality of life of those who suffer from it.

A study conducted in 2011 indicated that eating disorders on college campuses had increased from 7.9 percent to 25 percent for men over a 13-year period, while the rate for women was up by nine percent.

What You Need to Know About Bipolar Disorder

Due to the serious, chronic natural of bipolar and the unusual changes in mood, energy, and activity levels that accompany the condition, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment of bipolar disorder are important.

Estimates of the lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder in the United States are in the range or one to almost four percent. Formerly known as manic-depressive illness, bipolar includes manic episodes, during which sufferers feel excited, self-confident, energetic, and euphoric, often with seemingly little need for sleep.

These moments of mania are then contrasted with depressive episodes, which leave those struggling with bipolar feeling sad, despondent, and listless. What makes bipolar disorder so complicated, however, is that it’s far more layered than a simple division between mania and depression.

Bipolar and the Risk of Suicide

In addition to severely impairing someone’s academic or work performance, not to mention social and family relationships, bipolar carries a high risk of suicide because the daily struggles of someone living with the condition are unique.

There is approximately a 20% lifetime risk of attempting suicide among people diagnosed with bipolar. That risk increases with age — especially if someone’s bipolar goes untreated. One-fourth of all deaths by suicide may be related to bipolar disorder according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

What Causes Bipolar Disorder?

The specific causes of bipolar disorder aren’t always crystal clear, but what experts know is there is a genetic component that can run in families. Additionally, abnormal brain structure and function may also play a role. Bipolar disorder often begins in a person’s late teen or early adult years, but children and adults can have bipolar disorder, too. No matter what the age of onset, the illness usually lasts a lifetime.

One study discovered that individuals with bipolar disorder reported a significantly greater incidence of childhood trauma (such as sexual abuse or physical neglect) and internalized shame compared with a control group without bipolar disorder. Another study found a history of childhood trauma in approximately 50% of individuals with bipolar disorder, and multiple forms of abuse were present in approximately 33% of individuals with bipolar disorder. Other conclusions have also found a connection between childhood trauma and a more complex or severe course of bipolar disorder.

Reach Out for Help

If you or someone you care about is struggling with and eating disorder and bipolar, please know that while it may seem overwhelming, progress can be made. At Brighten Bay, our competent, compassionate clinicians and therapists specialize in treating not only the symptoms but the underlying causes.

We help patients heal and find freedom while learning the skills necessary to build and re-build fulfilling relationships. For more information, contact us today.