• Major Depressive Disorder
• Bipolar Disorder I & II
• Dysthymic Disorder
• Cyclothymic Disorder
Major Depressive Disorder usually includes having at least five different symptoms during the same 2-week period and are not typical of how an individual usually acts or feels. One of the symptoms is either depressed mood or loss of interest in what is usually found pleasurable and the mood lasts nearly every day for most of the day for that 2-week period. A change in sleeping patterns, eating patterns, feeling fatigued or loss of energy, feeling worthless or feeling excessive guilt and the inability to concentrate can also be present. Thoughts of death or plans for suicide or a suicide attempt can also be included in the possible symptoms.
Bipolar Disorder is a more complex mood disorder that typically includes a person experiencing a period of elated or irritable mood lasting at least 1 week. This period is considered a manic episode and symptoms such as talkativeness, inflated self-esteem, a decreased need for sleep, distractibility, racing thoughts, and an increase in risky behavior are usually included. Sometimes delusions or hallucinations can occur and there may be rapid shifts from anger to depression and the depression symptoms may last moments, minutes, or, more rarely, days.
In Bipolar Disorder, one or more manic episodes occur with one or more Major Depressive Episodes. An accurate diagnosis is important in determining whether the symptoms point to Bipolar Disorder or some other problem that can have similar symptoms.
Therapy can help when you establish a long-term relationship with a therapist you like. The therapist will help you recognize personality changes that indicate when you are moving into a mood episode. Getting early treatment can also help reduce the length of the mood episode.
Bipolar disorder also affects family members. They need to understand the disorder and how to help you cope. Support groups also help people with bipolar disorder. You receive encouragement, learn coping skills, and share concerns. You may feel less isolated as a result. Family members and friends may also benefit from a support group. They can gain a better understanding of the illness, share their concerns, and learn how to best support loved ones with bipolar disorder.