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Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder in Young Adults

Symptoms of bipolar disorder in young adults can be disregarded as possible health conditions or environmental problems. A lack of education in mental health disorders, fear of the unknown, and the inability to seek help in finding the correct mental health support can be based on the stigma attached to mental health. Young adults experiencing bipolar disorder symptoms may also be experiencing a substance abuse order as a result of self-medication. Bipolar disorder is a complex mental health disorder affecting all aspects of life. If you think you might have bipolar disorder, honest communication with your healthcare provider is an essential first step in getting help. 

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Originally referred to as manic depression, bipolar disorder in young adults is defined by at least one distinct mood episode. The DSM only requires the existence of manic episodes, while some experience depressive and manic episodes. Highs and lows, to the extreme, are the pattern assigned to bipolar disorder. The intensity of the manic highs can be unpleasant and, at times, dangerous. Manic highs can produce psychotic features such as delusions and hallucinations. 

Following the manic episode, depression can set in. Extreme oppositional behaviors are involved in each distinct mood change. Sadness, loss of energy, pleasure in life, and difficulty establishing regular sleep habits accompany this depressive state. Bipolar disorder in young adults conveys a sense of worthlessness and hopelessness during this process. 

Between manic and depressive episodes, routine life free from illness can exist. Mood swings could only occur a few times a year or multiple occurrences. The experience is different for each person diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Medical and therapeutic management produces successful treatment as long as the regimen is maintained. Professionals can successfully treat bipolar disorder in young adults.

The Different Types of Bipolar Disorder

Distinguishing the differences in bipolar disorder types includes the following descriptions. Symptoms are unpredictable changes in moods and behaviors, as is the disorder. Bipolar disorder in young adults results in complex lifestyle challenges and significant distress. However, following a strict treatment plan can reduce the possibility of increased episodes. 

  • Bipolar 1 Disorder: at least one manic episode with the occurrence either before or after a hypomanic or major depressive episode. 
  • Bipolar II Disorder: at least one major depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode but never a manic episode, a milder form of bipolar I
  • Cyclothymic Disorder: in adults, at least two years of many episodes of hypomania symptoms and periods of depressive symptoms
  • Other types: These include, for example, bipolar and related disorders induced by certain drugs or alcohol or due to a medical condition, such as Cushing’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or stroke.

The Science Behind Bipolar Disorder

Neurotransmitters within the brain’s structure are an underlying cause of bipolar disorder. The close relationship between brain circuitry and the brain’s chemicals that control bodily functions are affected. Norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine are the culprits. In addition, norepinephrine and serotonin affect psychiatric mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder. Dopamine affects the neural pathways in the brain that regulate pleasure and emotional rewards. Disrupting the dopamine processes can connect to psychosis and schizophrenia and produce distorted reality and illogical thought patterns and behaviors. 

Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder in Young Adults

Bipolar disorder in young adults may include anxious distress, melancholy, and psychosis with both types of bipolar. The timing of symptoms is individual and can consist of mixed and rapid cycling. Pregnancy can induce symptoms as well as the change of seasons. The following describes symptoms of mania, hypomania, and depressive episodes. 

Mania and hypomania: two different and distinct types of episodes with the same symptoms are the main factors in bipolar. Mania, the more severe of the two, causes more challenges and disruptions in lifestyle. In addition, mania may trigger a break from reality or psychosis. 

Both a manic and a hypomanic episode include three or more of the following symptoms:

  • Abnormally displaying upbeat, jumpy, or wired behaviors
  • Increased activity, energy, or agitation
  • An exaggerated sense of well-being and self-confidence (euphoria)
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Unusual talkativeness and racing thoughts
  • Distractibility and poor decision making

Major depressive episode: includes symptoms that are severe enough to cause difficulty in daily activities, such as work, school, social activities, or relationships. An episode has five or more of these symptoms:

  • Depressed mood, such as feeling sad, empty, hopeless, or tearful
  • Marked loss of interest or feeling no pleasure in all in almost all activities
  • Significant weight loss when not dieting, weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite
  • Either insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Either restlessness or slowed behavior
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
  • Inability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
  • Suicidal thoughts, planning, or attempts

Coping Mechanisms for Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder in young adults is successfully treatable. In most cases, professional intervention must occur, and treatment with medication and counseling is a specific treatment plan. Mental health housing is also a viable option for those after or during treatment.

Also, strict adherence to good nutrition, regimented sleep schedules, and regular exercise can be beneficial in maintaining stable moods without any episodes. Avoidance of drugs and alcohol can help dispel the opportunity for additional attacks to occur. Learning the warning signs of an impending episode can help prepare for treating an episode. 

Finding Help for Bipolar Disorder in Young Adults

Statistics suggest that many people mistake the symptoms of bipolar disorder in young adults for other conditions or medical health disorders. Therefore, staying diligent and expressing concerns to a medical doctor is essential. In addition, journaling the symptoms and timelines of episodes helps to determine the course of bipolar. Search for a psychiatrist or mental health professional who specializes in bipolar disorder. 

Treatment for Bipolar in Young Adults in Los Angeles

September is National Recovery Month as well as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The symptoms of bipolar disorder in young adults in California are treatable at Riviera Recovery in Los Angeles. We offer treatment programs for those searching for answers and struggling to live with this challenging disorder. Contact us to begin understanding bipolar disorder by receiving an interview and assessment with one of our professionals.

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