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The Signs Of Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder

Aug 17, 2007
Rapid cycling bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that most people do not understand or know about. Bipolar disorder by itself is a condition in which its sufferers cycle between two poles of mental instability; mania and depression. Rapid cycling occurs when the sufferer shifts quickly between the two states with little to no warning.

Because it is one of the most serious forms of bipolar disorder the prognosis for anyone afflicted with rapid cycling bipolar disorder is not always good. The mental health and brain function of people with this condition is highly compromised because of the rate at which they go from mania to depression and back again. Treating this condition is also difficult because the medications used for mania and depression are different and can actually make the symptoms worse.

The only way to get an accurate diagnosis for this serious condition is to have a full mental health evaluation done by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist. A licensed mental health professional can do the necessary tests and see if the symptoms presented are indeed bipolar disorder. In order to make a rapid cycling diagnosis the patient will have to meet the standards set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders IV-TR which states that the patient must have at least four episodes of depression and mania/hypomania in a one year period.

Some people with rapid cycling bipolar disorder are asymptomatic, meaning they have periods when they exhibit neither of the cycles associated with this disorder. This does not diminish their need to effectively deal with their condition because when the mania and depression do hit it can be severe enough to be life threatening.

The more troubling side of this disorder is those who have little to no time between normalcy and a depressive or manic episode. Without proper mental health help people who suffer from this extreme can be a danger to themselves and others.

It is also likely that those who suffer from rapid cycling bipolar disorder will also partake in risky behavior. There sense of right and wrong is sometimes not as it should be and they are willing to take chances with their health and well being. Drug and alcohol abuse is not out of the question particularly for those who like to self medicate. This can actually make the symptoms much worse and cause the cycling between the two extremes to happen at an even faster pace.

You can find out more about rapid cycling bipolar disorder on the internet or at your local library. There is a wealth of information out there to help those who suffer from this disease but it is important that if you or someone you know may have this disorder that the first and best place to get help is from licensed mental health professional. That is the only way to get the treatment that will effectively deal with this form of bipolar disease and allow its sufferers to live a more normal life.
About the Author
Andrew Bicknell is a writer and the owner of Depression and You. Visit his website for more information about rapid cycling bipolar disorder and other depressive disorders.
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