In a given year, about one in four adults experience a mental health disorder. One such mental illness, bipolar disorder is estimated to affect 6 million American adults, or about 2.6 percent of the US population age 18 and older, in a given year. For individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder, there are support and resources, along with tools to help people have an open and honest conversation with their doctors about their condition.
Preparation is the key to having a productive conversation with your doctor about bipolar disorder. Recording your symptoms and writing down questions before your visit can help. Below, Dr C. Brendan Montano, director of neuroscience research, Connecticut Clinical Trials, active medical literature contributor and member of the editorial board for the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Primary Care Edition, answers common questions about bipolar disorder to help assist adults diagnosed, as well as friends and family members, in successfully managing this disease.
What are some of the common symptoms associated with bipolar disorder?
“Bipolar disorder can cause extreme swings in mood, energy and behavior. It is characterized by both episodes of extreme “highs” called bipolar mania and “lows” called bipolar depression. An individual experiencing an episode of bipolar mania experiences manic symptoms nearly every day for at least one week, while an episode of bipolar depression involves depressive symptoms nearly e very day for at least one or two weeks.”
What causes bipolar disorder?
“At this time, there is no known singular cause of bipolar disorder. However, researchers agree that many factors increase an individual’s risk factor, such as genetics and brain structure.”
Can bipolar disorder be cured?
“There is no cure for bipolar disorder. However, with proper treatment, such as talking to a health care professional to establish a proper treatment plan, bipolar disorder can be successfully managed.”
What treatment options are available? “Individuals should work with their doctors to discuss a treatment plan, which may include support groups, talk therapy and medication. One such treatment option, SEROQUEL XR® (quetiapine fumarate), is a once-daily medication that is FDA approved to treat both the manic highs and depressive lows of bipolar disorder. For more information about bipolar disorder and SEROQUEL XR, visit SEROQUELXR.com.”