Guidelines for Men With Bipolar Disorder

Symptoms

If you are male and think you may have bipolar disorder, consider the symptoms that may exist in relation to your moods and how you currently function in life.

The National Institute of Mental Health states that mood swings often begin when you feel overly elated, happy and that you can conquer any feat. Mood swings may be accompanied by taking great risks with money or actions and a reduction in sleep. You may also feel that you have a multitude of ideas that might pop into your head at once, which you cannot control. You may do impulsive things or take on more than you can handle, certain that you can accomplish more than normal. For males with already stressful jobs or who work in very physical fields, this type of decision making can create stress-related health issues, as well as lead to physical injury when the body is pushed beyond its capabilities. These manic episodes may last for a week or longer.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, you may experience depression that lasts for longer than two weeks. Unlike the manic periods, in the depression stage of bipolar you will notice a sense of loss, emptiness or a lack of interest in normal activities, including sex. You may also feel that you cannot concentrate, can't make decisions or may begin thinking about suicide.

Note that there are some males with bipolar disorder who have mixed episodes, which are characterized by days of manic feelings, as well as bouts of depression. It is also important for you to be aware that there are stages of bipolar disorder in which you will feel completely normal, with no manic or depressive states whatsoever.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder exists in different forms and each of these forms can affect males and females. For this reason your psychologist or psychiatrist may discuss bipolar spectrum disorders that are linked to bipolar disorder but have varying symptoms. For example, bipolar I presents manic, depressive, normal and/or mixed episodes, while those with bipolar II have hypomanic episodes, with the extreme manic episodes characterized in bipolar I. The primary difference between these two types of bipolar is that those with bipolar I may experience periods of psychosis, while those with bipolar II will not.

Cyclothymic disorder, or bipolar III, is a minor cyclic mood disorder that includes periods of hypomania and depression. In bipolar III the mood cycles are shorter than as seen in people with bipolar I or II and they are mixed. Bipolar IV exists when you are taking prescription drugs intended to address depression, which cause manic episodes. Bipolar V describes individuals who suffer from depressive episodes and also have a history in the family of bipolar disorder. And finally, if you have periods of mania but do not experience any depression, then you may have bipolar VI.

Treatments

Typical medications prescribed for treating bipolar disorder and bipolar spectrum disorders include antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotic drugs and/or combinations of these medications. These prescription drugs are used in conjunction with therapy. For those with extreme symptoms, hospitalization to stabilize the mood changes may be needed.

It is important to understand that physical problems may affect how well some medications for bipolar disorder work, and the doctor may have to monitor you over the course of a few weeks to see how the medications work for you as an individual. If they do not work as intended, the doctor may then change the prescription for you until one is found that suits your needs and addresses your particular symptoms. Additionally, if you are a male that is taking any medication for any major illness, such as heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes, for example, you should tell your doctor about these medications before starting medications to treat bipolar disorder, as the combinations of medications can have severe adverse reactions. The National Institute of Mental Health indicates that bipolar disorder has two distinct features: mania and depression. While bipolar disorder usually becomes evident in adolescence, it can appear in your childhood and affect you throughout the span of your life; this holds true for both males and females. However, most males will begin their experience in connection with bipolar with mania, while females will normally first experience depression. Understanding bipolar disorder, the types and the treatments available can make living with bipolar manageable.