Bipolar disorder, with all its forms and variants can be hard to understand; especially rapid cycling bipolar disorder. This particular form of bipolar disorder means that a person cycles very rapidly between an extremely energetic state, known as a manic episode and a very sluggish state, known as a depressive episode. These cycles can occur very quickly and without warning. An incredibly happy person experiencing a manic episode may sudden crash and begin have thoughts of suicide or vice versa. As with all psychological disorders, proper treatment is the key to success and proper treatment begins with understanding. Let’s take a look at what makes rapid cycling bipolar disorder so unique when it comes to psychological disorders.
Symptoms of Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder
While all variants of bipolar disorder are characterized by extreme mood swings, paranoia and even thoughts of suicide rapid cycling bipolar disorder takes these extreme changes in mood and accelerates them to the point that one can hardly notice the change. Mood swings like this occurring more than four times during a twelve month period qualify a person as having rapid cycling bipolar disorder. Typically, the manic episodes and extreme depressiveness associated with bipolar disorder tend to last up to months at a time.
With rapid cycling bipolar disorder these episodes may only last a week or so, or even just a few days before switching to its polar opposite. That being said it can be extremely frightening for a parent witnessing their daughter or son going through these mood swings which sometimes leads to sending the child off to a psychiatric hospital. Understanding the nature of rapid cycling bipolar disorder and properly treating it can help keep this from being necessary.
Differences From Bipolar I
The main difference between standard bipolar disorder and rapid cycling bipolar disorder is the length of the manic episodes and periods of depressed mood. As previously mentioned, with the rapid cycling variant of bipolar disorder these episodes are much shorter and blend into each other much more quickly. Another key difference is the severity of these episodes. A manic episode for a person with rapid cycling bipolar disorder can be incredibly severe and lead to extreme paranoia in the afflicted party. Of course, this can be the case with standard bipolar disorder too, but with such rapid changes in mood the moods tend to be more extreme.
Coping With Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder
For anyone experiencing psychological disorders proper treatment and a thorough understanding of these conditions is the best way to manage them. Bipolar disorder can be very difficult for friends and loved ones to understand, especially the rapid cycling variant of it. This makes treatment that much more important as it can help alleviate some of the symptoms of the disorder and ever stave them off completely or at least make them less frequent. Explaining the condition to friends and loved ones also helps. When people understand the nature of rapid cycling bipolar disorder they are more likely to be support of those who are afflicted by it.