Living Bipolar

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Living Bipolar

More than 3 million people are diagnosed with bipolar disorder every year. Health experts say bipolar is classified as a mood disorder.

Dr. Daryl Tanski, a psychiatrist on staff at Lee Memorial Health System, says patients living with bipolar disorder often experience very high and very low mood swings. “Moods are kind of a natural experience that we all have and bipolar disorder is something outside of that it’s more extreme experiences. The illness usually starts to manifest itself in the late teens to young adulthood years. Genders are equally affected.”

But the cause is unknown. Health experts say bipolar disorder is a brain illness where 60 to 80 percent of people diagnosed have a family history of it. “It’s a challenging diagnosis first and foremost because we don’t have a lab study or X-ray that we can rely on,” said Dr. Tanski.

The condition will often present with depression. When diagnosing a patient, health experts also look at other things like poor sleep habits, excessive elevated moods, overabundance of energy, and risk taking behaviors. Combined together all of those characteristics can lead to a patient being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. “Once it’s established as a chronic condition, the likelihood or reoccurrence without treatment probably approaches 90 percent,” said Dr. Tanski.

Treatment consists of prescription medication along with counseling to help the patient manage their stress, diet, sleep, and exercise. “The goal of the treatment is to take the extremes and mood, the very elevated high, which we call mania, and the very potentially down low, which is depression, and have that to a more comfortable mood,” said Dr. Tanski.

The diagnosis can vary from patient to patient.

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

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