There are more than 2 categories of bipolar disorder and the diagnosis depends on the symptoms experienced. Bipolar is a mood disorder commonly associated with mood changes from manic highs to extreme lows. Not all categories of bipolar disorder feature these specific symptoms.
The diagnosis of bipolar disorder, as well as the type, can only be determined by a qualified mental health professional. The diagnosis can take years to be accurately determined as it involves study and observation of the individual under various circumstances. The most commonly known types of bipolar disorders are bipolar disorders are bipolar 1 and bipolar 2.
Bipolar disorder 1 is diagnosed in patients who exhibit manic episodes, with or without subsequent depression or low periods. Manic episodes include at least 3 of the following symptoms:
These episodes are generally sudden. They can vary in level dramatically from seemingly normal to extremely erratic behaviour. Bipolar 2 disorder is similar to bipolar 1 but does not include as extreme mania.
Bipolar disorder 2 sufferers experience hypomania. Hypomanic episodes are less severe and shorter lasting. While mania can last months, hypomania is often within the confines of the day. People living with this particular disorder can show periods of increased goal-oriented behaviour and even improved performance at work.
The symptoms of depressive episodes include at least 5 of the following symptoms:
People living with bipolar 2 can be mistaken for suffering from depression. Their lows are often noticed, while the manic episodes are more subtle and often not reported to medical professionals.
Almost anyone can develop bipolar disorder. It is far more prevalent in families with a history of the disorder. Children with parents presenting with bipolar have a 10% to 50% chance of developing bipolar disorder at some point in their lives. It is estimated that almost 2.5% of people suffer from some form of bipolar disorder. Bipolar 2 is the most common form and can lead to issues such as:
People who are under stress, suffer from insomnia, abuse drugs or alcohol are at a higher risk for developing bipolar disorder.
Bipolar 1 and 2 disorders, as well as the lesser-known categories of bipolar disorder, are found in people from various socio-economic and ethnic groups. The disorder appears to affect all genders. Although women appear to suffer from depressive lows more often while men appear to experience more manic states. Bipolar disorder can begin at any age but appears to have an onset of around the age of 25 in most cases and before the age of 50 in almost all cases.
There are currently a number of treatment options on the market including:
Other forms of treatment can include lifestyle changes such as improving sleep, healthier diet, reducing or eliminating the use of alcohol and drugs or changing medication routines.
Treatment for substance abuse can assist in reducing the severity of manic and depressive episodes. It may reduce the length of episodes and even prevent them from triggering episodes. Psychotherapy can assist in improving behaviours that trigger bipolar disorder. They can assist behaviours in manic and depressive episodes. Another treatment that is having some success is medical cannabis.
Medical cannabis includes cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. These are prescribed by a medical practitioner to treat specific disorders or illnesses. This is a legal prescription drug. It is often used for:
Medical cannabis is used in the form of:
Medical cannabis has been used to treat mental illnesses such as anxiety, depressive disorders, sleep disorders, and even bipolar disorder. Medical cannabis effects include:
Medical cannabis has been shown to:
Conventional drugs used to treat bipolar disorder can result in a number of harmful side effects. Medical marijuana offers alternative treatments such as Lithium. This has long-term side effects in many users.
Using two different strains of medical cannabis, sativa and indica together can improve the management of the disorder. Indica is generally prescribed to reduce anxiety and insomnia, while sativa is used as a stimulant to improve mood and appetite. Indica is usually used during the depressive stage of the disorder, especially by those with Bipolar disorder 2 which generally shows longer and more intense depressive episodes.
There are a number of studies available that show the improvements on bipolar disorder from medical cannabis, such as: the Ashton Review, the Braga Study, the Tyler Study and the Sagar Study. Further studies may assist in assessing any possible side effects from the long-term use of this drug. Especially in the bipolar patients that have a predisposition for substance abuse.
The use of medical marijuana has shown to improve some aspects and reduce negative aspects of bipolar disorder. The recommendation is that each person is treated on a case-by-case basis. The medication must be fine-tuned or ceased depending on the sufferer themselves and their individual experiences using the treatment. The same would apply with CBD.