carry out something known as mood charting. This will be important as you’ll need to meet the criteria for bipolar I disorder according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
These criteria can include having manic episodes that last for at least seven days with symptoms that are apparent all day or most of the day or an episode that is so severe that you needed to be hospitalized. To be officially diagnosed, your doctor will need to work with a psychiatrist who will conduct a psychiatric assessment as well.
How Bipolar I Disorder Is Treated
Once you’ve been diagnosed with bipolar I disorder, your doctor and psychiatrist will need to determine the right medication regimen for you. Typically, the drugs you may be prescribed include mood stabilizers, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication, and antipsychotics. Since it can take time to establish which combination of drugs is effective, don’t be surprised if your doctor tweaks your regimen based on your experience.
Some people also find different types of psychotherapy useful as they can learn how to stick to their treatment program and how to deal with having bipolar I disorder. Some options are interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT), psychoeducation, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
In rare cases where medication and therapy aren’t enough, your doctor may recommend electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), in which a short electrical current is applied to the scalp while the patient is under anesthesia.
According to mental health experts, the symptoms of a bipolar I disorder manic or depressive episode can last for days or months. That means your life can be severely affected if you don’t get treatment. If you have any of the symptoms of the disorder, see your doctor as soon as possible.