bipolar disorder

In this article, we will discuss what Bipolar Disorder is, the types of Bipolar Disorders, a bipolar diagnosis, is it possible to take charge of Bipolar Disorder, and the different approaches toward recovery from bipolar Disorder.

What is Bipolar Disorder

Put plainly; Bipolar Disorder is a series of life-disrupting cycles of extreme highs and lows.

The word “Bipolar” means two poles referring to the extreme high and the extreme low.

How is it different from what we call a “Mood Swing”? Bipolar Disorder is a type of Mood Swing.

Mood Swings are quick changes in one’s emotional state. In other words, you are not experiencing a reasonably constant emotional state.

Bipolar Disorder is when a person experiences mood swings that go from a very excited, energized, and often irritable emotional state to a sad, depressing, and lifeless emotional state in an unexpected time frame.

bipolar disorder

Note: We are focusing on the emotional aspect of Bipolar as that’s how most people experience it, but the effects are often felt on a physical and mental level as well.

Generally, in Bipolar Disorder, the Highs are referred to as Manic Episodes, and the Lows are referred to as Depressive Episodes. In this article, we will be referring to them as simply “Highs” and “Lows” Or “High” and “Low”.

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Peter Diaz talks about his recovery from bipolar disorder

Types of Bipolar Disorders

Now, let’s discuss the types of Bipolar Disorders.

Bipolar Disorders are of many types depending on the subtle nuances experienced by the individual, but there are primarily two types: Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2

Both Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2 Disorders are very similar; we can also loosely say that Bipolar 1 is a succession of Bipolar 2.

The main differentiator of Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2 exists in the Manic Episodes.

If the Manic Episodes are severe enough to need hospitalization or some other person’s assistance, this is called Bipolar 1. In Bipolar 1, the depressive episodes tend to be more severe.

Using the Roller Coaster analogy commonly associated with Bipolar: “the higher you go, the lower you fall”.

Several other classifications are drawn based on the severity of the Disorder and the length of the periodic cycles, but these classifications are of lesser significance.

Do I Have Bipolar Disorder?

Mary Lambert, a Musician and a fellow Bipolar sufferer, says: “Even when I am in a very great, steady, stable place… I am clinically Bipolar so that always exists – darkness always exists.”

Ronald Bassman, a renowned Psychologist, says, “Too often when carrying a diagnosis, one is required to act more normal than normal, with ultra-sensitive antennas to subdue or hide signs that in others could be swiftly dismissed as benign eccentricity.”

In diagnosing people with mental health disorders, we ask for caution. The problem is that, while some people may benefit from a temporary diagnosis and allow them to seek help, labelling can have its problems. When we diagnose or label someone, a new identity of sorts is created. If we label and don’t take certain precautions, this could prompt the person with the label to live their whole life under its shadow. Hardly a recipe for success.

At the WMHI, we teach people to look past the label, have it as a reference point but not attach it to their identity.

One thing you can do right now is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you experiencing extreme highs and lows that you can’t explain?
  • Are these extreme highs and lows distressing?

If the answer to both of these questions is “yes”, then all you need to know now is that you are experiencing overwhelming waves of highs and lows that are disrupting your life, and it’s possible to take charge of them.

The Different Approaches to Treat Bipolar Disorder

There are many different approaches to treat Bipolar Disorder, but all have the same aim of flattening the wave of extreme highs and lows into a manageable wave of highs and lows.

When basing our approach on Medicine, there are two methods:

  • Non-Medicinal: This is the approach that we discuss in our online courses. In a non-medicinal approach, we take charge of our thoughts and behaviors to help regulate our high-low waves.
  • Medicinal: The highs and lows are managed with medication, which tackles the problem chemically, making the emotions stable on a chemical level, resulting in stable thoughts and behaviors.

Depending on the severity of your Disorder, the best route could be a mix of a medicinal and non-medicinal approach. We recommend staying off the drug route if you can manage your highs and lows well since these have many side effects. PLEASE NOTE: if you are already taking medication, DO NOT STOP TAKING IT SUDDENLY. These are potent drugs, and you will need your doctor’s assistance to wean off them.

Based on how you decide to tackle your Bipolar, there are three options:

  • Working with a Psychiatrist
  • Working with a Psychologist or Mental Health Professional
  • Working on your own

A psychiatrist is a doctor that has specialized in mental health. In many countries, they are the ones that will be able to prescribe medication and provide you with medical support.

A psychologist or mental health professional will focus primarily on talking therapies that require no medication.

The Non-Medicine Based Approach for Bipolar Disorder

Two main Non-Medicine Approaches are ECT and CBT.

ECT or Electroconvulsive Therapy is a short-term treatment for any Major Depressive or Manic Episodes. ECT is a process of altering the state of the brain with the use of electric stimulation.

CBT or Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a long-term treatment for Bipolar Disorder. CBT works by regulating bad habits and replacing them with good habits.

A Mental Disorder is an accumulation of thoughts, habits, and emotions that work against a person and causes dysfunction and distress.

CBT involves identifying these destructive thoughts and behaviors and replacing them with constructive thoughts and s, which positively affects the emotional state.

Here is an online course that shows the many ways to treat bipolar disorder without medication

beating bipolar disorder online course

More Help and What Now?

If you are still reading, it means that you are trying to look for ways to help others or yourself recover from Bipolar Disorder. Reading this far of the article is evidence of that, and we commend you for it.

Now, if you keep taking action, recovery is almost inevitable. Research shows that a significant number of people eventually recover with no lasting signs of mental ill-health.

At the WMHI, we provide videos and information that promote recovery. You can access some of these recovery-based videos and mental health & wellbeing articles here.

You can also check out this inspirational story of the CEO and the Co-founder of the WMHI, Peter Diaz, who has gone through Bipolar Disorder and came out stronger and happier than ever.

WMHI wishes you all the best in your recovery. Feel free to drop a comment down below or reach out to us at