How Long Can Bipolar Mood Episodes Last
Thereâs no hard-and-fast rule about how long bipolar mood episodes last. Often, Dr. Potash says, people experience major depressive symptoms for several weeks or months, then move into a period of mania or hypomania for several weeks or months. âItâs typically a slow change process,â he says.
Some people with bipolar disorder experience rapid cycling, in which they shift from high to low mood quickly over the course of days or even hours. According to Dr. Elmashat, rapid cycling involves one episode of either depression or mania or hypomania four times in 12 months, and it can occur in both bipolar 1 and bipolar 2. Most often, Dr. Potash says, rapid cycling with bipolar affects younger people, like teenagers, and it requires more intensive treatment than typical mood cycling.
Understanding Depression: Does Depression Ever Go Away
Depression is a little more than just feeling low or blue, it is a serious mental health condition that can have severe long-lasting effects on a persons health and wellness.
Depression is often accompanied by sadness and while sadness is a common emotion, depression can enhance the feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, and other emotions.
While depression can be treated, some questions are left unanswered how long does depression last, and does depression ever go away? To understand the answers to these questions, we need to understand a little about depressive episodes and risk factors that can contribute to recurring depression.
Lithium Treatment And Suicide
An association of reduced risk of suicides and attempts during long-term treatment with lithium in BD is supported consistently by most , but not all studies . At least 10 placebo-controlled, randomized trials not specifically designed with suicide risk as the primary outcome measure, but involving more than 110,000 person-years of risk, found five- to sixfold reductions in suicidal acts . Based on such studies, several expert reports recommend long-term lithium treatment to limit risk of suicidal behavior in BD patients .
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Understanding Manic Episodes Of Bipolar Disorder
The way bipolar disorder symptoms manifest, the duration of symptoms, and the overall effect on a person may vary greatly from person to person. The manic symptoms of bipolar disorder may be especially difficult for some people to understand as people may react differently during these episodes. For example, when manic episodes occur, one person may experience mania or hypomania episodes with feelings of frustration or irritability while another may exhibit a decreased need for sleep, accelerated thinking, or hyperactivity.
When manic symptoms of bipolar disorder emerge, its not uncommon for one to experience feelings of creativity, heightened energy, or euphoria. Some people may feel they are destined for greatness or are invincible.
While the overall feeling of increased energy and euphoria may feel good at first, manic episodes can cause a spiral in emotions. For instance, during this phase, some people engage in dangerous or inappropriate behavior. They may become sexually promiscuous, gamble, or go on spending sprees. Some people are easily angered, may start fights or lash out at others, or blame those who criticize their behavior.
Some common symptoms of manic episodes include:
- Sleeping less, but feeling extremely energetic
- Racing thoughts that jump from one subject to another quickly
- Talking rapidly
Fighting Back And Winning
I remained severely depressed for a year. It was like trying to crawl naked across a street littered with broken glass! My medication-management psychiatrist and I tried several medications during this period. I became increasingly discouraged with each new attempt. Some of the so-called wonder drugs did nothing for me but produce adverse side effects. Weight gain, excessive sleepiness, an uncomfortable wired feeling, insomnia, and hypervigilant paranoia were some of the awful side effects that I experienced. At the time, I had literally tried 98 percent of them. My health insurance refused to cover the remaining 2 percent.
I still suffer periodic bouts of depression, but I refuse to give up hope. I know, both intellectually and emotionally, that they are temporary. My experience with bipolar depression, that huge, schoolyard bully, has taught me a few things. As long as I take hold of and maintain a positive mindset dont isolate myself from family and friends have my medication adjusted if needed have a spiritual connection meditate have fun and continue to fight, I am winning. Regardless of the outcome of my efforts, I am victorious.
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Mental Health Treatment Locator
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides this online resource for locating mental health treatment facilities and programs. The Mental Health Treatment Locator section of the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator lists facilities providing mental health services to persons with mental illness. Find a facility in your state at . For additional resources, visit www.nimh.nih.gov/findhelp.
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How Long Will Depression Last
Realized I had depression some 5 years ago , but could have had it longer. 100mg of Zoloft removed the constant greyness and heaviness. Just heard the term episodes. Will I be going thru these periods for the rest of my life? The guilt, the preoccupation with death, the tension, the emotional outbursts, the sleeping , the energy it takes to act normal. The last 3 months have been really good. Back to normal for the first time in a long time. Can it last? At what point can I know that I am me again? Does anyone ever conquer this thing that changes your entire personality?
Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Depression & Anxiety group.
This is something you may want to discuss with your Mental Health Provider. For a lot of people, its a life long illness, being essentially both genetic and environmental, and for some it is pure environmental and passes when the difficulty is over. For me, with the background I have, its most likely the combination of both genetics and environmental. It was diagnosed about 18 years ago. Now it seems Ive got Cyclothymia which is a milder form of Bi-polar disorder, finally diagnosed just 2 weeks ago.Barb
Hi,It depends on the severity of the illness single episode or recurrent mild, major, severe and chronic.Treatment is important and being in remission does happen. Just enjoy the good times.Hugs,
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Signs Of A Depression Relapse
Expect all-too-familiar feelings signs of depression relapse are similar to symptoms of the initial onset of depression. The earliest sign is often a change in sleep patterns, Dr. Gazda says.
Sadness, irritability and anger, problems with appetite, feelings of guilt, lack of energy, and feelings of hopelessness are also potential signs. And, of course, suicidal feelings are signs of serious illness, Belkin adds.
The Phases Of Treatment
Depression is usually treated in 3 phases:
Acute treatment. This first phase in treatment usually lasts for 4 to 16 weeks. Its aim is to reduce and eliminate your symptoms. During this phase, sleep, appetite, and energy level usually improve. Sometimes not all of the symptoms are completely eliminated during this stage.
Continuation treatment. The second phase of treatment usually lasts for 4 to 5 months. Its goal is to prevent relapse. Continuing treatment even after you feel well is important because it can help keep the depression from coming back. During this stage, if you are taking medications, you usually continue them at full dosage. Some evidence suggests that continuing psychotherapy during this period is helpful for some people.
Maintenance treatment. Depending on many factors, including whether you have had prior episodes of depression, your doctor may want you to continue on maintenance treatment. The goal is to prevent the onset of another episode. This may mean taking maintenance medications and continuing psychotherapy or other treatments.
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With Treatment How Long Does It Take To Overcome Depression
When I started my treatment, I started with therapy alone, so things were slow going.
However, once I got on antidepressants, I started to notice things moving in the right direction. The antidepressants brought me to a place that allowed me to focus better on my therapy treatment, so the two forms of treatment worked well together.
While I still experience on and off symptoms of depression, I feel that after one year of treatment, my life is finally at a point where I am feeling more like a normal person. The feelings of sadness and hopelessness are significantly reduced, I am performing well at work again and I am able to enjoy my time with my friends.
How Long Does It Take To Overcome Depression
Depression is a serious mental health condition that is characterized by feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
If youre going through depression, you might wonder how long it will last.
While there is no average for how long it can take to overcome depression, its not uncommon for feelings of hopelessness to last several months. In more severe cases, such as my own, depressed individuals may experience these feelings on and off for several years.
In this article, Ill go over why its important to seek treatment and, if you do, what you can expect as far as recovery time.
Ive struggled with depression for several years, so Ill be providing this information based on my own experiences dealing with depression rather than as a mental health professional.
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What Is Bipolar I Disorder
I disorder is a form of mental illness. A person affected by bipolar I disorder has had at least one manic episode in their life. A manic episode is a period of abnormally elevated or irritable mood and high energy, accompanied by abnormal behavior that disrupts life.
Most people with bipolar I disorder also suffer from episodes of . Often, there is a pattern of cycling between and . This is where the term manic depression comes from. In between episodes of and , many people with bipolar I disorder can live normal lives.
It Took Over A Month For Me To Return To My Stable Self
This is a month AFTER the two week depressive episode. As my dear friend Jay Carter, the author of always says, it takes a very long time for our brains to get back on track chemically when we have an episode. This is especially true for longer episodes. The longer the episode- the longer the recovery time. This makes sense when we read it, but when were going through it, we often expect life to magically get back to normal once the mood swing ends.
If it took me 30 days to recover from two weeks of depression, what does it take to recover from a massive manic and psychotic episode? It can take a year for some people. No one wants to hear this, but I believe we need to be honest with ourselves in order to survive bipolar disorder.
If we know that recovery takes time, we can go easier on ourselves.
I want to be nice to myself when I get sick. I want to and need to give myself time to recover.
Patience doesnt come naturally for me. I tend to put myself down for not being able to work much, but wow, this is a pretty darn serious illness. I need to respect what my body experiences when I get sick and give it time to heal.
We have to be ready for recovery time after an episode. We dont just bounce back.
We can come back. We can flourish- we can get better and back to our stable selves, but its a process and it always takes longer than we
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Potential Triggers For Depression Relapse
Each person also has personal relapse triggers, some of which you can control and some you can’t. These may be interpersonal or family stress, financial problems, job loss, and other real-world issues. The stress of our fast-paced modern world certainly has an impact, says Thomas Gazda, MD, a psychiatrist with Banner Behavioral Health in Scottsdale, Ariz. What is pleasurable to one person, he says, can be a trigger for depression in someone else: For some, the holidays are stressful, and for others, they are enjoyable and relaxing.
One common trigger for depression relapse is a dangerous love entanglement. Its a phenomenon that engulfs people who become depressed within a high-conflict intimate relationship, says Dr. Brodsky. They receive depression treatment and recover, then stop their treatment and return to the relationship, only to become depressed again in a matter of months.
Being aware of and avoiding such situations or triggers that set off depression symptoms are steps you need to take whether youre going through depression treatment or have recently recovered.
Are There Different Types Of Depression
If you are given a diagnosis of depression, you might be told that you have mild, moderate or severe depression. This describes what sort of impact your symptoms are having on you currently, and what sort of treatment you’re likely to be offered. You might move between mild, moderate and severe depression during one episode of depression or across different episodes.
There are also some specific types of depression:
- Seasonal affective disorder depression that occurs at a particular time of year, or during a particular season. See our page on SAD for more information.
- Dysthymia continuous mild depression that lasts for two years or more. Also called persistent depressive disorder or chronic depression.
- Prenatal depression depression that occurs during pregnancy. This is sometimes also called antenatal depression.
- Postnatal depression depression that occurs in the first year after giving birth.
See our page on postnatal depression and perinatal mental health for more information. The PANDAS Foundation also has information and support for anyone experiencing prenatal or postnatal depression.
Is premenstrual dysphoric disorder a type of depression?
PMDD is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome . Many women experience PMS, but for some women their symptoms are severe enough to seriously impact their daily life. This is when you might receive a diagnosis of PMDD.
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How Can I Help A Loved One Who Is Depressed
If someone you know has depression, help them see a health care provider or mental health professional. You also can:
- Offer support, understanding, patience, and encouragement.
- Invite them out for walks, outings, and other activities.
- Help them stick to their treatment plan, such as setting reminders to take prescribed medications.
- Make sure they have transportation to therapy appointments.
- Remind them that, with time and treatment, the depression will lift.
Take comments about suicide seriously, and report them to your loved ones health care provider or therapist. If they are in immediate distress or thinking about hurting themselves, call 911 for emergency services or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
How Is Nimh Addressing Bipolar Disorder
The National Institute of Mental Health conducts and supports research on bipolar disorder that increases our understanding of its causes and helps develop new treatments. Researchers continue to study genetics and bipolar disorder, brain function, and symptoms in children and teens who have bipolar disorder, as well as family history in health and behavior.
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Duration Vs Cause Of Depression
The cause of your depression symptoms might also affect how long they last if they go untreated.
In most depression cases, seeking the support of a health professional can shorten the duration and intensity of your symptoms.
There are several causes of depression, ranging from genetic to environmental. Common causes include:
- Biology. indicate that some people with depression have a smaller hippocampus and/or less active frontal lobe. However, scientists dont yet know if this causes depression or is a result of it.
- Drug use. A history of substance use disorder may lead to depressive disorders.
- Hormone changes. Menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and giving birth can lead to depression. In some of these cases, symptoms will subside or improve when the root cause is addressed.
- Environment. Exposure to traumatic events, social isolation, prolonged stress, and poverty can make some people more vulnerable to long-term or recurrent depressive episodes.
- Family history. Depression can run in families. You might have a higher chance of developing the condition if your family members live with the condition.
- Medications. Blood pressure medication and sleeping aids may lead to symptoms of depression that will last for the duration of your treatment.
- Psychology. If you worry a lot, have low self-esteem, or are self-critical and negative, you may experience recurrent depressive symptoms.
Intensity of depression symptoms is classified as:
What Are The Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder
The symptoms of bipolar disorder can vary. An individual with bipolar disorder may have manic episodes, depressive episodes, or mixed episodes. A mixed episode has both manic and depressive symptoms. These mood episodes cause symptoms that last a week or two or sometimes longer. During an episode, the symptoms last every day for most of the day. Mood episodes are intense. The feelings are intense and happen along with changes in behavior, energy levels, or activity levels that are noticeable to others.
|Symptoms of a Manic Episode
|Symptoms of a Depressive Episode
|Feeling very up, high, elated, or extremely irritable or touchy
|Feeling very down or sad, or anxious
|Feeling jumpy or wired, more active than usual
|Feeling slowed down or restless
|Trouble concentrating or making decisions
|Trouble falling asleep, waking up too early, or sleeping too much
|Talking fast about a lot of different things
|Talking very slowly, feeling like you have nothing to say, or forgetting a lot
|Excessive appetite for food, drinking, sex, or other pleasurable activities
|Lack of interest in almost all activities
|Thinking you can do a lot of things at once without getting tired
|Unable to do even simple things
|Feeling like you are unusually important, talented, or powerful
|Feeling hopeless or worthless, or thinking about death or suicide
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