What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder also known as Manic Depressive illness is a brain disorder that causes unusual mood shifts accompanied by various other changes in the behavior of the sufferer. Changes in behavior include mood swings, varied energy and activity level, and the capacity to carry out the tasks in day to day lives. People suffering from the disorder suffer from emotional highs and lows known as mania and depression respectively.
The average age at which one may suffer from bipolar disorder is 25, but it can also occur during teenage. This disorder can be equally traced in men and women with a total of about 2.6%-7.8% of the population in India suffering from this disorder. If one chooses not to treat the disorder then there is a possibility of the situation getting worse. The package of good treatments includes psychotherapy, medications, a healthy lifestyle, a regular schedule and most importantly the early identification of symptoms.
What are the types of bipolar disorder?
1. Bipolar I disorder
This can be defined by the manic episodes that last for at least 7 days. This manic episode is preceded or followed by another episode of manic ( or hypomanic- a less severe form of manic) or depression. One can also suffer from the episode of mixed symptoms of manic and depression.
2. Bipolar II disorder
If a person is suffering from bipolar II disorder, the person has faced at least one depressive episodes and at least one hypomanic episodes. In this type of disorder, a person has not faced any manic episodes- only depressive or hypomanic ones.
3. Cyclothymic disorder
It can be defined by the numerous periods of hypomanic and depressive symptoms lasting for at least 2 years. But the symptoms may not be classified into either of the ones.
What are bipolar mood states?
1. Manic episodes
The manic episodes may last for a week leaving a lot of negative impacts on the brain and the thought processing. A severe state of this episode is quite dangerous and is often required to be treated in the hospitals. Mania and hypomania have following symptoms:
- Increased activity and energy levels
- A state of euphoria
- Reduced sleep
- Racing thoughts
- Abnormally upbeat and talkative
2. Hypomanic episodes
Hypomanic is a less severe form of manic- both have similar symptoms but with a couple of differences that are as follows:
- The person can easily manage himself to the work or can socialize with the people.
- It lasts for a shorter duration of time.
- It doesn’t include any psychotic symptoms.
Even though it is less destructive but one may suffer from a variety of disruptive changes in life.
3. Depressive episodes
Depressive episodes can be severe and cause a disturbance in the day to day activities of a person’s life. Listed below are the common symptoms experienced during a depressive episode:
- Loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable
- The feeling of sadness, hopelessness, irritability
- Unintentional; weight gain or weight loss; change in appetite
- Bouts of crying
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Feeling weak and fatigued
- Feeling worthless and guilty
- Suicidal thoughts
4. Mixed episodes
Mixed episodes are faced when a person is suffering from the mixed symptoms of depressive and manic or hypomanic episodes. Such a situation can be more difficult to manage because of the reasons like:
- It can be harder to work out what you’re feeling
- It can be harder to identify what help you need
- It might feel even more challenging and exhausting to manage your emotions
These episodes are the most destructive and are difficult to manage.
5. Psychotic symptoms
These include symptoms like:
Not everyone with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder experiences psychosis, but some people do. It’s more common during manic episodes.
What are the causes of Bipolar disorder?
It is difficult to identify the exact causes of bipolar disorder but the common factors that contribute to the causes of bipolar disorder are as follows:
1. Childhood trauma
The experts believe that people may suffer from a lot of emotional distress during their childhood years. Thes distress may include:
- Sexual or physical abuse
- Traumatic events
- Losing someone very close to you, such as a parent or carer
These could be some of the causes of experiencing trauma or distress during childhood.
2. Stressful life events
The start of the symptoms of bipolar disorder can be because of the stressful events that happened in the past life of the individual. Events like a relationship breakdown, money worries and poverty, and experiencing a traumatic loss are the common cause of the disorder.
3. Brain chemistry
Research shows that bipolar disorder can be treated with psychiatric medications that act on neurotransmitters. So this highlights that the disorder can also be caused due to the results of the problems in these neurotransmitters.
4. Genetic inheritance
If one is suffering from bipolar disorder then there are chances that one might have inherited that disorder from the family members who have a history of it.
What are the treatments available for bipolar disorder?
The treatments available for bipolar disorder are as follows:
Treatments to manage a current episode
- During depressive episodes, a patient is offered medications and psychological treatments that can help a lot in the treatment of the disorder.
- During manic and hypomanic episodes one can be treated with medication and talking treatments.
Long term treatment
The treatments provided to the sufferer should be done with the motive to provide a long term impact. The doctor should work on the various aspects like Clear emotional and social recovery goals, a crisis plan, how the sufferer feels on a day-to-day basis, and prescribe a well-defined medication plan.
One can also be offered with a variety of talking treatments to manage bipolar disorder. These include therapies like Cognitive behavioral therapy that focuses on the behavior of the sufferer, Interpersonal therapy that focuses on the relationship of the person with others, and Behavioural couples therapy that focuses on the problems faced by the partners.
Treatment in a crisis
If one starts to feel very unwell, or if an episode of depression or mania is lasting for a long time and the regular treatment isn’t working, in such a situation one may need to access crisis services to help them to get through it.
Bipolar disorder is a mental health problem that mainly affects the mood of the individual. Everyone has variations in their mood, but in bipolar disorder, these changes can be very distressing and have a big impact on the lives of people, who are suffering from it. One may feel that their high and low moods are extreme, and that swings in the mood are overwhelming. Depending on the way the person experiences these mood states, and how severely they affect the person, the doctor may diagnose one with a particular type of bipolar disorder and then proceed with the treatment accordingly. one can also take bipolar disorder test by click here (Note: The link features website not belonging to The Curious Mind)
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