Bipolar Disorder : A very serious mental health condition447
A mental health condition called manic depression, formerly known as bipolar disorder, causes abrupt mood swings, including emotional highs (mania or hypomania), and lows.
When you have depression, you could feel gloomy or hopeless and lose interest in or enjoyment of most activities. Mania or hypomania, a milder version of mania, might affect you and leave you feeling happy, energised, or too irritated. These mood swings can affect one's clarity of thought, level of energy, activities, judgment, and behaviour.
Mood swing episodes can happen repeatedly each year. While the majority of people will have some emotional symptoms in between bouts, some people might not.
You can control your mood swings and other symptoms even though bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition by adhering to a treatment strategy. Psychotherapy and medications are often used to treat bipolar disorder (psychotherapy).
Bipolar disorder can be caused by a variety of things, and its exact cause is still unknown. These consist of:
Biological differences. Patients with bipolar disorder appear to have structural abnormalities in their brains. Although their significance has not yet been determined, these modifications may eventually reveal their underlying causes.
Genetics. Bipolar disorder is more likely to affect those who have a first-degree relative, such as a brother or parent, who has the condition. The search is on for genes that may be involved in the onset of bipolar disorder.
How to check if you have Bipolar Disorder?
Despite the extreme mood swings, people with bipolar disorder frequently fail to recognise how much their emotional instability disturbs both their own lives and the lives of those they care due to which they are unable to receive the required therapy.
If you have bipolar disorder, as some people do, you might enjoy periods of euphoria and spikes in productivity. However, this euphoria is always followed by an emotional crash that can leave you feeling down, exhausted, and possibly in trouble with the law, your finances, or your relationships.
If you exhibit any symptoms of mania or depression, seek the advice of a medical or mental health professional. The symptoms of bipolar illness do not go away on their own. By receiving therapy from a mental health specialist who is familiar with bipolar illness, you can control your symptoms.
The risk of developing bipolar disorder is increased by the following:
- Having a parent, sibling, or other family members with bipolar disorder
- Times of intense stress, such as following the death of a loved one or another sad event
- Overuse of drugs or alcohol
There are several varieties of bipolar illness and disorders that are associated to it. Depression, mania or hypomania, and other conditions could be present. Symptoms may include irregular changes in mood and behaviour, which may be extremely upsetting and make life challenging.
Bipolar I illness. You have experienced at least one manic episode, which may have been preceded or followed by serious depression or hypomanic episodes. Sometimes mania may make you lose track of reality (psychosis).
Bipolar disorder type II. In this case, you have never experienced a manic episode. Instead, you have had at least one major depressive episode and one hypomanic episode.
Different versions of the disorder. You have experienced numerous periods of hypomania symptoms and periods of depressive symptoms for at least two years, or one year in adolescents and teenagers (though less severe than major depression).
A few examples of related disorders with bipolar disorder are those brought on by alcohol, certain drugs, or physical conditions like Cushing's disease, multiple sclerosis, or stroke examples of types of bipolar disorders.
Not a milder form of bipolar I illness, bipolar II disorder is a separate diagnosis. While the manic episodes of bipolar I disorder can be severe and dangerous, people with bipolar II disorder can experience prolonged depressive episodes that can seriously affect their lives.
Although bipolar disorder can affect anyone at any age, it is typically discovered in adolescence or the early 20s. Symptoms can change over time and from one person to the next.
Hypomania and mania
Although hypomania and mania are two distinct sorts of events, they both have similar symptoms. Hypomania is less severe than mania, which has more subtle effects on relationships, jobs, education, and social activities. Mania may potentially cause a psychotic break (psychosis), which may require hospitalisation.
Both manic and hypomanic episodes include the presence of three or more of the symptoms listed below:
- Unusually happy, jittery, or wired
- Increased energy, activity, or excitement
- Inflated sense of happiness and confidence (euphoria)
- Fewer sleep hours required unusual talkativeness
- Flustered thinking
- Making poor decisions, such as going on shopping binges, taking sexual risks, or making wrong investment decisions
The symptoms of a major depressive episode are severe enough to materially impair day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social contacts, or love relationships. An episode can have five or more of the symptoms listed below:
- Sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, or crying are all symptoms of depression (in children and teens, a depressed mood can appear as irritability)
- Marked loss of interest in or lack of enjoyment in all (or nearly all) activities
- There is no significant weight loss without dieting, no weight gain, and no change in appetite (in children, failure to gain weight, as expected, can be a sign of depression)
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Either agitation or sluggish behaviour
- Fatigue or a decrease in energy
- Self-doubt or excessive or inappropriate guilt feelings
- Reduced capacity to contemplate, focus or hesitate
- Suicidal ideation, preparation, or attempt
Bipolar disorder cannot be entirely avoided. Treatment should be sought as soon as a mental health disorder appears in order to prevent bipolar disorder or other mental health concerns from getting worse.
The following methods can assist people with bipolar illness prevent minor symptoms from turning into severe manic or depressed episodes:
Watch out for warning indications. Treatment of symptoms early on can prevent episodes from getting worse. Your bipolar episodes may follow a pattern, and you may have discovered their causes. If you believe you are about to experience a depressive or manic episode, call your doctor right away. Invite family members or friends to help you keep an eye out for warning indicators.
Abstain from alcohol and drugs. Recreational drug use and alcohol use can make your symptoms worse and more persistent.
High possibility of a return episode.
Follow the directions on your prescriptions exactly. Do not give in to the temptation to quit receiving treatment. If you stop taking your medication or reduce the dose on your own, you risk experiencing withdrawal symptoms, or your symptoms might get worse or come back.
A psychiatrist who is experienced in treating bipolar disorder and associated illnesses and who specialises in identifying and treating mental health concerns is the ideal person to direct treatment. Psychiatric nurses, psychologists, and social workers could be on your treatment team.
Bipolar disorder is a chronic illness. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms. The course of treatment could include:
Medications. You will frequently need to start taking drugs immediately away to stabilise your moods.
Continued therapy. Bipolar disorder requires lifelong medication treatment, even when you are feeling better. People who forego maintenance therapy run the danger of experiencing a relapse of their symptoms or of having mild mood swings develop into major depression or mania.
Programmes for day therapy. Your physician might suggest a treatment plan for the day. These programmes offer the assistance and guidance you require as you manage your symptoms.
Substance addiction rehabilitation. You will also require substance addiction treatment if you struggle with alcohol or drug abuse. Otherwise, managing bipolar disorder can be quite challenging.
Hospitalisation. If you behave in a risky manner, experience suicidal thoughts, or lose touch with reality, your doctor may advise that you be admitted to the hospital (psychotic). Whether you are experiencing a manic or major depressive episode, receiving psychiatric care in a hospital can help you be safe, calm, and in control of your emotions.
Medication and psychological counselling (psychotherapy) to control symptoms are the main treatments for bipolar disorder. Education and support groups may also be used as alternative therapies.
Several medications are used to treat bipolar disorder. Based on your specific symptoms, your doctor will prescribe specific drug types and dosages.
Stabilisers of mood. Manic or hypomanic episodes are typically treated with mood-stabilizing medications. Lithium (Lithobid), valproic acid (Depakene), divalproex sodium (Depakote), carbamazepine (Tegretol, Equetro, others), and lamotrigine are a few examples of mood stabilisers (Lamictal).
Antipsychotics. An antipsychotic drug, such as olanzapine (Zyprexa), risperidone (Risperdal), quetiapine (Seroquel), aripiprazole (Abilify), ziprasidone (Geodon), lurasidone (Latuda), or asenapine (Saphris), may be added if symptoms of depression or mania continue despite treatment with other medications Some of these drugs may be prescribed by your doctor either alone or in combination with a mood stabiliser.
Antidepressants. To help you manage depression, your doctor might prescribe an antidepressant. An antidepressant is frequently administered combined with a mood stabiliser or an antipsychotic since it can occasionally cause a manic episode.
Antidepressant-antipsychotic. Fluoxetine, an antidepressant, and olanzapine, an antipsychotic, are combined in Symbyax. It serves as a mood stabiliser and a therapy for depression.
Drugs that reduce anxiety. Benzodiazepines are typically only used temporarily, but they may reduce anxiety and enhance sleep.
Complications of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder, if left untreated, can cause severe issues that touch all aspects of your life, including:
- Issues caused by drug and alcohol abuse
- Suicide or attempted suicide
- Financial or legal issues
- Strained relations
- Poor performance at employment or in education
You can need treatment for a different medical issue in addition to your bipolar illness if you suffer from it. Some circumstances can exacerbate bipolar disorder symptoms or reduce the effectiveness of treatment. Examples include:
- Anxiety conditions
- Disorders of eating
- Hyperactive/attention-deficit disorder (ADHD)
- Issues with alcohol or drugs
- Issues with one's physical well-being, such as obesity, headaches, thyroid
- Heart disease
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Page last reviewed: Mar 13, 2023
Next review due: Mar 13, 2025