Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder characterized by mood swings of periods of depression and abnormally elevated moods mania.
While the causes of bipolar disorder are not clearly understood both environmental and genetic factors are thought to play a role.
Bipolar disorder occurs in approximately 1% of the global population, equal in male and female. It generally appears in the early twenties varying from manic to depressive symptoms.
How to recognize?
The episode should last for at least one week and should be severe enough to disrupt day to day activities completely.
- Mood is elevated, varying from carefree joviality to almost uncontrollable excitement. In some manic episodes, the mood is irritable and suspicious rather than elated.
- Increased energy
- Overactivity, restlessness, unplanned trip
- Pressure of speech
- Decreased need for sleep
- Social inhibitions are lost
- Attention cannot be sustained
- Marked distractibility
- Self-esteem is inflated
- Grandiose and over-optimistic ideas are freely expressed, consider himself as a king, big leader, scholar, religious guru, etc
- The individual may embark on extravagant and impracticable schemes,
- Spend money recklessly
- Become aggressive, amorous
- Facetious in inappropriate circumstances
The episode should last for at least two week and should be severe enough to disrupt day to day activities completely.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
- Lack of emotional reactivity to normally pleasurable surroundings and events
- Early- morning waking (2 hours or more before usual time)
- Depression worse in the morning
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation
- Marked loss of appetite
- Weight loss (5% or more of body weight in last month)
- Marked loss of libido
- Distinct quality of depressed mood
- Excessive guilt
- Depressive and manic symptoms sometimes occur at the same time. Patients who are overactive and over-talkative may be having profoundly depressive thoughts.
- In other patients, mania and depression follow each other in a sequence of rapid changes
- The exact cause for bipolar disorder is difficult to ascertain, but several things may contribute to the illness.
- Family genes may be one factor because bipolar disorder sometimes runs in families. However, it is important to know that just because someone in your family has bipolar disorder, it does not mean other members of the family will have it as well.
- Another factor that may lead to bipolar disorder is the brain function of the person with the disorder. Specifically, they have neuropsychological deficits in the area of executive functioning which involves judgment, planning, and impulse control. As a result, they are more likely to act on instinct without stopping to think things through or fully consider the consequences of their actions.
- Research and clinical experience also suggest that trauma or stressful life events can trigger an episode of bipolar disorder in genetically vulnerable people. However, many episodes occur without an obvious or identifiable cause.
Consequences, if left untreated:
Left untreated, bipolar disorder can result in serious problems that affect every area of life, such as:
- Problems related to drug and alcohol use
- Suicide or suicide attempts
- Legal or financial problems
- Damaged relationships
- Poor work or school performance
Bipolar Disorder is treatable. Doctors often treat children who have the illness in much the same way they treat adults. Treatment can help control symptoms. The steady, dependable treatment works better than treatment that starts and stops.
Treatment options include:
- Pharmacological: Several types of medication can help. The first-line medication used to treat bipolar disorder is often a mood stabilizer. Every person responds to medications in different ways, so the right type of medication depends on that person. Do not stop giving medication without a doctor’s help. Stopping the medication suddenly can be dangerous, and it can make bipolar symptoms worse.
- Psychological: Bipolar is often treated with cognitive-behavioural therapy in addition to medications. CBT helps to understand the illness and what triggers their episodes, how their thoughts influence their feelings, and how to control and manage them. Family therapy is often employed to engage parents and other family members in keeping track of symptoms and managing stress levels in the home, which can lead to episodes.
There’s no sure way to prevent bipolar disorder. However, getting treatment at the earliest sign of a mental health disorder can help prevent bipolar disorder or other mental health conditions from worsening.
If you’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, some strategies can help prevent minor symptoms from becoming full-blown episodes of mania or depression:
- Pay attention to warning signs. Addressing symptoms early on can prevent episodes from getting worse. You may have identified a pattern to your bipolar episodes and what triggers them. Call your doctor if you feel you’re falling into an episode of depression or mania. Involve family members or friends in watching for warning signs.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. Using alcohol or recreational drugs can worsen your symptoms and make them more likely to come back.
- Take your medications exactly as directed. You may be tempted to stop treatment — but don’t. Stopping your medication or reducing your dose on your own may cause withdrawal effects or your symptoms may worsen or return.
How UDGAM will help in treatment?
People try their best to keep and correct the mood but fail to manage these ailments. Team UDAGM, the clinical psychologist expert in counselling, will be your real friend and will help to manage your bipolar illness and will try to take out from these debilitating symptoms.