Things You Need to Know About Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar Disorder is a mental condition which is also known as manic depression, in which an individual’s behaviour seems quite peculiar. A person suffering from bipolar disorder shows symptoms that include an extremely elevated mood called mania. They can also include episodes of depression which can last for days or maybe weeks.
The extreme emotional overheads are called ‘hypomania’, whereas, ‘depression’ is the condition when the situation is vice-versa (emotionally low). The symptoms of depression contain a constant feeling of sadness and hopelessness, whereas, in bipolar disorder, one feels energized yet irritated throughout the day.
The mood swing disturbs the sleep cycle and also impacts a person’s ability to perform any activity. The episodes of mood swing even affect the potential to think clearly. The frequent episodes of mood swing may result in panic attacks. The emotional symptoms of bipolar disorder may vary person to person.
One has to follow a particular treatment plan as bipolar disorder is not short-termed but a lifelong condition, it requires constant therapeutic intervention. As there are several types of bipolar disorder, the symptoms are different in each case among which unpredictable mood swings are common.
- Reduced sleep hours: It gets difficult to get a well needed sleep for a person suffering from bipolar disorder and hence the person feels irritated throughout the day.
- Low energy and motivation: A person loses the enthusiasm to try new things. He struggles to find motivation to perform the everyday activities.
- Loss of interest: Losing interest in performing activities is a common symptom found in a person suffering from bipolar disorder. Because of the running thoughts and the constant episodes of mood swing, it is difficult for a person to develop any interest in an activity.
- Feeling of guilt, anxiety: Depression is also one of the biggest symptoms of Bipolar Disorder; there happens to be a constant flow of emotions on the person’s mind, hence, a person often feels guilty, anxious and sad.
- Risk-taking and disorganized behavior: In such conditions, a person loses control over his emotions & mind and starts to take risks in everyday life like, rash driving, getting into fights etc; the person might start using addictive and harmful substances as well.
- Hyperactivity, impulsivity and self-harm: The impulsive thoughts of a person can manipulate his behaviour and can cause him to harm himself, like, cutting arms, viciously scratching body parts, excessive body piercing etc.
- Paranoia: In severe cases of bipolar disorder, the condition escalates into paranoia and agitated depression; a person may also get manic episodes.
- Frenzied speaking and sudden weight gain or weight loss: The condition makes a person to live on the edge, there is also a substantial effect on the diet of a person, a person may tend to eat a lot or very less.
- Genetics: A person could be diagnosed with Bipolar disorder due to sharing some common genetic features with a family member who is already suffering with the condition.
- Biological traits: The neurotransmitters or hormonal imbalances can be one of the causes of bipolar disorder. The chemicals that are responsible for controlling the brain's functions are called neurotransmitters. If there's an imbalance in the levels of 1 or more neurotransmitters, a person may develop some symptoms of bipolar disorder.
- Environmental factors: Life events and traumas, such as physical or mental abuse, mental stress, grievance, accident or other traumatic events, may trigger an initial episode in a person.
Bipolar disorder can cause significant distress in life, depending upon the severity of the type one suffers from. Below are some types of bipolar disorder to help you understand better:
- Bipolar I Disorder: In this condition, a person faces at least one manic episode followed by major depressive episodes. A person also isolates himself from reality, as there would be lots of things around triggering him.
- Bipolar II Disorder: In this condition, a person gets depressive episodes rather than facing manic episodes. He also suffers from the mild symptoms of hypomania. There is a constant feeling of sadness and anxiety in the mind of the person.
- Cyclothymic Disorder: This type of disorder causes a person to have hypomanic symptoms alternating with the brief episodes of depression. This is considered less severe and not as long lasting as full hypomanic or depressive episodes.
- Rapid Cycling: When a person experiences four or more episodes of mania, hypomania or depressive episodes in the period of 12 months, it is described as Rapid Cycling. Some people may experience change in their perception, activities, emotional state and the way of thinking within just a week or even in a day.
Bipolar disorder can be diagnosed at any age, but the most common age for this diagnosis is early twenties. These symptoms may vary over time and one can change their treatment plan accordingly. It requires a lifelong treatment and needs a combination of psychotherapy and medication. In severe cases, a person might have to get hospitalized.
One can join several support groups to control symptoms. Usually, psychotherapists use CBT, REBT, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and family therapy for bipolar disorder. The medications that are given to bipolar disorder patients are antipsychotics or anticonvulsants.
A therapist conducts psychometric assessment tests for determining the disorder. Informants like family members or friends may be involved before testing to get the detailed history of the patient’s concerns. Later, the psychiatrist compares the symptoms according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), given by the American Psychiatric Association.
- Build proper routines: It is essential to build a proper routine as bipolar disorder is a severe condition and requires a lot of care from the patient's end. The constant episodes of depression affect the mental state, hence, one must try to exercise a bit and stay physically fit.
- Identify the core problems: There are many factors that trigger bipolar disorder and to know the underlying issues, one should visit the therapist after regular intervals. The early warning signs must be looked after to reduce the chances of future episodes.
- Normalize your mental state: Sometimes, the symptoms are not very severe yet a person feels intimidated or fearful of judgement and may not want to talk about it . One must adapt and set up realistic goals as a treatment and for a healthy recovery. Making healthy changes in lifestyle also decreases the risk of manic episodes.
- Get enough sleep: A disrupted sleep pattern triggers manic episodes as it affects brain functioning. One must get a well needed sleep every day and try to go to bed early.
- Avoid drug use: Drug abuse can be a massive trigger to cause bipolar disorder; the addiction can do severe damage to a person’s mind. Especially the ones who suffer from bipolar disorder must avoid the consumption of alcohol.