What is Bipolar Disorder?

This condition is also known as manic depression, in which an individual behaves abnormally. It causes extreme mood swings, followed by periods of depression that can last for weeks or some days.

The emotional highs are called hypomania, and lows as depression. The symptoms of depression are constant feelings of sadness and hopelessness; whereas, in bipolar disorder, you will feel euphoric or irritable throughout the day.

The mood swings affect a person's ability to sleep or do any activity; it even hampers the potential to think clearly. As there are episodes of mood swings occurring multiple times, the person may experience a panic attack.

The emotional symptoms of bipolar disorder may vary according to different people. You have to follow a particular treatment plan because bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, and it requires constant therapeutic intervention. As there are several types of bipolar disorder, the symptoms are different in each case. Unpredictable mood swings are common; however, you can look after the below symptoms to check your condition

Symptoms:

  • Reduced sleep hours
  • Low energy and motivation to try new things
  • Loss of interest in regular activities
  • Euphoria, guilt, anxiety, and other mood problems
  • Risk-taking and disorganized behavior
  • Hyperactivity, impulsivity resulting in self-harm
  • In severe cases, bipolar depression can turn into paranoia, agitated depression, or manic episodes
  • Frenzied speaking and sudden weight gain or weight loss

Types:

Bipolar disorder can cause significant distress in life, depending upon the severity of the type you are having. Below are some types of bipolar disorder to help you understand better:

  • Bipolar I Disorder: In this condition, you will face at least one manic episode followed by major depressive episodes. You will isolate yourself from reality, as there would be lots of things around triggering you.
  • Bipolar II Disorder: Sometimes, people may not face manic episodes in this condition, but they will have at least a depressive episode. You'll feel sadness constantly and anxiety, followed by Euphoria.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder: You must have faced an episode of hypomania symptoms once in the teenage period, that could be less severe.
  • Other forms: Due to the severity of the symptoms, bipolar disorder can cause other related disorders, like multiple sclerosis, stroke, or Cushing's disease.

Bipolar I Disorder and II require a distinct type of diagnosis. The manic episodes of bipolar I disorder are severe and can be life-taking. However, in bipolar II disorder, a person will face a longer period of depression, causing lifelong impairment.

Treatment for Bipolar Disorder:

Bipolar disorder can occur at any age, but it is typically diagnosed in the early twenties. These symptoms may vary over time, and accordingly, one can change their treatment plan. It requires lifelong treatment and needs a combination of psychotherapy and medication. In severe cases, the doctor may ask you to go for hospitalization.

You can join several support groups to control symptoms. Usually, physiotherapists use CBT, REBT, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, and family therapy for bipolar disorder. And the medications that are given to bipolar disorder patients are antipsychotics or anticonvulsants.

A therapist will ask you to give a psychometric assessment test for determining the disorder. Family members and friends are also involved during tests to ask your symptoms like behavior patterns. Later, the psychiatrist will compare the symptoms according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), given by the American Psychiatric Association.

Self-help tips for overcoming Bipolar Disorder:

  • Build proper routines: It is essential to build a proper routine in bipolar disorder as it's a severe condition and requires a lot of care from the patient's end. The constant episodes of depression affect the mental state. Hence try to exercise a bit and keep yourself physically fit.
  • Identify the core problems: There are many factors that trigger bipolar disorder, and to know the underlying issues, you should visit the therapist after regular intervals. The early warning signs are signals to look after the chances of future episodes.
  • Normalize your mental state: Sometimes, the symptoms are not so embarrassing, but you will feel embarrassed or feared to talk about it. You need to adapt and set up realistic goals for treatment for healthy recovery. It's important to understand the type of stressors to help your body adapt. Making slight lifestyle changes will also decrease the risk of manic episodes.
  • Get enough sleep: A disrupted sleep pattern triggers manic episodes as it affects brain functioning. Try going to bed and waking up every day at the same time, and get enough hours of sleep.
  • Avoid drugs: Drug abuse triggers bipolar disorder, and also hampers the effectiveness of treatment plans. Avoid alcohol consumption, as well.

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