What Is Bipolar Disorder? Understanding the Cause and Seeking the Treatment

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a mental illness that could either cause a person to feel extreme sadness or extreme happiness.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

One of the simplest ways to describe bipolar disorder is to associate it with two deep holes. The holes represent the uncontrollable emotions that’s why it’s considered “bipolar disorder”.

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a mental illness that could either cause a person to feel extreme sadness or extreme happiness. A person suffering from bipolar disorder have both highs and lows when it comes to moods. It is either he/she is feeling low, irritated, and sluggish, or happy and confident.

However, between those two moods, the person still feels normal. Aside from the mood swings, someone with this condition is also most likely to experience changes in sleep routine, behavior, and could also have changes in thinking.

There’s also an explanation why bipolar disorder is called maniac depression since they are two different words that sum up what bipolar disorder is.

The word “manic” simply describes a person being extremely happy and confident. While “hypomania”, talks about the milder symptoms of mania which don’t really affect or interfere a person’s everyday living.

The “depressive” side of bipolar disorder, on the contrary, speaks about the more negative symptoms of the said mental health. This has the same symptoms of someone who is diagnosed with clinical depression where the individual would feel extreme sadness and hopelessness.

According to the research, people with bipolar disorder are most likely to experience depressive symptoms of bipolar aside from manic behavior.

What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?

The said shifts in mood as mentioned above don’t really have a definite period of time on how long it could occur and when it will change from one mood to another. Experts even say that a person can experience manic behavior for weeks, months, or even years before it starts to experience depressive symptoms.

How severe can the symptoms get? Well, that will depend on the person. But to give you a clearer explanation, below are the listed symptoms for you to fully understand the difference of an individual’s “highs” and “lows” moods.

During manic episodes, bipolar disorder could give a person:

  1. Too much happiness, excitement, and confidence
  2. Hopefulness
  3. Sudden shift from being happy to irritable, angry, and hostile
  4. Restlessness
  5. Rapid speech
  6. Poor concentration
  7. Too much energy
  8. Less need of sleep
  9. Unusual high sex drive
  10. Making unrealistic plans
  11. Poor judgments
  12. Drug and alcohol abuse
  13. Impulsiveness

On the contrary, bipolar disorder could also give a person low moods such as:

  1. Extreme sadness
  2. Lack of energy
  3. Hopelessness and worthlessness
  4. Poor concentration
  5. Uncontrollable crying
  6. Poor decision making
  7. Irritability
  8. Needing more sleep
  9. Loss of interest on the things they once enjoyed doing
  10. Insomnia
  11. Loss of appetite or overeating
  12. Weight loss or gain
  13. Thoughts of suicide
  14. Attempts of suicide

What causes Bipolar Disorder?

Experts claim that this condition isn’t due to one reason only. There could be a lot of factors that when combined all together, could lead to the mental illness we’ve been talking about – bipolar disorder.

Research says that some of the factors causing this mental condition are genes, stress, and also brain changes since there could be hormonal imbalances inside a person’s system.

How is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed?

Upon identifying early signs or symptoms of this condition, the best way to have it identified is by seeing a specialist or a psychiatrist.

Usually, doctors would only ask questions about family history, past episodes, and even lifestyle issues. Medical experts could also allow one to take a psychological test to further assess if there is any mental illness present.

Who can get Bipolar Disorder?

Similar to other mental illnesses, everyone is vulnerable to Bipolar Disorder. Even both genders; men and women are equally prone to experience this mental illness. However, studies claim that most people usually experience this condition during late adolescence or early childhood.

As highlighted above, this condition could run within families. While some people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder have had episodes of other mental illnesses in the past such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or depression.

What to do to get rid of Bipolar Disorder?

Again, just like other types of mental disorder, there is a way to treat and manage this condition. However, bipolar disorder is a life-long mental health condition, which needs ongoing care and a strong support system.

The best way to manage this disorder is through continuous medications. Doctors would most likely recommend mood stabilizers such as Lithium, Lamictal, and Tegretol. They could also prescribe antipsychotic drugs which include Zyprexa, Latuda, Seroquel, and Vraylar. Since we’ve mentioned bipolar disorder is also in line with depression, antidepressants could also be prescribed for a person diagnosed with the said mental illness.

Often times, medications go alongside psychotherapy or “talk” therapy to effectively manage and combat possible episodes of bipolar attacks.

The only thing that can decrease the recovery period of a person is if the patient has alcohol and drug abuse habits.

What to expect after treatments?

For most people who had combined treatments such as the medications and talk therapies, they were able to experience life-long symptom relief. They also claimed that their moods stabilized and that they were able to control their emotions.

Again, bipolar disorder is a lifelong mental illness that could attack again once triggered. There is a need to maintain treatment or therapy, especially for those with a history of alcohol and drug abuse.

Bipolar Disorder

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