What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that exposes affected individuals to extreme mood swings such as emotional highs (hypomania or mania) and emotions low (depression).
Previously, Bipolar disorder is known as manic depression due to its impact on people. It tends to make people’s lives turn into misery.
Whenever you begin to feel depressed, the feeling of sadness or hopelessness may also come into your life. Apart from those, you may likely lose interest or pressure in almost every activity going on around you.
People living with bipolar disorder usually experience a mood shift to hypomania or mania, which will make them feel so full of energy, euphoric, or unusually irritable. When these mood swings continue to arise, they will surely affect your energy level, sleep, activity, ability to think clearly, behavior and judgment.
When it comes to the age bracket that experiences bipolar disorder, it can happen to anyone at any age grade. However, most doctors will prefer to diagnose the disorder in the teenage years or early 20s.
Bipolar Disorder types
Various types of Bipolar disorder have continued to affect people’s lives in one way or the other. They include the following;
Bipolar 1 disorder: This type of bipolar disorder usually comes with extreme erratic behavior and manic “up” periods which last up to a week. Sometimes, it also results in extreme “down” periods which may last up to 2 weeks.
People that are experiencing bipolar 1 disorder usually have one manic episode or major depressive episode or accompanied by hypomanic. One thing about this bipolar type is that it may be preceded.
Sometimes, bipolar 1 disorder may lead to taking a break from reality. Once you experience bipolar 1 disorder, you need to seek a doctor’s opinion about medical care.
Bipolar 2 disorders: Unlike bipolar 1 disorder, bipolar 2 disorder attracts one major depressive episode and a hypomanic episode. However, you are not meant to experience a manic episode in this bipolar type.
Cyclothymic disorder: This type of disorder consists of periods of manic and depressive behaviors that may last up to 2 years in adults and a year in teenagers and children. The symptoms of cyclothymic disorder are not as severe as bipolar 1 and bipolar 2 disorders.
Other types: Apart from the bipolar disorder times listed above, other types consist of bipolar and related disorders usually caused by abusing certain drugs or alcohol.
Bipolar disorder symptoms may differ from one person to another. They can also vary over a given period,
Mania and Hypomania
Although mania and hypomania usually come as two distinct types of episodes, they still have the same symptoms. In most cases, Mania is more extreme than hypomania and it can lead to more noticeable problems at various social activities.
Both episodes consist of three or more of the following symptoms;
- Decreased sleep time
- Racing thoughts
- Increased energy, activity
- Unusual talkativeness
- Poor decision making
- Exaggerated self-confidence
- Abnormally upbeat
Major depressive episodes
The major depressive symptoms consist of the following,
- Loss of energy or fatigue
- Reduced ability to focus, or think
- Either slowed behavior or restlessness
- Thinking about attempting suicide
- Either sleeping too much or insomnia
- Feelings of inappropriate guilt or worthlessness
Symptoms in children and teens
Identifying the symptoms of bipolar disorder in teens and children may be quite difficult. However, they may have manic and hypomanic or major depressive symptoms as time goes on.
The causes of bipolar disorder remain unknown to scientists. However, several factors that may lead to bipolar disorder include the following;
Genetics: In most cases, bipolar disorder is familiar to people with first-degree relatives such as parents or siblings living with bipolar disorder. Scientists are working tirelessly to discover genes that cause bipolar disorder in humans.
Biological difference: Most people living with bipolar disorder usually appear to have a visible change in their brains. However, these changes may not be the actual cause of the bipolar disorder as researchers are yet to verify it.
The risk factors that may increase your chances of developing bipolar disorder include;
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- When you have a first-degree relative such as a sibling or parent living with bipolar disorder.
- High-stress periods such as losing a loved one to death and other traumatic occurrences.
Once you begin to notice the symptoms of bipolar disorder affecting your daily life, you should determine when the best time to see a doctor is. Some people look at bipolar disorder as a way of life, but its impact can be devastating.
When you discover any sign of depression or hypomanic episodes, consult a mental health professional for medical assistance. Bipolar disorder can never get better if you don’t apply the needed treatment to it.
You can only control bipolar disorder when you get the symptoms under control.
Bipolar disorder does not have any specific way of preventing it from occurring. But once you apply the needed medical care to it at the early stage, you can easily prevent further damage,
When you are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you need to find a way to prevent the early symptoms from developing into a depression or mania episodes.
The following strategies can help you stop bipolar disorder symptoms at an early stage;
- Avoid using drugs and alcohol
- Pay attention to early signs
- Take your medications regularly just as directed by the doctor
- Avoid self medications
When you begin to notice the symptoms of bipolar disorder, you should make an effort to consult your doctor. The best way to fight this disorder is to prevent its early signs from becoming worse.