What is Bipolar Disorder?
The bipolar disorder or manic depression can produce serious shifts of energy, behavior, mood, and thinking from an extremely high mania to an extremely low depression. It is a very serious disorder due to the fact that the cycles of this disorder generally last for weeks or even months. Unlike ordinary mood shifts, bipolar disorder’s mood shifts are very intense and can disrupt the daily life of the affected person and interfere with their ability to work.
Manic episode can force a person to quit his/her job, feel rested by sleeping just two hours or charge huge amount of money on credit cards. Depressive episode can cause the same person to experience hopelessness. He/she can become too tired and can be full of self-loathing. The real causes of this disorder are not known. The first manic/depressive episode of this disorder generally occurs in early adulthood. The symptoms are quite confusing and as a result many people are misdiagnosed. But if the disorder is diagnosed properly the affected person can lead a fulfilling life.
Bipolar Disorder Signs
This disorder varies from one individual to another. The symptoms vary in their severity, frequency and pattern. There are generally 4 kinds of mood episodes: depression, mania, hypomania and mixed episodes. Every disorder has unique Depression Symptoms.
Symptoms of mania:
- The affected person feels optimistic, extremely irritable and unusually high.
- Extravagant and unrealistic beliefs and views in the powers and abilities of the affected person.
- Feel extremely enthusiastic and energetic even after sleeping very little.
- Talking very rapidly and in a way that others can’t comprehend.
- The affected person experiences racing thoughts and his/her mind jumps from one thought to the other.
- The sufferer faces difficulty in concentrating and become highly distractible.
- The sufferer becomes impulsive, with impairment in judgment.
- The sufferer does not think about the result before doing something. They can act recklessly without considering the outcome.
- In severe bipolar disorder the affected person can experience hallucinations and delusions.
Symptoms and signs of bipolar depression:
Although it may seem to be similar in nature bipolar depression differs from regular depression. Usual symptoms of this kind of depression are:
- Irritability with unpredictable mood shifts
- Feelings of emptyness, sadness, and hopelessness.
- Losing the ability to gain pleasure from doing all activities.
- Feelings of getting bored, fatigued and loss of energy.
- Sleeping problems.
- Sluggishness in both physical and mental activities.
- Memory and concentration problems.
- Feeling guilty and worthless.
- Thoughts of suicide and death.
Symptoms of mixed episode:
Common mixed episode symtoms are depression combined with anxiety, agitation, insomnia, irritability, racing thoughts and distractibility. This combination of mood shifts forces the sufferer to commit suicide or think about dying.
How to treat bipolar disorder?
- This disorder needs long-term treatment: This disorder is a persistent and relapsing illness and hence it is crucial to continue with the treatment even after recovery. New episodes can be prevented and the affected person can remain symptom-free by taking proper medication.
- There is a need for a proper combination of treatment and medication: Medication alone is not enough to deal with the symptoms of this kind of disorder. A proper combination of therapy, medication, social support and lifestyle changes is needed for an effective treatment.
- It is always the best choice to seek the advice of an experienced psychiatrist: Due to the complexity of bipolar disorder diagnosis and treatment can be tricky and difficult. Medications must be closely monitored for safety reasons. A skilled psychiatrist who has experience in treating bipolar disorder can help the sufferer to navigate the twists and turns.
Some points that should be kept in mind regarding bipolar disorder:
- We must get educated – We can acquire as much knowledge as possible about this kind of disorder.
- Keep stress under control – We can try several relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing and meditation.
- Seek the support of caring, loving and helpful people.
- We can make healthy choices like healthy eating, sleeping and exercising.
- We must monitor the mood shifts in order to keep them under control.