Bipolar Disorder – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

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Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterised by frequent mood swings that include extreme highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).

Depression can cause you to feel sad, hopeless, and lose interest in many activities. On the other hand, you may feel euphoric, energetic or irritable when your mood shifts to mania or hypomania. The effects of mood swings can be negatively felt in different ways, such as sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behaviour, and the ability to think clearly.

A mood swing may occur rarely or multiple times a year. Some people may not experience emotional symptoms in between episodes, while others will experience them. The good news about bipolar disorder is that you can follow a treatment plan to manage your mood swings and other symptoms. The most common treatment for bipolar disorder is medication and psychotherapy.

Symptoms

Symptoms of bipolar disorder can cause unpredictable changes in mood and behaviour, resulting in severe pain and difficulties in life.

There are three main symptoms that can occur with bipolar disorder, they are: mania, hypomania, and depression.

1. During mania, a person with bipolar disorder may feel an emotional high. They can feel excited and full of energy. During manic episodes, they may also engage in behavior such as: financial over-spending, unprotected sex and drug use. The symptoms of hypomania are similar to mania, but it may not be that severe comparatively. Hypomania does not cause any trouble at work, school, or in social relationships. However, frequents changes in mood can occur. Major symptoms of this condition may include:

  • Abnormally hyperactive
  • Increased activity, energy
  • Exaggerated self-confidence
  • Lack of sleep
  • Unusual talks
  • Easily distracted
  • Poor decision-making

2. Depression is a combination of deep sadness, hopelessness, loss of energy, lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed, periods of too little or too much sleep and suicidal thoughts. Major symptoms of depression include:

  • Deep sadness
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Drastic weight loss
  • Either insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Absent minded
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Inability to think or concentrate
  • Suicidal thoughts

3.Other types of bipolar disorder may include symptoms like anxiety, psychosis and much more. The condition may also occur during pregnancy.

Even though bipolar disorder is a common condition, it will be hard to diagnose because of its varied symptoms. This condition can occur at any age, typically it’s diagnosed in the teenage years or early 20s. Symptoms can vary from person to person, and symptoms may vary over time.

Causes

The exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown. However, bipolar disorder can be caused due to various factors, such as:

  • Genetics – Bipolar disorder is a common in people who have a close relative such as a sibling or parent with this condition. Still, many scientific researches are being performed to find the genes that may cause this condition.
  • Traumatic incidents – A person who has faced the death of a family member or a close friend is most likely to go into depression. Such incidents may push the person into bipolar disorder.
  • Biological differences – There are physical changes in the brains of people with bipolar disorder. Although their significance is unclear, they may eventually help pinpoint the disorder’s causes.

Complications

If left untreated, bipolar disorder can lead to serious problems that will enforce a negative impact in every walk of life.

  • Excess drug and alcohol use
  • Suicide attempts
  • Extreme financial problems
  • Reduced social relationships
  • Extreme and unusual behavioural conditions
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Possibilities of health problems such as heart disease, thyroid problems, migraines, etc

Prevention

Bipolar disorder cannot be prevented. It can happen at any point of life. However, one must make sure to get the right treatment at the early stages that can help to prevent it from worsening.

Treatment

A psychiatrist who excels in treating bipolar and related disorders should be consulted for the right treatment plan. Although bipolar disorder cannot be cured completely, the doctor will help you manage the symptoms. The doctor may prescribe the following treatment methods:

  1. Medications – The doctor would prescribe medicines to balance your moods right away.
  2. Day treatment programs– Your doctor may recommend a day treatment program that includes counseling and participate in support groups. These programs will help you to keep your symptoms under control.
  3. Rehabilitation programs– If you are a drug and alcohol addict, you will be taken to a rehabilitation centre, in order to get rid of substance abuse.
  4. Hospitalisation – In case you’re symptoms get worse, the doctor will advise you to get admitted in a hospital right away. Getting psychiatric treatment at a hospital can keep you calm and subtle in times of episodes.

Conclusion

Bipolar disorder is a major public health issue due to its high mortality risk. Treatment is complicated by many factors, such as frequent mood episodes and how they affect the patient’s well-being, non-adherence to treatment, and co-morbid mental health conditions. Although it can ruin a person’s life, getting the right treatment at the right time can greatly improve the well-being of the person.

A doctor can help make symptoms more manageable and maximize the quality of life by working closely with you. On the downside, treatment may not completely eliminate mood changes. Randomized trials are being conducted on several pharmacologic and psychosocial treatments.


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The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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