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What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder was formerly called manic depression. Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs and lows.
An individual who is depressed may feel sad, hopeless and lose interest in most activities. On the other hand, when the individual’s mood shifts to mania, the individual feels euphoric, full of energy, and unusually irritable.
Types of bipolar disorder.
1. Bipolar 1 disorder.
Individuals must have had one manic episode followed by hypomanic or major depressive episodes.
2. Bipolar 2 disorder.
Individuals must have had at least one major depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode, but you have never had a manic episode.
3. Cyclothymic disorder.
Individuals must have had at least 2 years and 1 year for children of many periods of hypomania symptoms and periods of depressive symptoms.
4. Other types like bipolar and related disorders.
What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?
There are several symptoms of bipolar disorder. They include:
Mania or hypomania.
Mania and hypomania are two different types of episodes. However, they have the same symptoms. Mania is more severe than hypomania and causes more noticeable problems at work, school, and social activities as well as relationship difficulties. These are the symptoms of mania and hypomania episodes:
- Jumpy or wired.
- Increased activity, energy, or agitation.
- An exaggerated sense of well-being or self-confidence.
- Unusual talkativeness.
- Racing thoughts.
- Impaired judgment or poor decision-making.
Major depressive episode.
A major depressive episode has severe symptoms that can cause difficulty in day-to-day activities. These are the symptoms of a major depressive episode:
- Depressed mood.
- Loss of interest in activities.
- Significant weight loss, weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite.
- Insomnia or sleeping too much.
- Restlessness or slowed behavior.
- Feelings of worthlessness.
- Thoughts of suicide.
Causes of bipolar disorder.
Although the exact cause of the bipolar disorder is unknown, possible causal factors have been identified:
· Biological differences.
Individuals with bipolar disorder have physical changes in their brains which may pinpoint the cause of the bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is more common in people who have a first-degree relative, that is a sibling or parent with this condition.
What are some of the risk factors of bipolar disorders?
These are factors that may increase the risk of developing bipolar disorder:
- Having a first-degree relative with bipolar disorder.
- Periods of high stress.
- Drug or alcohol abuse.
What are some of the complications that can result from bipolar disorder?
Problems related to drug and alcohol use.
- Suicide attempts.
- Financial problems.
- Damaged relationships.
- Poor performance.
Prevention of bipolar disorder.
Although there is no way to prevent bipolar disorder, getting treatment at the earliest sign of a mental health disorder can help to prevent bipolar disorder or other mental conditions from worsening. These are some of the strategies that help to prevent mental health conditions from worsening:
- Paying attention to warning signs.
- Avoiding drugs and alcohol. This is because using alcohol or recreational drugs can worsen the symptoms.
- Taking your medication exactly as directed.
Diagnosis of Bipolar disorder.
Evaluation to determine if you have bipolar disorder include:
- Physical exam.
- Psychiatric assessment.
- Mood charting.
- Criteria for bipolar disorder.
Treatment of bipolar disorder.
Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, some treatments can be directed at managing symptoms. Depending on your needs, your treatment may include:
A number of medications are used to manage bipolar disorder. The medications prescribed depending on the symptoms and severity of the condition. Some of the medications for bipolar disorder include:
- Mood stabilizers.
- Anti-anxiety medications.
Bipolar disorder requires lifelong treatment using medications even during the periods when you are feeling better.
Day treatment programs.
Your doctor may recommend day treatment programs to provide counseling and support while you get symptoms under control.
Substance use treatment.
You need to manage your substance use in order to manage bipolar disorder.
Doctors may recommend hospitalization if you are behaving dangerously, psychotic or feeling suicidal.