What is that ?
Sometimes called manic depression, bipolar disorder causes extreme mood swings. People who suffer from it can feel on top of the world for weeks before sinking into a deep depression. The duration of each high and low varies greatly from person to person.
What does the depression phase look like?
Without treatment, people with bipolar disorder can have intense depressive episodes. Symptoms include sadness, anxiety, loss of energy, hopelessness and difficulty concentrating. They may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. It is also common that you gain or lose weight, sleep too much or too little and even think about suicide.
When someone is manic
During this phase, people feel overwhelmed and think they can handle anything. Their self-esteem is spiraling out of control and it is difficult for them to sit still. They talk more, are easily distracted, their thoughts are too short and they don’t get enough sleep. This often leads to reckless behavior such as spending money, cheating, speeding and drug addiction. Three or more of these symptoms nearly every day for a week, along with feelings of intense excitement, may indicate a manic episode.
Bipolar I vs Bipolar II
People with bipolar I disorder have manic phases for at least a week. Many also have different stages of depression. Bipolar IIs have major depressive episodes, but instead of full-blown manic episodes, they have low-grade hypomanic swings that are less intense and can last less than a week. They may seem fine even if they lead a “festive life,” although family and friends notice their mood swings.
What is a “mixed episode”?
When people with bipolar disorder experience symptoms of depression and mania at the same time or very closely together, it is called a mixed-featured manic or depressive episode. This can lead to unpredictable behaviors such as taking dangerous risks, feeling hopeless and suicidal, as well as energized and restless. Mood episodes with mixed features may be slightly more common in women and in people who develop bipolar disorder at a young age.
What are the causes?
Doctors aren’t exactly sure what causes bipolar disorder. Current theories suggest that the condition may result from a combination of genetic and other biological factors, as well as environmental factors. Scientists believe that brain circuits involved in regulating mood, energy, thoughts, and biological rhythms may function abnormally in people with bipolar disorder, leading to mood swings and other changes associated with the disease.
Who is at risk?
Both men and women can have bipolar disorder. In most cases, symptoms usually start in people between the ages of 15 and 30. More rarely, bipolar disorder can start in childhood. The condition can sometimes run in families, but not everyone in a family can have it.
How does this affect everyday life?
If left unchecked, bipolar disorder can cause problems in many areas of life, including your work, relationships, sleep, health, and money. This can lead to risky behavior. It can be stressful for people who care about you and don’t know how to help you or don’t understand what’s going on.
Many people with bipolar disorder have problems with drugs or alcohol. They may drink or abuse drugs to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms of their mood swings. Substance abuse can also occur, as part of the recklessness and pleasure-seeking associated with mania.
Thought of suicide
People with bipolar disorder are 10 to 20 times more likely to commit suicide than others. Warning signs include talking about suicide, getting your affairs in order, and doing very risky things. In the United States, if you know someone who may be at risk, call one of these hotlines: 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) and 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255). If the person plans to commit suicide, call 911 or get them to the emergency room or your local support right away.
How do doctors diagnose it?
An important step is to rule out other possible causes of extreme mood swings, including other conditions or side effects of certain medications. Your doctor will monitor you and ask you questions. You can also do lab tests. A psychologist or psychiatrist usually makes the diagnosis after carefully considering all these things. They may also talk to people who know you well to find out if there have been any major changes in your mood and behavior.
What drugs do they treat it with?
There are different types of prescription drugs for bipolar disorder. They include mood stabilizers that prevent peaks and dips, as well as antidepressants and antipsychotics. When people are not in a manic or depressive phase, people usually take maintenance medication to prevent a relapse.
Talk Therapy for Bipolar Disorder
Counseling can help people stay on medication and manage their lives. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on changing the thoughts and behaviors associated with mood swings. Interpersonal therapy aims to relieve the pressure that bipolar disorder puts on personal relationships. Social rhythm therapy helps people develop and maintain daily routines.
what you can do
Daily habits cannot cure bipolar disorder. But it helps to make sure you get enough sleep, eat regularly and exercise. Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs, as they can make symptoms worse. If you have bipolar disorder, you need to know your “red flags” — signs that the condition is active — and have a plan for what to do if this happens to get help as soon as possible.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
This treatment, performed while you sleep under general anesthesia, can quickly improve the mood symptoms of bipolar disorder. It uses an electrical current to trigger a seizure in the brain. This is one of the fastest ways to relieve severe symptoms. ECT is often a safe and effective treatment option for severe mood episodes, when medication has not led to a significant improvement in symptoms. It is a safe and very effective treatment.
let people in
If you have bipolar disorder, consider telling the people you are closest to, such as your spouse or immediate family, so they can help you manage the condition. Try to explain how it affects you and what you need. With their support, you may feel more connected and motivated to stick to your treatment plan.
Concerned about someone?
Many people with bipolar disorder don’t realize they have a problem or avoid asking for help. If you think a friend or family member has it, encourage them to talk to a doctor or mental health professional who can investigate what’s going on and refer them for treatment. Be sensitive to his feelings and remember that it takes an expert to diagnose him. But if it’s bipolar disorder or another mental illness, treatment can help.
dr. Isoux Jr. Jerome, Psy. d