- Posted on: May 19 2020
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mental health diagnosis that is characterized by mood swings that usually include emotional highs, classified as mania, and emotional lows, classified as depressive episodes. Depressive episodes occur when one feels down, hopeless, or loses interest in activities. On the other hand, manic episodes occur when one feels full of energy, erratic, and is easily irritated. This swing from depressive to manic episodes can disrupt daily functioning such as sleep, eating, judgment, and productivity. There are a few types of Bipolar disorders: Bipolar I, Bipolar II, and cyclothymic disorder. Bipolar I is classified as one manic episode followed or preceded by a depressive disorder. On the other hand, bipolar II is when one has a hypomanic episode, which is when the symptoms are less severe, and one depressive episode. Cyclothymic disorder is classified as periods of hypomania and depression that span over two years. These episodes can occur multiple times a year or rarely. Bipolar disorder is a chronic condition that can usually be well managed with medication and psychotherapy.
What causes Bipolar Disorder?
The exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, but there has been some research on factors that might be related. For example, it is believed that genetics plays a role in developing bipolar disorder, as the disease is more common in patients with first degree relatives with the disease. Additionally, stressful life events, alcohol, or drug use can trigger an episode of bipolar disorder.
What are the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?
If you think you have bipolar disorder, you should look for signs of mania, hypomania, or depression. Mania symptoms can be displayed as feeling jumpy, increased energy, an exaggerated sense of self-being, increased talkativeness, decreased need for sleep, poor judgment, or racing thoughts. Hypomanic episodes will have these characteristics but at a less severe level. Major depressive episodes include symptoms of feeling sad or sorrow, having loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite, changes in sleep patterns, fatigue, feeling of worthlessness, or inability to focus. These symptoms of mania or depression will be severe enough to affect daily responsibilities. If you feel you are experiencing these symptoms, take this test here.
How to manage and treat Bipolar Disorder?
If you believe you are displaying symptoms of bipolar disorder, it is best to speak with your doctor. There is no prevention of bipolar disorder, but if you have been diagnosed you may be able to prevent minor episodes from worsening to all-out episodes. It is best for you to recognize your triggers and alert your doctor or loved ones if you are experiencing a minor episode. Additionally, you should avoid alcohol or recreational drugs as they can lead to mood dysregulation. Your doctor will most likely prescribe medication and psychotherapy to treat bipolar disorder. It is vital that you follow the recommendations, and not to discontinue treatment even if you are feeling better. For more information on treatment options click here.
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