Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic-depressive disorder, is a mental disorder characterized by extreme mood swings that involve constant fluctuations between depressive states (low mood) and manic and euphoric states (high mood), each of which Mood episodes can last for several days to several weeks.
People with bipolar disorder experience mood swings between depression and euphoria in alternating periods.
A person suffering from this disorder becomes sad or disappointed when depression occurs and loses interest and pleasure in most daily activities. When a person’s mood turns to mania, he feels full of energy; It also gives him an incredible feeling of happiness and joy, along with a lot of irritability. People in this situation often make impulsive and sudden decisions without paying attention to their actions’ consequences. In the mania stage, the need for sleep usually decreases. These mood swings can affect a person’s sleep, energy level, daily activities, judgment, behavior, and thinking ability.
The interval between these mood changes may vary from several days to several months. Most people also experience some emotional symptoms in between mood swings, although some may experience no symptoms at all. Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness with no definitive cure, you can quickly and largely control your mood swings and other symptoms by following a treatment plan. The good news is that most of the time, bipolar disorder is treated with medication and psychological counseling (psychotherapy).
A person with bipolar disorder experiences changes in their mood, energy level, and activities that can make everyday life difficult for them. Bipolar disorder can cause severe disturbances in a person’s life, but the extent of its impact on different people is different. People with this disorder can live whole and productive lives with proper treatment and support. On average, this disease is diagnosed around 25, but its symptoms can appear during adolescence or years after that. The proportion of men and women suffering from this disorder is equal.
What is bipolar disorder?
The US National Institute of Mental Health states that the main characteristic of bipolar disorder is alternating periods of high and low mood. Among the complications of this disorder, we can mention the change in energy level, sleep pattern, and ability to concentrate, which can significantly affect behavior, job status, relationships, and other aspects of a person’s life.
Most people experience mood swings occasionally, but the conditions associated with bipolar disorder are more severe than ordinary mood swings, and other symptoms may accompany these mood swings. Some people also experience psychotic states and mood changes, including delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia.
Between these mood swings and changes, a person’s mood may be stable for months or even years, especially if they follow a treatment plan to control their disorder.
Proper treatment and follow-up enable many people with bipolar disorder to work, study and live a whole and productive life like a healthy person. However, when the therapy helps the person to feel better and stabilize, the patient may stop taking the medication and not continue it. In these conditions, symptoms can return quickly.
Some aspects of bipolar disorder can make a person feel good. In a high mood (manic state), a person is usually more emotional, cheerful, and creative.
However, the likelihood that the mania and high spirits will last is very low. Even if this happens, staying focused or following through on plans and tasks in this work mode is challenging. For example, a persistent manic state can prevent a person from being able to complete a project and bring it to completion.
According to the International Association of Bipolar Disorder, the symptoms of this disease are different for different people. For some people, a mood can last for months or even years. For others, swings between euphoria and depression may occur quickly and in succession.
In “rapid cycling” bipolar disorder, a person may experience at least four mood swings in a year.
Manic or hypomania.
Hypomania and mania are high-mood states. But mania is more intense than hypomania.
The symptoms of these conditions can be as follows;
- Impaired judgment
- Sleeping less without feeling tired
- Feeling distracted or bored
- Arriving late to work or school
- Experiencing strange feelings
- Poor performance at work or school
- Feeling able to do anything
- Being friendly and forward-looking, sometimes with high intensity
- Doing risky behaviors
- Increased libido and passion for life
- Feeling cheerful or euphoric
- High level of self-confidence, self-esteem, and feeling of excessive importance
- Talking a lot and fast
- Jumping from one topic to another during a conversation
- The experience of “sudden” thoughts that come to one’s mind quickly and are forgotten just as quickly, and strange ideas that one may act on.
- Not recognizing that some issues are wrong or denying that they are wrong.
Some people with bipolar disorder may occasionally overspend, use drugs or alcohol recreationally, and engage in dangerous or inappropriate activities.
Symptoms of depression.
During a period of depression associated with bipolar disorder, a person may experience the following feelings;
- Feelings of sadness, despair, and despair
- Extreme sadness
- Insomnia and sleep problems
- Anxiety about minor issues
- Pain or physical problems that do not respond to treatment.
- Guilt that may be misplaced.
- Increased or decreased appetite
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Excessive fatigue and lethargy
- Inability to enjoy activities or interests that generally bring pleasure.
- Difficulty concentrating and remembering
- Sensitivity to sound, smell, and other things others may not notice.
- Inability to go to work or study on time or lack of work in these two cases
In severe cases, people may think about ending their life or even act on these thoughts.
If one of these two states of depression or euphoria is very severe, a person may have psychosis. In this case, a person may struggle to distinguish between fantasy and reality.
According to the International Bipolar Foundation, symptoms of euphoric psychosis include hallucinations, which include hearing or seeing things that aren’t there, delusions, and false and untrue beliefs that seem overwhelmingly real. A delusional person may believe that someone is famous or has high social connections, or that they have special powers.
During a period of depression or low mood, a person may believe that they have committed a crime or have completely ruined their life and are poor and needy.
Types of bipolar disorders.
Any person may suffer from one of the three types of bipolar disorder. According to the American Mental Health Association, the symptoms of these disorders are classified in the same spectrum and close to each other, and the distinction between their types is not always clear.
Bipolar disorder type I
- The person must have experienced at least one manic episode.
- The person may have experienced an episode of major depression before.
- The doctor must rule out the possibility of other disorders, such as schizophrenia and delusional disorders.
Bipolar disorder type II
In bipolar disorder type 2, periods of mania and euphoria occur, but the predominant state is depression.
To diagnose type 2 bipolar disorder, a person must have the following conditions;
- History of one or more episodes of depression
- Experiencing at least one episode of mania and euphoria
- There are no other diagnoses to explain the mood changes.
- A person may feel and perform well in a state of mania and euphoria, but his mood does not remain stable, and there is a possibility of depression.
People sometimes think of bipolar II disorder as a milder version. However, it is different for different people. As stated by the American Mental Health Association, people with bipolar disorder type 2 may experience more and more frequent episodes of depression than people with bipolar disorder type 1.
According to the NHS, cyclothymia has similar characteristics to bipolar disorder, but the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders classifies it separately. This disorder includes hypomania and depression, but the changes are less severe.
Diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
A psychiatrist can diagnose bipolar disorder by using the criteria set in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
The US National Institute of Mental Health has stated that for a definitive diagnosis of type 1 bipolar disorder, a person must have experienced the symptoms of this disease for at least seven days, Or if the symptoms are so severe that the person needs to be hospitalized, a shorter period is sufficient. It is also possible that the person has gone through a depression period of at least two weeks.
For a definitive diagnosis of bipolar disorder type 2, a person must have experienced at least one period of euphoria and depression.
The doctor may prescribe a physical examination and some diagnostic tests, including blood and urine tests, to help rule out other possible causes.
Diagnosing bipolar disorder can be challenging for the doctor because more people go to the doctor with a low mood and in a state of depression, not with a high mood and in a state of mania. As a result, it may be difficult for the physician to distinguish this disorder from depression.
If the person has psychosis, the doctor may misdiagnose his condition as schizophrenia.
Other complications that may occur with bipolar disorder are as follows;
- Using drugs or alcohol to cope with symptoms
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- anxiety disorder
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
The American Mental Health Association advises doctors and mental health professionals to look for symptoms of mania and euphoria in a person’s medical history to avoid misdiagnosis. In addition, it should be remembered that some antidepressants can cause a sensation in susceptible people.
A person with a definitive diagnosis of bipolar disorder has a lifelong diagnosis. These people may experience long periods of stability, but they will always live with the disorder, and there is the possibility of a relapse at any moment.
Treatment of bipolar disorder.
The goal of treatment is to stabilize the person’s mood and reduce the severity of symptoms, helping a person achieve effective functioning in their daily life.
Treatment of this disorder includes a combination of treatment methods, including:
- Physical intervention
- Make lifestyle changes
It may take some time to get a proper diagnosis and get the right treatment because people’s reactions to treatment and symptoms of this disorder are very different.
Drug treatments can help stabilize mood and manage the symptoms of this disorder. Psychiatric specialists usually prescribe a combination of the following;
- Mood stabilizers, such as lithium
- Second-generation antipsychotic drugs
- Anticonvulsants to eliminate mania
- Medicines to help with sleep problems or anxiety
The doctor may need to change the drug amount and type over time. Some drugs have side effects and have different effects on different people. If a person has problems with their drug treatment and is concerned about it, they should talk to their doctor.
A sick person should
- To reduce the risk of drug interactions, let your doctor know about other medications you are taking.
- Follow the doctor’s instructions about medications and treatment methods.
- Discuss with the doctor any concerns about the drugs’ side effects or the treatment’s effectiveness.
- Continue taking the medicine unless the doctor says it is safe to stop.
- Keep in mind that some medications may take time to work.
- If a person stops treatment halfway through, symptoms may worsen.
Psychotherapy and counseling.
Psychotherapy can help relieve symptoms and empower a person to manage bipolar disorder.
Through cognitive behavioral therapy and other approaches, a person can learn to
- Recognize essential factors such as stress and take steps to manage them.
- Identify the early signs of a mood swing and take steps to manage it.
- Work on factors that help maintain a stable mood.
- Get help from family members, teachers, and colleagues.
These steps can help a person maintain positive relationships at home and work. In addition, for children and adolescents with bipolar disorder, the doctor may recommend family therapy.
Being admitted to the hospital.
Some people may need to spend time in the hospital if there is a risk of harm to themselves or others from the person with this disorder.
The doctor may prescribe shock therapy if conventional treatment methods have not helped the person.
Make lifestyle changes.
Confident lifestyle choices can help maintain a stable mood and manage symptoms. These are:
- Maintaining a routine in daily work and academic affairs
- Follow a healthy and varied diet
- Creating a typical sleep pattern and preventing sleep disturbances
- Regular exercise
Some people use different types of supplements, but you should discuss this with your doctor first. Some of these supplements can interact with medications used for bipolar disorder. They may make symptoms worse.
Causes of bipolar disorder.
It seems that a combination of factors causes the occurrence of bipolar disorder;
Genetic factors: Bipolar disorder is more common in those who have a family member with the disease. Some genetic components may be involved in this.
Biological features: Research shows that imbalances in neurotransmitters or hormones that affect the brain can contribute to the disorder.
Environmental factors: Various events in each person’s life, such as abuse, mental stress, loss of loved ones, or another traumatic event, may cause this disorder in a susceptible person.
Bipolar disorder is a relatively common but serious mental illness involving changes in mood, energy level, and attention span.
This disease can severely disrupt a person’s life, but the correct treatment can dramatically improve the patient’s condition.
Treatment may not eliminate mood changes, but going to the doctor and working with him can control the symptoms of this disease to a great extent and improve the quality of life of the person.
What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic-depressive disorder, is a mental disorder characterized by extreme mood swings that involve constant fluctuations between depressive states (low mood) and manic and euphoric states (high mood). These mood swings can affect a person’s sleep, energy level, daily activities, judgment, behavior, and thinking ability.
What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?
Symptoms of bipolar disorder can vary depending on whether the person is in a manic or depressive state. In a manic state, symptoms can include impaired judgment, decreased need for sleep, feeling distracted or bored, increased libido, and a high level of self-confidence. In a depressive state, symptoms can include feelings of sadness, insomnia, anxiety, physical pain, guilt, changes in appetite, weight loss or gain, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.
How is bipolar disorder diagnosed?
A psychiatrist can diagnose bipolar disorder using the criteria set in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders. For a definitive diagnosis of type 1 bipolar disorder, a person must have experienced the symptoms of this disease for at least seven days, or if the symptoms are so severe that the person needs to be hospitalized, a shorter period is sufficient. It is also possible that the person has gone through a depression period of at least two weeks.
What are the treatment options for bipolar disorder?
Treatment of bipolar disorder includes a combination of methods such as medication, counseling, physical intervention, and lifestyle changes. Medications can include mood stabilizers, antidepressants, second-generation antipsychotic drugs, anticonvulsants, and medicines to help with sleep problems or anxiety. Psychotherapy can help relieve symptoms and empower a person to manage bipolar disorder.
What are the causes of bipolar disorder?
The causes of bipolar disorder are thought to be a combination of genetic factors, biological features, and environmental factors. It is more common in those who have a family member with the disease, suggesting some genetic components. Research also shows that imbalances in neurotransmitters or hormones that affect the brain can contribute to the disorder. Various life events such as abuse, mental stress, loss of loved ones, or other traumatic events may trigger the disorder in a susceptible person.
What are the different types of bipolar disorder?
There are three types of bipolar disorder: Bipolar disorder type I, Bipolar disorder type II, and cyclothymia. In Bipolar disorder type I, the person must have experienced at least one manic episode. Bipolar disorder type II is characterized by periods of mania and euphoria, but the predominant state is depression. Cyclothymia has similar characteristics to bipolar disorder, but the mood changes are less severe.
Can a person with bipolar disorder lead a normal life?
Yes, with proper treatment and support, people with bipolar disorder can live whole and productive lives. Treatment may not eliminate mood changes, but going to the doctor and working with him can control the symptoms of this disease to a great extent and improve the quality of life of the person.