Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder characterized by extreme shifts in mood. It is also known as manic depressive illness. Normally every individual experiences variation in their mood, but these changes in bipolar disorder are intense than usual mood changes and can be very distressing for the person. An individual with bipolar disorder has problems managing everyday tasks/chores and has problems in maintaining relationships.
This illness comes in phases or episodes. These phases or episodes are either Mania or Depression. To diagnose it as mania the symptoms should be seen for at least a week whereas in depression two weeks of symptoms qualify to be called as an episode of depression.
SYMPTOMS OF MANIA
- Feels excessive energy
- Difficulty to sit in one place
- Disturbance in appetite
- Reduced sleep
- Increased religious and spiritual involvement
- Over talkativeness
- Making and planning big projects
- Feels that he has something big to do
- Increased irritability and aggressive behaviour
- Increased intake of Alcohol and other substance
SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION
- Low and sad mood
- Low energy in the body
- Poor hygiene
- Changes in sleep and appetite are seen
- Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness
- Thoughts or attempts of suicide
- Irritable Mood
Causes of Bipolar Disorder:
- Environment factors
- Traumatic experiences
- Physical illness
- Extreme stress
TYPES OF BIPOLAR DISORDER
Mania: A state wherein an individual feels high emotions such as excitement, impulsiveness, and energetic. In the manic phase, an individual is engaged in spending and sometimes the use of drugs.
Hypomania: It is a similar form of mania, but not as severe as mania. Unlike mania, hypomania may not result in any trouble at work, school, or in social relations. However, individuals may feel changes in moods.
Depression: Behaviors include sadness, hopelessness, low self- esteem, loss of energy, lack of interest in activities, fear of the crowd, avoiding social gatherings etc.
When people were asked to explain the feeling of bipolar disorder, they responded:
- “It can be difficult to physically move, I tend to sleep 1o, or even 12 hours a day”.
- “I have found my bipolar disorder to be exhilarating, dark and painful. I found that one of the benefits of this disorder was the creativity, energy and euphoria that come with the mania. For the longest time I didn’t realise it was mania”.
- “One giveaway is the extremes. Everyone’s self-esteem fluctuates somewhat, but if you are feeling on top of the world, like you can do no wrong and are the “best” at everything one minute, and completely hopeless and self-flagellating the next, it’s probably bipolar”.
Bipolar disorder is a completely treatable condition. With the right treatment, an episode should resolve in around 2-4 weeks.
Medication/Pharmacotherapy: The common medication for bipolar treatment includes mood stabilizers, anti-depressants, sleep medication and antipsychotic medication. The medication is prescribed by the doctors after evaluating the symptoms.
Hospitalisation: patients may require inpatient treatment due to their insight and ability to comply with outpatient treatment. Also in the case where the patient becomes violent, aggressive, has psychotic symptoms and there is a threat to self or others then inpatient treatment is required for clinical observation and management of the symptoms.
Psychotherapy: One of the effective treatments for individuals suffering from bipolar disorder is talking therapy. Generally, individuals have felt that talking to a mental health professional has helped them in healing and controlling their mind. It focuses on educating the patient and family about the early warning signs of the illness so that treatment can be sought at the earliest. If medications are stopped prematurely, as they sometimes are done by patients, then there is a high risk of relapse.