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BIPOLAR DISORDER

by | Mar 9, 2021 | Body Image, Mental Health, people | 0 comments

No one feels the same from day to day or even hour to hour, but the shift in mood and energy caused by bipolar disorder can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to function. Occasional changes are normal, when those changes occur often, or without obvious reason, they maybe a reason for concern. For some, this could be signs of a mental health disorder known as bipolar disorder. Not everyone who has bipolar disorder knows they have it. There are lots of reason why someone with bipolar disorder might deny having it even if they do because not everyone who has bipolar disorder has been properly diagnosed or is receiving treatment, it is important to understand the symptoms and know when to seek help.

DEFINITION OF BIPOLAR DISORDER

Bipolar disorder also known as manic depression, is a mental illness that brings severe high and low moods and changes in sleep, energy, thinking and behavior. People who have bipolar disorder can have periods in which they feel overly happy and energized and other periods of feeling very sad, hopeless, and sluggish. Also, bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes unusual shifts in energy, mood, concentration, and the ability to perform activities of daily living.

PHASES/ EPISODES OF BIPOLAR DISORDER

These shifts in mood, referred to as bipolar phases or bipolar episodes, which are emotional highs (Mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).

Highs and lows associated with emotion are usually temporary for most people while people with bipolar disorder however, experience more dramatic changes in mood; it happens anytime, without warning and may last for long periods of time.

Mania phase of bipolar disorder is characterized by the excitement that manifest as mental and physical hyperactivity, the elevation of mood, and disorganized behavior are usually “out of control”.

Hypomania phase of bipolar disorder is less severe form of mania. During this phase of hypomania, mood and energy levels are heightened but they are not “out of control” like the mania phase.

Depressive phase of bipolar disorder is characterized by significant sadness, hopelessness, irritability, and changes in appetite, sleep patterns or weights.

CAUSES OF BIPOLAR DISORDER

There is no single cause of bipolar disorder, scientist/researchers are still studying how a few factors may lead to it in some people.

  • Biological Differences: People with bipolar disorder appear to have physical changes in their brains. The way the brain develops may also play a role. The significance of these changes is still uncertain but may eventually help pinpoint causes.
  • Genetics: Bipolar disorder is more common in people who have first degree relative, such as a sibling or parent, with the condition.

However, scientist/ researchers are aren’t sure of the exact gene that maybe involved in causing bipolar disorder.

SIGNS/SYMPTOMS OF BIPOLAR DISORDER

In bipolar disorder, the dramatic episodes of high and low moods do not follow a set pattern. These episodes can happen over a period of weeks, months, and sometimes even years.

How severe it gets differs from person to person and can also change over time, becoming more or less severe.

 Symptoms of mania (“the highs”):

A person with bipolar order may have the following;

  • Excessive happiness, hopefulness and excitement.
  • Sudden changes from being joyful to being irritable, angry and hostile.
  • Restlessness.
  • Rapid speech and poor concentration.
  • Increased energy and less need for sleep.
  • Unusually high sex drive.
  • Making unrealistic plans.
  • Showing poor judgment.
  • Drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Becoming more impulsive.
  • Less need for sleep.
  • Less of an appetite.
  • Larger sense of self-confidence and well-being.
  • Being easily distracted.

Symptoms of depressive periods (“the low”):

A person with bipolar disorder may have the following;

  • Sadness.
  • Loss of energy.
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Not enjoying things they once liked.
  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Forgetfulness.
  • Talking slowly.
  • Less of a sex drive.
  • Inability to feel pleasure.
  • Uncontrollable crying.
  • Trouble making decisions.
  • Irritability.
  • Needing more sleep.
  • Insomnia.
  • Appetite changes that make you lose or gain weight.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide.

HOW BIPOLAR DISORDER CAN LEAD TO SUICIDE AND WHEN TO GET HELP

Some people who have bipolar disorder may become suicidal. Learn the warning signs and seek immediate medical help for them.

Suicidal warning signs of bipolar disorder includes;

  • Depression( changes in eating, sleeping, and activities)
  • Isolating yourself from people( family, friends, loved ones etc)
  • Talking about suicide, hopelessness, or helplessness
  • Acting recklessly
  • Taking more risks
  • Having more accidents
  • Abusing alcohol or other drugs
  • Focusing on negatives thoughts
  • Talking about death and dying.
  • Crying more, or becoming less emotionally expressive
  • Giving away possessions.

After a person learns they have bipolar disorder, it can be hard to accept the reality of it because living with any mental illness can be very difficult, and bipolar disorder has its own challenges.

Before it leads to suicide, if you or someone you know has symptoms of bipolar disorder, someone who have observed or noticed the occurrence of these symptoms (“the highs and lows) also need to check the suicidal warning signs, and should be referred to a doctor or a psychiatrist. They will ask questions about mental illness that you or the person you are concerned about, have had, and any mental illness that run in the family. The person will also get a complete psychiatric evaluation to tell if they have bipolar disorder or any mental health condition.

Diagnosing bipolar disorder is all about the person’s symptoms and determining whether they may be the result of another cause (such as low thyroid or mood symptoms caused by drug or alcohol abuse). How severe are they? How long have they lasted? How often do these symptoms happen?

The most telling symptoms are those that involves highs and low in mood, along with changes in sleep, energy, thinking and behavior. Talking to close friends and family of the person can often help the doctor distinguish bipolar disorder from major depressive disorder.

BIPOLAR DISORDER TREATMENTS

Bipolar disorder can be treated. It’s a long term condition that needs ongoing care. Medication is the main treatment, usually involving the following; mood stabilizers, antipsychotic drugs, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications or sleep medicines.

It can take a while to find the right combination for you. You may need to try a few things before you and your doctor figure out what works best.

Talk therapy is also recommended. Options include Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (ISPRT), Cognitive behavioral therapy, Psycho-education, and family focused therapy.

Others can be Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), Acupuncture, supplement etc.

Lifestyle changes may also help:

  • Get regular exercise.
  • Stay on a schedule for eating and sleeping.
  • Learn to recognize your mood swings.
  • Get support from friends, or groups.
  • Learn to manage stress.
  • Find healthy hobbies or sports.
  • Don’t drink alcohol or use recreational drugs.

For most people, a good treatment program can stabilize their moods and help ease symptoms. Ongoing treatment is more effective than dealing with problems as they come up.

BROWN, GEORGE VIVIAN MOTHER
(Bsc, Msc, Counselling Psychology).

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