What is Bipolar Disorder?
Formerly referred to as manic depressive illness, bipolar disorder is a mood or behavioural disorder where a person has two extreme behavioural patterns – depressive (or low) and extremely up (maniac) or energetic. In between the person can function normally and is quite well. It also causes unusual and sudden shifts in mood, behaviour, focus, productivity and the ability to carry out day to day tasks.
Signs of Bipolar Disorder
People having this disorder go through consistent depressive behavior which is usually intense. Changes in sleep patterns, doing activities without realizing or understanding the effects or outcomes are some of the signs. These distinct periods are called “mood episodes”. Mood episodes are of longer periods whose symptoms last every day for most of the day or for weeks or months.
Some prominent signs may be-
- Talk very fast with thoughts racing, OR
- Very slow with trouble in concentrating and focusing.
- Can think of doing a lot of things at once, OR
- Unable to do simple things.
- Do risky things, show poor judgement, lack of interest, hopelessness, OR
- Feel unusually important, energetic, powerful and increased interest
Sometimes both depressive and maniac in the same episode or situation can be felt which means at the same time feeling empty and hollow and also energetic.
Types of Bipolar Disorder
- BIPOLAR I DISORDER: Maniac episodes which last at least 7 days which are severe enough to require immediate hospitalization in order to prevent harm to oneself. Depressive and maniac feature both could be felt together.
- BIPOLAR II DISORDER: This is a pattern of depressive and hypo maniac( milder form of maniac) episode and not the extreme maniac like case I. it’s symptoms can be insomnia, fatigue, unexplained crying, loss of interest in things which the person used to get amused previously, suicidal thoughts, etc.
- CYCLOTHYMIC DISORDER: It is also called cyclothymia. It consists of sudden bouts of mood swings. This develops in adolescence. Mood swings may not seem severe at first but if left untreated, may increase the risk of bipolar disorder with age.
Medication, Diagnosis, and Cure
The most important thing is to first recognize the symptoms and be diagnosed with it. Speaking out and talking to any licensed health care practitioner may help to a great extent. It is a chronic disorder, so treatment needs to be going and continuous. Medications also take an active role in its treatment. Mood stabilizers, antidepressants, etc are to be taken daily and regularly to be effective.
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