Bipolar Disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a mental disorder linked to episodes of mood swings that range from manic highs to depressive lows. The actual cause of bipolar remains a mystery though various physical and environmental issues can heighten the possibility of getting it. Some people also develop bipolar disorder because their brain structure and chemistry are altered. A person experiencing a manic episode may have high energy and a reduced need for sleep. They may also lose touch with reality. In contrast, when depressive episodes hit, some individuals will showcase symptoms like low motivation, low energy, and loss of interest in daily chores and activities. Bipolar disorder is one of the most prevalent illnesses that remains a mystery, with dire situations leading people to have suicidal thoughts and mood disorders that last from days to months at a time. It is crucial to explore what bipolar disorder is, its causes, risk factors, and warning signs to get medical help.
Researchers and scientists in the medical community remain baffled by the exact cause of bipolar disorder. However, several factors may play a role in instigating it, biological differences and genetics.
It is important to note that people with bipolar disorder seem to have physical alterations in their brains. These biological differences may aggravate the situation though the significance of these changes remains uncertain (NAMI, 2017). Nonetheless, researchers are hopeful that future investigations will reveal the connection between these variations and the development of bipolar disorder in some people.
Research has established that people with bipolar disorder may have first-degree relatives with the illness. The disorder is more common among these family members, that is, people with siblings or parents with the condition. Current investigations are trying to uncover the genes responsible for causing bipolar disorder.
Several factors could boost the chances of someone developing bipolar disorder. Some of them may act as triggers for a first-time episode and include:
1. Drugs or alcohol abuse (NAMI, 2017)
2. Blood relations, such as a sibling or parent, with the condition
3. Periods of extreme stress, such as the death of a loved one or another traumatic event
Individuals experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder should visit medical institutions as the mental disorder could cause severe problems in areas of someone's life, such as:
· Poor school or work performance
· Ruined relationships
· Suicide attempts or suicide
· Drug and alcohol issues
· Financial or legal problems
Many people with bipolar disorder worldwide do not know they have the illness. They will most likely attribute extreme mood swings to stressful events and chalk it up to a bad day, unaware of the danger beneath the manic depressive illness.
Many people with bipolar disorder regularly have another health condition that must be addressed with the illness. It is important to note that some states may boost manic depressive disorder and exacerbate the symptoms. These conditions could lead to less successful treatment and include:
1. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
2. Anxiety disorders
3. Alcohol or drug problems
4. Eating disorders
5. Physical health issues like thyroid problems, obesity, heart disease, or headaches
Many people with bipolar disorder may also have other health conditions that must be treated to effectively help mood stabilizers work (Mayo Clinic, 2022). Visiting a healthcare practitioner allows someone to get the help they need to improve their mental health and address any other underlying condition.
There are several types of bipolar, a brain disorder, though the most common are bipolar i and bipolar ii. People with bipolar I develop severe manic depression, while those experiencing bipolar ii get milder episodes.
The bipolar disorder sometimes runs in families, with research suggesting that various genes may boost the potential of this risk. People with bipolar disorder usually get diagnosed before they reach age 25 though some individuals demonstrate symptoms for the first time later.
It is difficult distinguishing between depressive episodes that happen as a result of unipolar, regular depression, and those resulting from bipolar disorder. A correct diagnosis is vital to the proper treatment of bipolar disorder. Medications used to ease the symptoms of unipolar depression may work differently for a bipolar individual, triggering manic episodes in people with the illness (Mayo Clinic, 2022). A doctor must perform a physical exam to treat bipolar disorder effectively through accurate diagnosis. They will ask about your symptoms and recommend conducting a blood test to ascertain if another condition, such as hypothyroidism, may be causing the symptoms. If the doctor does not discern any underlying cause for the signs, they will perform a psychological evaluation.
A psychology specialist will ask if someone has a history of bipolar in the family during a psychology evaluation. They will also ask about cases of anxiety disorders or depression. The specialist also asks about a person's symptoms, when they started, and how long they took (Mayo Clinic, 2022). They will also want to know about the severity of these issues, whether they have occurred in the past, and, if so, how they were handled.
The specialist will then ask you if you use drugs or alcohol and if you have any suicidal thoughts or thoughts about death. Additionally, you may be asked to complete a questionnaire clarifying how your symptoms affect your life (Mayo Clinic, 2022). Speaking with your partner, relatives, or close friends about your history and symptoms is also essential. This will help a mental health specialist come up with a better picture of your mental disorder and discern if bipolar disorder is the cause of your symptoms.
Once the specialist is through assessing your family history and symptoms, they will conduct a feedback session to discuss the diagnosis and develop appropriate treatment methods.
Bipolar disorder patients suffer from one mood disorder though several exist. They may have associated disorders, including hypomanic episodes, depressive episodes, or manic episodes. Bipolar affective disorder is a mental disorder whose symptoms include unpredictable mood and behavioral changes. These result in significant distress and cause difficulty in life. We will take a look at several mental illnesses that can be classified as bipolar disorder.
1. Bipolar I disorder
2. Bipolar II disorder
3. Cyclothymic disorder
4. Other types of bipolar disorders
A person with bipolar I disorder has experienced at least one manic episode that would have been followed by or preceded by major depressive episodes or hypomania (Mayo Clinic, 2022). In some instances, bipolar disorder patients experiencing mania could be triggered by the manic phase, leading to psychotic symptoms or a break from reality.
People experiencing this type of bipolar have experienced at least one depression phase and at least a hypomanic episode (Mayo Clinic, 2022). These people have never experienced a manic episode.
In this case, a person has showcased at least two years as an adult or one year as a child or teenager several periods of hypomanic symptoms (Mayo Clinic, 2022). Such a person has also experienced some periods of depressive illness, though they are less severe than major depression.
There are other different types of mania and depression associated with bipolar, otherwise known as manic depressive illness. These can result from alcohol or drug abuse or sometimes owing to medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Cushing's disease, or stroke (Mayo Clinic, 2022).
It is essential to distinguish that bipolar ii is not a milder form of bipolar I but rather a separate diagnosis. While an individual that showcases manic symptoms may put themselves in difficult and dangerous situations, people that suffer from bipolar ii disorder may be depressed for more extended periods (Mayo Clinic, 2022). This could result in significant impairment. While mania and depression leading to medical experts diagnosing bipolar disorder in a person could happen at any age, it is frequently identified and diagnosed in the teenage years or someone's early adulthood. These symptoms can vary from one individual to another and take different forms over time, ranging from mania to depressive illness.
Mania and hypomania can be defined as different types of episodes though they exhibit the same symptoms. We could classify mania as a more severe case of hypomania as it leads to noticeable issues at work, socially, or at work. It could also cause relationship difficulties and trigger psychosis or a break from reality (Mayo Clinic, 2022). An individual, in this case, would need hospitalization. It is important to note that this medical condition will entail three or more of the following symptoms:
1. Racing thoughts
2. Unusual shifts in mood
3. Unusual talkativeness
5. Decreased need for sleep
6. Abnormally wired, jumpy, or upbeat
7. Euphoria, or an exaggerated self-confidence and sense of well-being
8. Increased agitation, energy, or activity
9. Poor decision-making, e.g., making foolish investments, taking sexual risks, or going on buying sprees
A major depressive episode elicits various symptoms that may be severe enough to result in visible difficulties in conducting activities such as school and work and focusing on relationships and social activities. Such a bipolar disorder episode demonstrates five or more of the following symptoms:
1. Loss of energy or fatigue
2. Slowed behavior or restlessness
3. Disinterest or loss of pleasure in almost all or all activities
4. Sleeping too much or insomnia
5. Inappropriate or excessive guilt or feeling of worthlessness
6. Significant weight loss, weight gain, an increase or decrease in appetite
7. Failure to gain weight as expected when it comes to children could be a sign of depression
8. Depressed mood leads to feelings of hopelessness, emptiness, sadness, or tearfulness. Children and teenagers can appear to be irritable when they have a depressed mood
9. Planning, thinking about, or attempting suicide
10. Reduced capacity to concentrate or think, or indecisiveness
There are other ways for manic depression to manifest itself. This is one of the mental disorders with numerous studies published to understand it despite its unknown origins. To this end, scientists have determined that bipolar I disorder and bipolar ii have signs and symptoms that deviate from the established ones. These include melancholy, anxious distress, or psychosis. It is also vital that the timing of these illnesses' symptoms may have diagnostic names like rapid or mixed cycling. Furthermore, a person may experience bipolar based on changing seasons or during pregnancy.
Children manifest this brain disorder in a somewhat similar way to adults though their symptoms may be misdiagnosed as something else, making it challenging to identify the problem in kids. It is frequently troublesome to determine whether it is a mental disorder or the child is experiencing routine ups and downs. This group is challenging to examine regarding the results of trauma or stress or signs they have other mental disorders other than bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder involves various episodes, mainly major depression or manic or hypomanic periods. However, the pattern can differ significantly from adults with mood disorders. If a child has this illness, otherwise known as manic depressive illness, they may experience rapid mood swings during the episodes. Some of these children may experience periods of calm between bouts.
The largest demonstration of this mental illness in children and teenagers includes severe mood swings that vary significantly from their usual mood swings.
It is imperative to come up with coping strategies to use daily when managing bipolar disorder. This is in tandem with seeking professional help. We will now look at various strategies to cope with bipolar disorder. If you want to self-manage the mood disorder, if you want to track your mood, or get into a routine.
Working with a mental health professional is crucial if you are diagnosed with bipolar disorder. This would save you the trouble of self-management (Carpenter, 2021). However, research suggests that self-help strategies created with your mental health practitioner will make a huge difference in managing one's bipolar disorder.
A person's changes in mood when it comes to bipolar disorder may result in getting triggered by changes in sleep or stress. Creating a daily routine is essential for everyone, especially someone with bipolar disorder. Let us look at the strategies you can try to manage your everyday life.
1. Monitor your mood. You must keep a journal that records your daily mood. This includes medication, sleep, and events that could cause significant mood changes. Using an app or chart may help with this.
2. Create a schedule. Coming up with a routine will help stabilize your mood. You can organize your schedule and stick to it despite your mood. This will also help maintain stability.
3. Sleep hygiene. Changes to a person's sleep patterns can alter their circadian rhythm, adversely impacting their mood (Reach Out). You should read various educational books to learn how to fall into correct sleep routines.
4. Limit stress. It is also vital to limit stressors in one's life. One should not take on too many commitments and reduce stress where possible. This could mean taking one less subject for a semester or taking longer breaks during the work day.
5. Take time when making decisions. It is also essential to take some time before making a decision or asking someone, such as a trusted friend or family member, to help you make decisions when you are impulsive.
6. Build a strong support network. One should also consider the power of an exemplary network when dealing with mental disorders. Your family and friends can help you manage everyday life by getting an outsider's perspective on your mood disorders (Carpenter, 2021). These people can also be present when you need someone to talk to when facing difficult moments.
7. Join a support group. It is also reassuring to hear from people experiencing similar issues. In this instance, a support group can provide comfort and offer excellent advice (Reach Out). You may also begin an anonymous conversation with others in your condition on reach-out forums and WhatsApp groups.
8. Take time to relax. The best form of stress removal is relaxation.
9. Exercise. Regular exercise is an excellent way to manage your stress.
10. Take prescribed medications. Do not change your medications without talking to your general practitioner or psychiatrist.
11. Avoid taking alcohol and drugs. These forms of intoxicants can make your moods worse. This is especially the case if you are on medication. Talk to your doctor or psychiatrist if there is any problem.
12. Make a suicide safety plan. You must make a preemptive method to manage low depression and suicidal thoughts.
13. Come up with a well-being plan. Another way to manage bipolar illness is to maintain a record for effectively managing sleep and routines (Reach Out). It is also essential to plan how you will manage the highs and lows and note down details of contacts in case you need help. It would help to make this plan with a mental health professional and forward a copy to family and friends.
You will develop a deeper understanding of yourself and how bipolar disorder affects you in therapy. It is also important to work with the therapist on the strategies and techniques for controlling one's symptoms and stabilizing one's mood (Carpenter, 2021). The therapist will also help ride out all episodes an individual may have and eventually help with all other mood episodes in the future. Individuals can live a mundane life without drama once they are in control of their lives and have a good grasp of their treatment without being derailed by bipolar illness.
Carpenter, E. (2021, February 9). Can I live a normal life with bipolar disorder?. Thrive Counseling. https://thrivecounselingdenver.com/bipolar-disorder/normal-life-with-bipolar-disorder/#:~:text=Many%20people%20who%20have%20treated,of%20bipolar%20disorder%20derailing%20you.
Mayo Clinic. (2022, December 13). Bipolar disorder. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355961
NAMI. (2017, August). Bipolar disorder. NAMI. https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Bipolar-Disorder
Reach Out. (n.d.). Self-management for bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder | ReachOut Australia. https://au.reachout.com/articles/self-management-for-bipolar-disorder#:~:text=Self%2Dhelp%20strategies%20for%20bipolar%20disorder,chart%20or%20app%20to%20help.
Write an 8-page essay on bipolar disorder. Your paper should be comprehensive. Make sure at the end of your essay, someone who does not know anything about the disease knows everything about it. You can use outside sources. Use APA 7th edition to cite your sources.
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