Bipolar-Disorders

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition that can make it difficult for you to carry out your daily tasks. Although the complete treatment of the bipolar disorder is not possible, it can be managed successfully by certain medicines, therapies, and lifestyle changes. According to the statistics, one in every 150 people suffers from bipolar disorder in India. Out of the total cases of bipolar disorder in India, around 70% of the cases do not take any treatment and are thus left untreated. This is majorly due to a lack of awareness about bipolar disorder treatment. As earlier said, bipolar treatment can help relieve the symptoms of bipolar disorder. With the suddenly increased number of people suffering from bipolar disorder, it is important to spread awareness about it. 

Therefore, in this article let us talk about bipolar disorder, its symptoms, causes, triggering factors, and treatment.
Bipolar disorder is common and can cause irritation to the suffering patients and their loved ones. Sometimes, you may feel over-enthusiastic throughout the period of time and depressive at others. With an early diagnosis of the disorder, your doctor will prescribe you treatment that can effectively reduce your symptoms and episodes of mania, panic, and depression.

What are bipolar disorders?

Mood swings occur very commonly in all of us. But if these mood swings are due to manic depression or manic-depressive illness, it indicates a serious mental health condition known as bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is characterized by continuous states of mania and depression. In manic episodes, you may feel extremely energetic whereas during depressive episodes you might have a feeling of indifference or sadness. Apart from the mood shift, bipolar disorder also affects your focus and activity level. Untreated bipolar disorder can lead to problems in carrying out routine activities as well. Bipolar disorder can also put you at a risk of developing other physical health issues as well like high blood pressure, migraine, and even heart attack. Bipolar disorders can be of three types, type I, type II, and cyclothymic disorder.

Bipolar I

It is the most ancient and classic type of bipolar disorder that has episodes of both manic and depression. The manic episodes of bipolar I last for around 7 days or can be so severe that you may require medical attention. The manic episodes in bipolar 1 disorder are characterized by decreased requirement of sleep, increased energy, increased self-esteem, racing thoughts, and effect on concentration and appetite. Bipolar I can also have mixed episodes, that is, simultaneous episodes of depression and mania. People with bipolar I also experience psychosis, that is, the loss of contact with reality. Therefore, such people remain unsure of what’s real and what’s not. Such individuals may hear or see things that are not audible or visible to other people. 

Bipolar II

Bipolar II is characterized by the sudden episodes of hypomania, which is an unusual state of energy that can affect your thoughts, mood, and behavior. Manic bipolar II is not as severe as bipolar I and is usually shorter in duration. Patients with bipolar II disorder may also experience psychosis, however, it occurs less commonly. 

Cyclothymic disorder

People suffering from cyclothymia or cyclothymic disorder tend to shift from depression and mania more rapidly. The symptoms in such patients do not match the ones in bipolar I and II patients except for the fact that such patients also have episodes of mania and depression. 

What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?

People with bipolar disorders may experience a range of symptoms of depression and mania at different stages of their life cycle. The bipolar symptoms in mania and depressive episodes are different from each other.

Symptoms of bipolar mania

The common symptoms that you may experience in a manic episode are:

  • Having high energy or feeling extremely euphoric.
  • Your goal-directed behavior increases or you get fixed on a specific task
  • You tend to speak or react spontaneously without thinking much about its consequences.
  • Sleeplessness, that is, passing several nights without sleeping.
  • You may have sudden episodes of reckless behavior, for example, having unsafe sexual intercourse, making rash decisions, or overspending money without thinking much about it.
  • Irrational thinking
  • Unrealistic plans
  • Increased irritation
  • Heightened aggression

Symptoms of bipolar depression 

Following are the common bipolar disorder symptoms in the depression phase that can be easily noticed in patients.

  • Getting withdrawn from social gatherings and society
  • Having a prolonged feeling of hopelessness or sadness
  • Losing interest in practicing or performing activities and tasks
  • Unintended and rapid weight loss
  • Losing interest in eating or a lack of appetite
  • Having difficulty concentrating on things
  • Feeling anxious or guilty without any reason
  • Having a suicidal ideation

Symptoms of psychosis

Psychosis is another stage that a person with bipolar disorder may experience. The symptoms of psychosis that occur during the episodes may be different. Following are some of the common symptoms of psychosis.

  •  You may have confusion while thinking, for example, skipping or changing between topics, speaking very fast or slow, speaking in muddled sentences, making up words, or using inadequate words to describe certain things.
  • Having delusions, that is, false sensation or belief which is not experienced by anyone else. For example, a person might feel that they have some special knowledge and abilities, or a person may feel that they are being controlled by a foreign force or agent.
  • You may also have hallucinations, that is, you may smell, see, taste, or hear things that are not present.

Why is a bipolar disorder caused?

Bipolar disorder can be caused due to several reasons. It is very important to know the cause of the bipolar disorder and predict who is at a greater risk of developing the disorder. This can aid in the effective treatment or prevention of bipolar disorder. The following are the major causes of bipolar disorder.

  • Changes in brain structure and function: People with bipolar disorders have different structures and functions of the brain. The manner in which the neurotransmitters pass between the neurons can lead to the development of the bipolar disorder.
  • Genetics: Your genes can also be responsible for the development of the bipolar disorder. If you have a family history of bipolar disorder, then you are at an increased risk of developing bipolar disorder. Since there are several genes involved in the progression or development of the bipolar disorder, thus, there is a scope for a lot of future research in bipolar disorder.
  • Existing mental health issues: If you have other associated mental health issues like anxiety or depression, then you are at a greater risk of developing bipolar disorder.

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What triggers bipolar disorder?

There are several triggering factors associated with the bipolar disorder. The triggering factors are the causes that initiate your manic or depressive episodes. In short, these factors trigger your bipolar disorder symptoms. The various triggering factors of bipolar disorder are:

  • Excessive use of drugs (both legal or illegal) including increased consumption of alcohol and cannabis.
  • Any negative event that has impacted your life adversely, for example, loss of job or loved ones, illness.
  • Stressful environment at the workplace or home
  • Sleeping too little or too much under manic or depressed condition
  • Sudden stoppage of the prescribed medicines, especially the ones prescribed for manic episodes
  • Change in normal patterns like sleep, irregular eating habits, and physical activity due to metabolic stress
  • Disruption of the normal rhythms like changing routine, traveling overseas, and sleep/wake cycles.

How is bipolar disorder treated?

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, that is, it stays with you throughout life. Bipolar disorder cannot be treated but it can surely be managed. Medicines, lifestyle changes, and therapy can be used to control and reduce the duration and intensity of depressive and manic episodes. 

Medicines

  • Based on the type of bipolar disorder you have and its severity, your doctor might prescribe you bipolar medication. 
  • These medicines will help you stabilize your mood. 
  • Your doctor might give you antidepressants to control your depressive episodes and antipsychotics to control your symptoms of psychosis. 
  • The duration for which you need to take medicines depends on how severe your condition is. 

Psychotherapy

  • Psychotherapeutic techniques can also be used for bipolar disorder treatment. 
  • It not only helps in managing the symptoms of bipolar disorder but also helps in avoiding triggers for bipolar relapse.
  • Psychoeducation and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are also recommended to people with bipolar disorder in order to get back control of their lives. 
  • These therapies challenge your negative thinking and behavior.
  • This helps patients to better understand their mental health, learn to manage their symptoms and trigger factors themselves, and make sure that the medicines are taken on time.

Lifestyle modifications

  • Lifestyle factors play a crucial role in managing the recurrence of manic and depressive episodes of bipolar disorder.
  • Follow a fixed routine of eating and sleeping at all times.
  • Recognize the onset of your mood changes yourself.
  • Seek help from your friends and family to assist you in treating and managing the condition.
  • Avoid intake of both legal and illegal drugs including cannabis, nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine.
  • Keep yourself surrounded by people that can support you in your tough times.

Takeaway

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong severe disorder. There is no cure for bipolar disorder. Medicines and therapies can control your symptoms and recurrence episodes, but cannot treat the condition completely. It is a good idea to get yourself diagnosed timely if you are at risk of developing bipolar disorder. Early diagnosis will help in the effective treatment of the condition. Also, if you are already diagnosed with bipolar disorder make sure that you avoid these factors and recurrence.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What are the 9 traits of bipolar disorder?

The 9 traits of bipolar disorder include:

  • Euphoria
  • Less requirement of sleep
  • Psychosis
  • Lack of judgment
  • Feeling of hopelessness
  • Irritation
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Mixed mania
  1. How can I support a person with bipolar disorder?

It is very easy to deal with patients of bipolar disease. Here are a few things that you can do ti calm metabolic disorder.

  • Spend time
  • Give n\honest replies to their questions
  • Don’t take their comments personally
  • Give them meals that are easy to eat
  • Do not pressurize the patient to participate in activities
  • Ensure that they have adequate sleep.
  1. What other mental illnesses are associated with bipolar disorder?

The mental illnesses associated with bipolar disorder include psychosis, anxiety, ADHD, eating disorders, and substance use disorders.

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Ms. Srujana is Managing Editor of Cogito137, one of India’s leading student-run science communication magazines. I have been working in scientific and medical writing and editing since 2018. I am also associated with the quality assurance team of scientific journal editing. I am majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Biology at IISER Kolkata.

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