Bipolar Disorder

Have you ever met someone who is dealing with any mental health issue? Probably yes, but did you notice some signs in behaviour or personality that was different than normal? What has been your approach; do you give sympathy or provide empathy to them? Or you prefer just not sharing much dialogue with them? How would you know if the person is in a serious condition mentally?

So if most of the questions that you read render your mind wandering or in an unsure space then this article is a must read for you. In next few minutes as you read further you will have the answers to these and many other facts regarding Bipolar Disorder, hence adding up to your knowledge tank.

One of the most misunderstood disorder is Bipolar. Before we know all of it let’s begin with where it started from actually, how did this Bipolar came into notice? So this all dates back to the nineteenth century.

Did you know??

In the early 1900s, the eminent German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin (1856–1926) studied the natural course of the untreated disorder and coined the term ‘manic–depressive psychosis’ to describe it. Kraepelin emphasised that in contrast to Schizophrenia, manic–depressive psychosis had an episodic course and a more benign outcome.

Interestingly, Kraepelin did not distinguish between people with both manic and depressive episodes and people with only depressive episodes with psychotic symptoms.

However, the first diagnostic distinction to be made between manic-depression involving psychotic states, and that which does not involve psychosis, came from Carl Gustav Jung in1903. [9][10] Jung’s distinction is today referred to in the DSM-IV as that between ‘bipolar I’ (mania involving possible psychotic episodes) and ‘bipolar II’ (hypomania without psychosis).

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) is the 2013 update to the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) classification and diagnostic tool. In the United States, the DSM serves as a universal authority for psychiatric diagnosis. The DSM-5 was published on May 18, 2013, superseding the DSM-IV-TR, which was published in 2000. In most respects, DSM-5 is not greatly changed from DSM-IV-TR.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar is a brain disorder which involves unusual mood shifts from feeling high (mania or hypomania) to feeling low (depression).These are not normal ups and down and are more severe. Depending on the diagnostic criteria and only after confirming the stated duration, intensity and frequency of the symptoms can one qualify for this diagnosis or any mental health diagnosis.

What are its Symptoms?

It is characterised by two phases one being feeling high elated or in euphoria state (hypomania) where a person may feel,

  • Increased energy,
  • Inflated self-esteem,
  • Racing thoughts,
  • Excessive talkativeness,
  • Little need for sleep

And another phase of feeling low (depression)

  • Sadness
  • Uncontrollable crying
  • Anxiety
  • Excessive guilt
  • Withdrawal from family or friends
  • Loss of interest in activities or not able to enjoy
  • Some may get involved in risky behaviours and may become suicidal too.

 What are the treatments available?

Bipolar disorder is not curable but treatable and manageable.

The treatments are…

  • Medications
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy CBT
  • Psychotherapies
  • Electro Convulsive Therapy ECT.

So how does this happen to people?

Well, some people are genetically predisposed to bipolar yet not all those who have inherited vulnerability develop the illness which indicates that genes are not the sole reason or cause for bipolar. Some brain imaging studies show physical changes in the brains of people with bipolar disorder. Other research points to neurotransmitter imbalances, abnormal thyroid function, circadian rhythm disturbances, and high levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

There are certain external environmental and psychological factors that can act as triggers to some people who may develop the disorder while many bipolar disorders may develop without existing triggers too:

Stress: potential stressors may trigger the bipolar symptoms in someone with genetic vulnerability

Substance abuse: While substance abuse doesn’t cause bipolar disorder, it can bring on an episode and worsen the course of the disease. Certain drugs can trigger mania and others like alcohol and tranquillizers can trigger depression.

Medications: Certain medications, most notably antidepressant drugs, can trigger mania. Other drugs that can cause mania include over-the-counter cold medicine, appetite suppressants, caffeine, corticosteroids, and thyroid medication.

Seasonal changes: Bipolar phase follows a seasonal pattern and it can be triggered in a particular season. Such as mania is common in summers and many feel depressive in fall, winter or spring.

Lack of sleep: Even skipping few hours of sleep can trigger mania

The symptoms can be subtle and confusing; many people with bipolar disorder are overlooked or misdiagnosed—resulting in unnecessary suffering. But with proper treatment and support, you can lead a rich and fulfilling life.

Hope this article was useful, keep sharing the knowledge and stay thoughtful!

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