Bipolar disorder is also referred to as manic depression. It indeed is a major affective disorder or it could also be called as a mood disorder. It manifests itself in many ways and dramatic mood swings are perhaps the most common symptom associated with this disorder. Since this is a major disorder it could cause sleeplessness for days at length and it could also be accompanied by hallucinations, grandiose delusions, psychosis and rage that are paranoid in nature.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Before we move further into this subject it would be better to understand what bipolar disorder is all about. It is basically a complex genetic disorder. The mood swings associated with this condition often alternate from major depression to main or even extreme and unexplained elation. The mood swings can happen either suddenly or the onset could be gradual. It could happen within a minute or could take hours at length.
Rapid mood sings that happen regularly are referred to as rapid cycling. Apart or along with mood swings, patients also suffer from disturbances in thinking. They could also suffer from impairment in socializing and suffer from perceptional distortions.
Bipolar Disorder Causes
As is the case with most of the mood disorders, it is still not clear as to what causes bipolar disorder. However, what is known is that it has a genetic compound to it and therefore can run in families across generations. The age at which bipolar disorder is diagnosed could be anything between 15 and 24.
Once a person has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it stays with him or her for the entire life. However, normally children below 15 and adults about 65 do not get affected with bipolar disorder. The symptoms associated with this condition could range from a few to very severe symptoms which could hamper their ability to work or live a normal life.
If bipolar disorder is left untreated it is bound to have many remissions or relapses. Patients who suffer from severe mania because of this condition may require hospitalization to prevent them from thinking about suicides. Bipolar disorder type 1 is very serious and almost all of these patients may require hospitalizations twice or thrice during their lifetime.
Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
There are various symptoms of depression associated with bipolar disorder and a few of them are
- Reduced appetite and weight loss. In some cases overeating or weight gain could also point to bipolar disorder.
- Not being able to concentrate, remember or making decisions.
- Decreased energy, fatigue and a feeling of being “slowed down”.
- Feeling worthless, helpless and feeling guilty.
- Oversleeping, insomnia or early morning awakening.
- Loss of interest in various hobbies and routine activities including sex.
- Regular headaches, chronic pain and digestive disorders which do not respond to treatment.
- Feeling empty, sad or anxious all the time.
- Becoming irritable and restless frequently.
- Attempts or thoughts of suicide
Symptoms of Mania Include the Following
- Thoughts that are racing, disconnected and not cohesive
- Notions that are grandiose and elation that is inappropriate or not correct
- Getting irritated without any rhyme or reason
- Social behavior that is not acceptable
- Reduced increase in sex
- Talking that is increased in speed and volume
- Increase energy levels that are sudden
- Insomnia and judgment that is poor.
While Bipolar I is severe, bipolar II has conditions that are milder in nature and often referred to as hypomania. There are also periods of major and minor depression. While is mania the degree of symptoms are severe it is not so in hypomania.
Some Common Symptoms of Hypomania Are:
See Also: Treatments for Hypomanic Episodes
- Reduced need for sleep
- Giving too much focus to works at office or home
- Elated state of mood
- Confidence levels that are not based on logic.
- Increased levels or productivity or creativity
- Behavior that is bordering on recklessness and considered as risky
- Increase sexual and other energy levels
Proper diagnosis is important for managing bipolar disorder. Apart from physical exam, doctors usually get into a conclusion based on their interaction with their patients, past medical history and family history. Serious illnesses could also lead to bipolar disorder.
See Also: Natural Remedies for Bipolar Depression!
Treatment of this condition includes prescription of mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, anticonvulsants and benzodiazepines. Anti depressants are also prescribed in many cases.
Stimulants are also prescribed to boost the sentiment of the patient.