Bipolar Disorders – What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is the name for a mental disorder that consists of alternating periods of depression and abnormally elevated manic moods. During the latter, the person can either feel or behave in abnormally happy, energetic, or irritable ways, which can lead to poorly thought out decisions that disregard possible consequences and to a continuous lack of sleep. Meanwhile, the periods of depression often involve heavy crying, reduced contact with other people, and an increasingly negative outlook on life. Both self-harm and suicide are at an elevated risk among individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder, as well as anxiety and substance abuse disorders. The many possible negative consequences of bipolar disorder make it imperative for individuals to seek professional help.

Causes of Bipolar Disorders

Due to the condition’s complicated nature, the causes behind it are not clearly understood at the moment, although there is a consensus about both genetic and environmental factors are behind bipolar disorders. There are certain genes that contribute to the condition, each with its own set of mild to moderate effects. At the same time, environmental and psychosocial factors contribute to the development and course of bipolar disorders. A history of child abuse and traumatic experiences at an early age are common among those with bipolar disorders, as well as complicated interpersonal relationships and significant life events. The environmental and emotional factors don’t exactly work separately, but instead, intermingle and build on each other throughout the development of the condition.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorders

A diagnosis of bipolar disorder depends on diagnosis both the depressive and the manic aspects of the condition. They are both disruptions in a person’s normal mood, circadian rhythm, cognition, and psychomotor activity. Specifically, mania can have different levels of mood disturbance, which can range from euphoria to dysphoria, characterized by an increase in the energy of psychomotor activity. Other signs of mania can be rapid speech, increased self-esteem, uninhibited social interactions, or impulsivity. It is important in the classification of types of bipolar disorder to distinguish between mania and hypomania. The latter one refers to a less severe type of mania that doesn’t have any of the symptoms of psychosis associated with the former.

Treatment of Bipolar Disorders

There are a variety of pharmacological and psychological approaches to treating bipolar disorders. The main objective is to effectively manage the effects of the long-term course of the illness, including its symptoms. The primary method consists of mood-stabilizing medication that aims to prevent depressive and manic episodes. There is no one medication that accomplishes this, especially because the needs of each individual will vary, so a combination of two or more different medications might be necessary for a full remission of the symptoms. The process of finding the right medications for each person will most likely consist of a period of trial and error in order to properly address every symptom. 

 

Treatment will not consist solely on medication, of course. Therapy will be necessary in order to address the impact of a person’s bipolar disorder in their life, as well as the lifestyle changes needed in order to live with the condition. Exercises in stress reduction, self-management, and sleep patterns will be necessary in order to prevent co-occurrent health issues and a productive lifestyle.