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Bipolar Disorder

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar illness, often known as manic depression, is a mental health condition that produces significant mood fluctuations, including emotional highs also known as mania or hypomania, and lows or depression. A mood swing illness characterized by bouts ranging from depressive lows to manic highs.

Although the specific origin of bipolar disease is unknown, genetics, environment, and changes in brain structure and chemistry may all have a role. Symptoms of manic episodes include excessive energy, a decreased need for sleep, and a lack of touch with reality. Low energy, low motivation, and a loss of interest in daily tasks are all indicators of depression. Mood episodes can last anywhere from a few days to several months, and they might be linked to suicide ideas.

Treatment normally lasts a lifetime and usually consists of a combination of drugs and psychotherapy.

Types of bipolar disorder

  • Bipolar I: The most frequent of the four forms is bipolar I disorder. Bipolar I is characterized by one or more manic episodes, which may or may not be accompanied by depressive episodes. Mania must be severe enough to necessitate hospitalization for a week or more.
  • Bipolar II: The shifting between less severe hypomanic and depressive episodes is a feature of bipolar II illness.
  • Cyclothymic disorder: Cyclothymic disorder, also known as cyclothymia, is characterized by long-term mood swings between melancholy and hypomanic states. The episodes of depression and mania do not match the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder. There may be times when you’re in a good mood, but they usually last shorter than eight weeks.
  • Other types: Symptoms that do not fit into any of the categories are experienced by people with these diseases. Drug or alcohol abuse, as well as medical issues, can cause symptoms. 

The most frequent varieties are bipolar I and II, with bipolar I have more severe manic symptoms.

What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?

Symptoms of manic episodes include excessive energy, a decreased need for sleep, and a lack of touch with reality. Low energy, low motivation, and a loss of interest in daily tasks are all indicators of depression. Mood episodes can last anywhere from a few days to several months, and they might be linked to suicide ideas. 

Other symptoms are mood fluctuations, melancholy, increased mood, rage, anxiety, apathy, nervousness, exhilaration, overall dissatisfaction, remorse, hopelessness, loss of interest, or loss of enjoyment in activities, excessive desire for sex, irritability, risk-taking behavior, disorganized behavior, hostility, agitation, weeping, hyperactivity, impulsivity, restlessness, or trying to cause harm to oneself. 

How is bipolar disorder treated?

A medical practitioner who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health illnesses (psychiatrist) who is experienced in treating bipolar and related disorders is the best person to lead you through treatment. A psychologist, social worker, and psychiatric nurse may be part of your therapy team. Bipolar disorder is a chronic illness that affects people for the rest of their lives. Symptom management is the focus of treatment. Treatment may involve the following, depending on your needs:

  • Medications: To stabilize your moods, you may need to begin taking drugs straight soon.
  • Continued medication: Even during periods when you are feeling better, bipolar disorder requires lifetime drug treatment. People who neglect maintenance treatment run into the danger of relapsing or developing full-blown mania or depression.
  • Day treatment programs: A Day treatment program may be suggested by your doctor. These programs offer the support and counselling you require while you work to control your symptoms.
  • Hospitalization: If you’re acting dangerously, feeling suicidal, or have become alienated from reality, your doctor may suggest hospitalization (psychotic). Whether you’re undergoing a manic or major depressive episode, psychiatric care in a hospital can help you be calm and safe while also stabilizing your mood.

Medication and psychological counselling (psychotherapy) are the most common treatments for bipolar disorder;however, education and support groups may also be used.

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