Do you witness sudden mood swings in yourself or others? We are not talking about light mood switches here. More like, you may feel like playing in the garden and then feel like burning the same garden to ashes. They can be super cherry sometimes, and then they can also be depressed. It might be bipolar disorder. The constant switch in mood affects how you lead a life. In this article, we will talk about Bipolar Disorder, from what it is, to its treatment, and everything in between.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder dealing with mood swings. It is an intense mood disorder, where a person experiences polar opposite emotions (extremely happy and extremely sad) in a very short period. This mood disorder can intensify if left untreated and cause fatal harm. This situation affects a person’s mental, emotional, physical, and social well-being. The switch of these emotions and the effect of it is often referred to as episodes. The person will experience normal emotions between these episodes.
The term ‘Bipolar’ comes from the emotions experienced during this illness. The person switches moods from one polar emotion (extremely positive) to another polar emotion (extremely negative) in a short span. These states of mood are classified as the following:
Mania or Hypomania (the mood high)
Mania or manic is a situation where the happy hormones of the person are a little too high, and they feel very energetic and full of optimism. While it may seem good for a certain period, this can result in chaotic behavior or even irritation and cause problems in relationships. Mania can result in slight hallucinations or psychosis (losing touch with reality and imagining things on their own).
Hypomania is a less severe version of mania where a person may seem to be extra energetic, over-enthusiastic, easily irritable, and can also make hasty and bad decisions. They are very impatient, and this can lead to conflict in work, family, and social relationship problems.
Depression (the mood low)
Depression is the extreme feeling of sadness and hopelessness. The person feels cut out from others and constantly feels anxiety. In severe cases, the thought of death and suicide clouds their mind. They can feel a little too much being sensitive or feel nothing at all and dissociate. They lose interest in anything and everything, even the things that they love.
Bipolar disorder is simultaneously feeling both of the emotional highs and lows with some or no break. One may experience a normal mood between the switches, it is treatable.
Around 2.6% of the population is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, so do not worry about it. With correct diagnosis, treatment, and dedicated medication schedule, bipolar disorder is manageable and lets you lead a healthy and happy life.
Bipolar Disorder In Children And Teenagers:
Adults suffer from Bipolar Disorder and so do children and teenagers. While it is easy to diagnose adults, the same can’ be said for children and teenagers. The episodes of these in children are more rapid than in adults, like multiple switches within 24 hours. The mood swings in children are often misunderstood as tantrums or other issues, while in teenagers this rapid switch of mood and opposing emotions could be misunderstood as other health disorders like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
There is treatment for Bipolar Disorder in children and teenagers and it gets better as they grow up. With diagnosis and continuous treatment, the symptoms and mood switches could be controlled with ease. However, identification of the issue is the main concern. Parents should pay attention if their children have frequent mood changes of polar opposite emotions from extreme happiness to extreme sadness. If we say it in slang, emotions go from 0 to 100 real quick!
Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder:
There are some common symptoms such as imbalanced emotions, constantly switching between mood height and mood low, irritation, and poor focus on things. However, as said earlier, Bipolar Disorder deals with two emotions, and thus symptoms of these also differ based on these emotions. Following are the symptoms one might suffer from based on the mood state (mania or depression) they are in.
Symptoms of mania and hypomania
- Extreme good mood
- Super energetic
- Extreme irritation
- Lack of concentration or focus
- Disrupted sleep
- Substance addiction (alcohol, drugs, and more)
- Aggressive behavior
- Unclear thoughts and decision
- Poor decision making
Symptoms of depression
- Anxiety and nervousness
- Disrupted sleep
- Withdrawal from social relationships
- Lack of interest
- Persistent sadness, guilt, and emptiness
- Difficulty in focusing and decision-making
- Substance addiction (alcohol, drugs, and more)
- Continuous thoughts of death and suicide
- Depleting energy in the body
Types of Bipolar Disorder:
There are three major types of bipolar disorder classified as follows:
Bipolar I Disorder:
Bipolar I Disorder is when the person experiences an extreme level of manic or mania followed by a period of extremely low depression. The intensity of the mania is super high, which might cause hallucinations or loss of touch with reality. They may cause harm to themselves or indulge in risky behavior.
Bipolar II Disorder:
Bipolar II Disorder is when the intensity of the episodes is not as intense as Bipolar I Disorder. The person will go through episodes of hypomania and depression and the aftereffects of the same. The situation is still severe and needs medical attention. Remember, that this is not a less intense version of Bipolar I Disorder, and should be treated keeping that in mind.
Cyclothymic Disorder refers to a situation where the person has experienced these mood episodes for at least 2 years, and a child or teen has experienced it for at least a year. The episodes of hypomania and depression might not be as intense as Bipolar I Disorder and Bipolar II Disorder, but they do need medical attention to lead a healthy life.
Causes Of Bipolar Disorder:
Initially, it was not known what exactly causes Bipolar Disorder. However, after years of research, few causing factors or risk factors have been obtained. These factors are as mentioned below:
If any of the immediate family members have bipolar disorder, chances are that the person might inherit and suffer from bipolar disorder.
There might be neurological damage in the brain that causes unstable emotions and thus results in bipolar disorder. This damage is hard to pinpoint, and more research needs to be conducted to find more cues and possibly a solution.
Often when we go through traumatic experiences, they might cause emotional imbalance. It might result in bipolar disorder. Anyone can suffer from the disorder. Proper care and early identification can help you recover.
It is often found that substance abuse like alcohol, drugs, and other such substances causes or worsens the case of bipolar disorder.
If early symptoms of bipolar disorder are left unattended, it can result in a severe case of Bipolar I Disorder and cause fatal harm to the patient. Proper prevention and recognition of the issue are essential for the betterment of the one experiencing the mood disorder.
Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder:
There is no sure shot or textbook way to identify mood disorders. Only a skilled healthcare professional can identify the symptoms, and mood disorder stage and take action accordingly.
If you or your loved ones have been suffering any of the symptoms mentioned above with the mood switch, consult a healthcare professional who will guide you in the situation.
The healthcare expert may ask you a series of questions to identify your situation and recognize any patterns in the episodes. Based on their assessment they will provide you with tips to identify early symptoms of episodes, avoid them, and guide you on the path of recovery. They may ask you to give physical exams to identify any other underlying condition causing this issue.
Treatment Of Bipolar Disorder:
The treatment of Bipolar Disorder depends on the severity of the mood disorder. The healthcare expert in mental health illness can identify and provide treatment for the disorder. Depending on the stage of Bipolar Disorder, they can give you medications that are to be taken regularly to avoid bouncing back of the disorder, talk therapy to understand the root cause and handling the disorder, and medical treatment or hospitalization if one suffers from intense Bipolar I Disorder.
It is crucial to understand that Bipolar Disorder may never be cured from the roots. However, the good news is that you can lead a normal and healthy life without episodes if you continuously take your medications and follow healthy habits like meditation and more if suggested by your healthcare provider.
Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder where the person experiences a switching period of two extreme emotions: sadness (depression) and happiness (mania or hypomania). The name Bipolar comes from these polar opposite emotions that a person experiences and switches between. This switching of emotions is known as an episode. One may experience normal emotions between these episodes.
These episodes cause much psychological and even physiological harm to the person. They become emotionally unstable, aggressive, and depressive, experience a lack of interest in things and social relationships, disrupted sleep cycles, and even hallucinations in extreme cases. Hereditary, biological, and psychological problems may cause this issue. This disorder is treatable to lessen the number of switches and lead a healthy life.