Manic Depressive illness popularly known as bipolar disorder or bipolar affective disorder is a psychological abnormality. It is diagnosed based on the swings in the moods of person. When you are depressed, you feel like life is becoming hell. Less interest in doing any activity, hopelessness, decrease in appetite for food etc. are some of the symptoms of depression. When the mood is on the other high you fell so energized so that you are capable to conquer the whole world. In some cases, these mood swings happen several times in a day where as in some cases, few times in a year.
Bipolar Disorder Causes :
Causes for bipolar disorder vary from person to person and here is the list of some important reasons for causing bipolar disorder.
- Abuses, stress, trauma and loss of important things/persons in life can cause bipolar disorder.
- Imbalance in hormonal releases and metabolism may lead to bipolar disorder.
- Researches proved that if one person is suffering from bipolar disorder there are significant chances that their blood relatives (siblings) will also face the similar problems.
- Neurotransmitters present in brain play a significant role in frequent mood swings.
Bipolar Disorder Symptoms :
Unlike normal mood swings which happen to anybody, bipolar disorder moods swings are so intense that they affect the daily functioning of the individual severely. When the mood swing is positive (manic phase) your daily routine will continue and you won’t face any difficulties in your normal life. Increased physical activity, rapid speech, unwise financial planning and choices, tendency to take risks, increased sex drive, more alcohol and drugs usage, racing thoughts, inflated self confidence and honour etc. are some symptoms of this stage.
When the mood swing is negative (depressive phase) suicidal thoughts, hopelessness, guilt, sleeplessness or over sleeping, irritation and fatigue, frequent breaks from work, sadness, poor performance, lack of concentration etc are observed.
- Seasonal changes : In some persons, mood swings occur with time. Some people may feel highly energetic during the summer and in winter they feel sad. This cycle gets reversed in some persons. In medical terminology, this disorder is known as SAD (seasonal effective disorder).
- Rapid Cycling : In some cases, the cycling or changes in moods occurs within hours and in some cases you can’t observe more than two to three changes per year.
- Psychosis : People who are suffering from bipolar disorder won’t usually mingle with others and the mood swings will force him to live a life of delusions and hallucinations.
- Suicidal Thoughts : If your mood swings are so severe then the suicidal thoughts and tendencies will increase and one needs to consult the psychiatrist immediately.
- Physical tests include routine checks like BP rate, sugar levels, heart rate, temperature etc.
- Blood and urine tests are recommended in some cases so that doctors will know the physical conditions that are causing the mood swings.
- Swinging patterns of moods and the sleeping patterns are recorded in “Mood charts”.
In the physiological evolution, to get better idea about your condition your close friends, family members are questioned about your behaviour (with your permission). A self assessment questionnaire is given to you and you need to answer them correctly to get exact idea about your condition.
Like all the psychological disorders, this one will also have significant negative effect on the overall performance of the persons (who are suffering from bipolar disorder).Mental illness is hard to treat and the counselling and treatment period usually varies between months to years.
- Stop consuming alcohol and using illegal drugs.
- Clear off all the unhealthy relations and make new friends who have healthy habits and positive life style.
- Regular exercises will not only keep you healthy physically but also gives mental strength to fight bipolar disorder.
- Sleeping is necessary for anybody and it is recommended to have 8 hours of sleep per day.
Based on the symptoms and condition, bipolar disorder can be classified into three major sub groups.
- Bipolar Disorder 1: This is severe type of bipolar and the individual who is suffering from this type of bipolar disorder will face difficulties in maintaining relations and doing work at his/her workplace also.
- Bipolar Disorder 2: In this type of disorder you won’t face many troubles in leading your daily life. The mood swings are less severe and in most of the cases the depression phase will last longer than the manic phase.
- Cyclothymic Disorder : It can be treated as the early form of bipolar disorder. Though the mood swings are present they are not severe and the mood swings won’t occur frequently.
The symptoms vary from person to person and in some cases the swings in mood occur in minute’s gap. He may feel so energetic for some time and within minutes he lose his mental strength and this is known as mixed episode in medical terminology.
Deaths and suicides because of bipolar disorder occurs in rarest of rare cases but the problems in personal and professional life can make restless. Mood swings can be treated with medicines but these psychological medicines have severe side effects. The detection of this disease is hard and the number of patients is significantly higher than actually recorded numbers.
Home Remedies :
Yoga and massage therapy have positive effects on the patients who are suffering from bipolar disorder. Studies confirmed that acupuncture and natural (herbal) medicines had improved conditions of bipolar disorder patients.
Treatment and Drugs:
- Hospitalization : Doctors recommend you to admit in the hospital if they fell that your condition is dangerous. Persons having suicidal and racism thoughts are recommended to join in hospitals so that someone can constantly observe them closely.
- Initial Treatment : Doctors will prescribe some drugs to control your mood swings and will give counseling through his words.
- Continued Treatment : Once the doctor is satisfied with your condition and he is not observing any highs or lows in your mood swings; he will stop counseling and continues the medicines with lighter doses.
- Substance Abuse Treatment : This is usually given to alcohol and drug addicts, so that their liking towards these bad substances (alcohol, drugs and cigarettes) will get reduced.
- Lithium – Stabilizes mood but causes kidney and thyroid related problems.
- Anticonvulsants – Mood stabilizers and extremely useful in treating mixed episodes.
- Antipsychotics – Approved by FDA and suitable for patients who are not benefitted from anticonvulsants. They can cause side effects like weight gain, blurry vision, sleeplessness etc.
- Antidepressants – Used to treat depression phase. Side effects include reduced sexual desire and problems in reaching orgasm.
- Symbyax – Approved by FDA and used by many psychiatrists in treatment of bipolar disorder.
- Benzodiazepines – Decreases anxiety and improves sleep. Side effects include memory problems and drowsiness.
It is important to note that these medicines must be used under the supervision of doctors only.