March 14, 2016 503
What is Bipolar Disorder?
It is a mental health disorder that primarily affects your mood. Now, everyone has mood swings from time to time. But having bipolar disorder brings that to a whole new level. To put it simply, there are two sides to this disorder, as the term “bipolar” suggests. Two very contrasting sides, for that matter that include the depression state as well as the manic/hypomanic state.
Imagine being sad. Now imagine that sadness increasing by 10 fold. Maybe even more. For most of us, it's pretty common to be sad. Even for a prolonged period of time. But it is relatively easy for us to get out of that spiral and continue with our daily lives. Unfortunately, that is not the case for most who suffer from depression. They sometimes happen to feel deep sadness often without knowing the cause. And that feeling can last for weeks all the way to even years.
Experiencing mania is the opposite of depression. Sounds good right? Being on the other side of the spectrum where everything feels great and amazing. A time in your life where confidence is at its peak. Being in a manic state can definitely feel great it's true. But one can only be at such an elated level for so long. It takes a toll on you as we expend a lot of energy in a short period of time. Imagine feeling like you can do anything at all. It could well spell disaster as this elated feeling promotes poor judgement, reckless behavior and also cockiness that would be a nuisance to people around you.
Why Does Bipolar Disorder Occur?
There are a number of factors that could explain a person’s contraction of a mental disorder such as this. However, as with most mental health related issues, there is still much about the human brain that scientists have yet to unravel. As a result, we will not be going into detail about the theories that have surfaced thus far. Here are some of the more prominent factors:
- Childhood trauma
- Brain chemistry
- Self-esteem issues
- Genetic inheritance
- Stressful Life Events
- Drug Abuse
How is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed?
Bipolar disorder is yet another mental health related issue that requires a great amount of openness and trust between a patient and a doctor. Normally, you would go to a General Practitioner (GP) and if they feel the need for you to seek more help, they would pass you on to a Psychiatrist who would then ask you a series of questions to determine your state of mind. Not sure what the doctor would ask you? Aside from the basic wellness questions, here are some things you may want to sit on before seeing a psychiatrist:
- Your mental and physical health concerns
- Symptoms you have noticed
- Past illnesses
- Your family history of mental illness (bipolar disorder, depression, mania, seasonal affective disorder or SAD, or others)
- Medications you are taking now and in the past (bring all medications to your doctor’s appointment)
- Natural dietary supplements you are taking (bring your supplements to your doctor's appointment)
- Your lifestyle habits (exercise, diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, recreational drug use)
- Your sleep habits
- Causes of stress in your life (marriage, work, relationships)
- Questions you may have about bipolar disorder
Do I Have Bipolar Disorder?
As discussed earlier, bipolar disorder can be split into two polar opposite sides. The first is the Depression state. Here is a list of symptoms likely to be faced by someone having bipolar depression:
- Depressed mood and low self-esteem
- Excessive crying spells
- Low energy levels and an apathetic view of life
- Sadness, loneliness, helplessness, feelings of guilt
- Slow speech, fatigue, and poor coordination and concentration
- Insomnia or oversleeping
- Thoughts of suicide or dying
- Changes in appetite (overeating/not eating)
- Unexplainable body aches and pains
- Lack of interest or pleasure in usual activities
And of course, here is a list of symptoms likely to be experienced by someone having contracted bipolar mania:
- Euphoria or irritability
- Excessive talking; racing thoughts
- Inflated self-esteem
- Unusual energy; less need for sleep
- Impulsiveness, a reckless pursuit of gratification -- shopping sprees, impetuous travel, more and sometimes promiscuous sex, high-risk business investments, fast driving
- Hallucinations and or delusions (psychotic features such as these may be involved in about one out of every two of cases of bipolar mania)
How is Bipolar Disorder Usually Treated?
Often times, in the case that you do have bipolar disorder, a psychiatrist would likely prescribe some medication in the form of drugs alongside counseling depending on the severity of the case. Counseling is needed very frequently from the beginning to enable the doctor to assess the condition of the patient with utmost care. Also, it is required to ensure that the patient is of no harm to him/herself and also to the people around them. Most of the time, it is said that patients of this disorder would have to consume medication for life while counseling would be needed in lesser frequency as time passes. Of course, there have been cases where people with this disorder have been fully cured. However, it remains a rare sight.
Some suggested home remedies or things you can do to try to avoid contracting bipolar disorder are:
- Exercising Routinely
- Having a Good Work-Life Balance
- Avoid overly stressful situations as best possible
- Have a healthy relationship with family an also colleagues
- Eat healthily
Sources : WebMD, mind.org.uk
Ambiverted thinker with a big heart and big dreams. Chronically clumsy but always emotionally aware. I truly believe that with every great opportunity comes great responsibility to do great things. View all articles by Thiiban.