Bipolar Disorder- Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Bipolar Disorder- Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Bipolar disorder is a mental condition, which exhibits as extreme mood swings. The surfer of bipolar disorder can go from low to high or high to low from time to time. Sometimes this condition is also referred as manic depression.

It is very difficult for the bipolar patients for managing the everyday life. Be it a student life, professional career or home-based tasks. Men and women both can be a victim of it. It is sometimes prevalent in early teens too.

Surprisingly, there is no cure for bipolar disorder. It’s not just a physical problem. The outcomes of it are more intense in personal life, especially in relationships. There are many treatments available which help the patient to manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

What are the symptoms that show up?

Usually, people characterize bipolar disorder as an over-emotional condition. It is a phase in which a person feels very touchy or sensitive about particular things. These things can be minor to a minimum level.

The emotional high phase, also known as mania makes the person excited like anything. He will be energetic, zealous and impulsive. At this stage, the condition is more like euphoria.

For this particular phase, the behavior may show any of the following things.

  • Adventures
  • Watching thrilling movies
  • Listening to electrifying music
  • Singing
  • Overspeeding
  • Unnecessary shopping
  • Unprotected sex
  • Drugs
  • Excessive drinking

These are only a few examples but the person is vulnerable to do anything that gives him an excitation or happiness.

The condition hypomania is different from simple mania, as it doesn’t cause any difficulty or delay in any routine activity. It’s just an excessively overwhelming behavior that is noticeable.

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Opposite to this excitation phase is an extremely low emotional stage where a person feels low esteemed, sad and lazy. In extreme conditions, it may result in depression or anxiety.

During this low phase, the person will experience some of the following signs.

  • Sadness
  • Dismay
  • Hopelessness
  • Lethargic
  • No motivation
  • Lack of interest
  • Sleeplessness
  • Pessimistic approach
  • Suicidal thoughts

The intensity of these symptoms varies from person to person. There are a number of factors that determine the intensity of the symptoms in both phases. For example, one factor is the severity or nature of the condition.

Second could be the external factors that directly affect the person. Third could be upcoming events or situations, which trigger any of these phases. There are a lot more reasons that determine how high or how low the emotional stage would go for a person.

What are the types of bipolar disorder?

There are four types of bipolar disorder.

  • Bipolar I

Bipolar I is the lowest stage which is when at least one maniac episode hits the person. The patient may feel hypomanic changes or depression before and after the major manic incidence.

  • Bipolar II

This is a severe form of bipolar disorder, which comes after bipolar stage one. People who are at stage two experience one major depressive episode that lasts for 1-2 weeks or more. Their hypomanic phase also lasts for 3-4 days.

  • Cyclothymia

It is a higher stage of bipolar disorder in which people have episodes of both hypomania and depression together. But these symptoms can be short and not severe but they tend to fluctuate every now and then. There is the least number of situations when the mood of the patient is stable in this phase.

  • Rapid-cycling bipolar disorder

Rapid-cycling bipolar disorder causes extremely fast changes in mood, which is uncommon in all other types of bipolar disorder. The person with this stage of bipolar disorder may develop all symptoms in less time and has severe forms of it.

Is it possible to diagnose bipolar disorder?

You may think that bipolar disorder is not that common? Only in the USA, nearly 2% of the total population is affected by bipolar disorder. This is only the representation of diagnosed cases. There could be many which are yet to be diagnosed.

The question, how to know if you have bipolar disorder strikes many minds. The diagnosis of bipolar disorder should be done if the symptoms show up for more than one week. During this time, the symptoms must last for all day, every day. If this pattern is inconsistent, the reason behind emotional breakdown could be anything else.

The diagnosis is essential if the symptoms compel the person to do something extremely risky and results in a health issue. The depressive phase should be lasting for minimum two weeks before you visit the physician.

Sometimes, bipolar disorder is extremely difficult to diagnose as the mood swings could be due to anything. It is more difficult to diagnose them in children and teenagers as there are lots of factors behind any mood shift.

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Remember it is difficult to get the bipolar disorder diagnosed on time. If it is left untreated, it will get worse with time. Being a psychological condition people assume that it is not serious and there is no need of medical assistance for mental conditions.

This approach is wrong and highly criticized. If not treated, the patient may do something, which takes his life or the life or anyone around him. In any case, there is the possibility of an irreversible loss, which no one wants to suffer.

Therefore, for a healthy and productive life, it is better to take the bipolar disease seriously and get the medical diagnosis if the symptoms last for 1-2 weeks or more.

Is there a treatment for bipolar disorder?

Yes, there are so many available options to treat bipolar disorder. They can help you to manage the condition and reduce the severity but there is absolutely no treatment or medicine, which can make this mental, condition go away from you.

The possible treatment options include medicines, counseling and minor lifestyle changes all of which help to reduce the severity of the disorder.

There are several available treatments that can help you manage your bipolar disorder. They include medication, counseling, and lifestyle changes.

  • Mood stabilizing medicines, i.e. lithium(Lithobid)
  • Antipsychotics medicines, i.e. olanzapine(Zyprexa)
  • Antidepressant-antipsychotics medicines, i.e. fluoxetine-olanzapine (Symbyax)
  • Benzodiazepines, a particular type of antianxiety medication i.e. Xanax(alprazolam). It is only given for a short period of time.

Recommended counseling treatments also include:

  • Psychoeducation

Psychoeducation is a sub-type of counseling that helps you and your loved ones to understand the bipolar disease. It is easier to manage if the surfer and everyone around him understand the problem more. Knowing the details on bipolar disorder will help the management of loving with bipolar disorder.

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  • Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is more of a speech treatment. It is like a talkative session in which the counselor and the patient talk about the disease.

He will help you to understand the disease, where the problem lies and how possibly can you control it. The counselor will also tell you how to come up with the emotional breakdown with a positive approach and how to manage the behavioral changes with professional or personal life.

  • Interpersonal therapy

Interpersonal therapy means to control the behavioral changes in everyday habits i.e. sleeping, eating, exercising and others. It is easy to control the condition by balancing the basic habits.

  • Lifestyle changes

The simple lifestyle changes help the person to manage bipolar disorder. These may include the following.

  • Make a habit of healthy eating
  • Sleep on time and get 6-10 hours of sleep.
  • Learn to identify the mood swings.
  • Talk to friends or family about it.
  • Take health supplements.
  • Follow an exercise routine.

Other treatment options are;

  • electroconvulsive therapy
  • sleeping aids
  • health supplements
  • acupuncture and other traditional techniques

The author is a Medical Microbiologist and a healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health.

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