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Understanding Bipolar Disorder

June 9, 2019

Bipolar disorder is a mental condition that causes extreme changes in moods. It is a mental health issue that causes periods of depression and periods of very elevated or happy mood.

The changes in moods or emotions can be very severe and have a huge impact on the life of the affected people. Bipolar disorder causes the mind to swing between feeling either extremely sad, depressed or the complete opposite of it.

Causes & Risks

The causes of bipolar disorder are not clear at present and the condition can be caused due to environmental, neurological and genetic factors. The condition may affect the social, professional life of a person as it can impair the thought process and reasoning ability.

People with the condition often tend to take unnecessary risks and may also have suicidal tendencies.

Symptoms

There are several types of bipolar disorders and they may vary in severity and occurrence of the mood change episodes.

The signs and severity may vary from person to person. Some people feel the change in mood quite often while some may not experience more than one episode in the whole year. The signs during the depression phase and the happy phase are also very different.

"It is important that families of people with mental health issues accept the condition and seek help instead of remaining in denial," says Ratnaboli Ray, Anjali Mental Health Rights Organisation

Some signs that should be looked out for are mood changes, either very happy or very sad, changes in energy level, sleep and diet pattern disturbances, memory issues, losing interest in activities or things.

Conditions such as psychosis with hallucinations or delusions may also be experienced by people who have bipolar disorder.

Some other conditions may also co-exist with disorder such as anxiety disorders, eating disorders, ADHD, alcohol or drug abuse, physical health problems, heart disease, thyroid problems, headaches or obesity.

Even children and teens can have bipolar disorder although it may remain dormant for years as this is a lifelong condition.

Bipolar disorder is a major disorder in psychiatry. It has manic phase and depressive phase, while manic phase is longer than depressive phase both require treatment. At times family of the affected person tend to feel that depression is better or normal but actually both are abnormal. Treatment for both phases is different. If left untreated patients go into delirious mania which is dangerous. If the treatment is improper then they land up in rapid cycling which requires treatment lifelong. Dr Venkat Iyer, Psychiatrist.

Treatment

The condition can be diagnosed by a doctor after tests that can confirm the presence of the disorder. The treatment for the bipolar disorder is lifelong and medications, talk therapy, or psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy is usually involved depending on the severity.

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