A guide to Bipolar Disorder.
Updated: Jul 28
Everyone has mood swings and no one is exempted. However, when mood swings become consistent and seem to elevate or expand into a race between the feeling of massive irritability and can then turns into happiness or a euphoric feeling then we may just be talking about something else. We may just be talking about Bipolar Disorder.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Formerly called manic depression, Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that is expressed through constant mood swings. It also includes extreme highs and lows of emotions which directly and indirectly affects a person’s state of mind, judgement, sleep patterns, behaviour, demeanour and decision making.
Seems like a helpless situation? Actually, no.
Bipolar disorder may be a lifelong condition but managing it is entirely up to a person’s conviction. The management of one’s mood swing and other related syndromes can be completely manageable through an intensive mental health care plan that is tailored fit to address a person’s personal, emotional and psychological needs.
So, what are the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?
There are actually a few types of bipolar related disorders which includes mania, hypomania and depression. The distress felt may definitely lead to some difficulties in life as the changes in mood and behaviour become highly unpredictable.
● Bipolar 1 Disorder - A person has had at least one episode of manic that may have been associated with a break from reality, also known as “psychosis.”
● Bipolar II Disorder - A person has had at least one episode of hypomania but was never associated with a psychotic episode.
○ This is not a milder bipolar disorder, rather a separate diagnosis.
○ Individuals who suffer from Bipolar II Disorder can go through a series of depressive episodes for a longer period of time.
● Cyclothymic Disorder - A person has had at least two years of sporadic periods of Hypomania symptoms and periods of depressive symptoms.
● Other Types - Includes bipolar and other types of closely related disorders that may be induced by certain drugs or alcohol, due to medication; or medical conditions such as Cushing’s disease, multiple sclerosis or stroke.
It should be noted that bipolar disorder may be triggered at any stage of a person’s life and can happen at any age. However and typically, bipolar disorder is often diagnosed between the teenage years of a person’s life including around mid-20s. Symptoms may be distinct and can vary from one person to another.
What is Mania and Hypomania?
Though Mania and Hypomania may be distinct from each other, they do, however, share the same symptoms. It must be noted though that mania is a bit more severe than Hypomania which causes noticeable problems at work, school and does affect social activities of a person. This may also cause some difficulties when it comes to building and maintaining relationships with others. Mania can become so severe that it may require hospitalization.
What are the symptoms, you may ask?
● Jumpy, an abnormal upbeat emotion that is manifested through a person’s inability to relax and stay put in one place or position.
● Soared energy or agitation
● Euphoria or an exaggerated sense of self-confidence or well-being
● Sleeping hours are lessened drastically
● Extremely talkative
● Thoughts race, inability to compose or keep a thought without jumping from one topic to another
● Easily Distracted
● Poor decision-making
Major Depressive episodes, what is this about?
A person who suffers from major depressive episodes finds it hard to maintain a regular, stable or a predictable pattern of day to day activities. Psychology enumerates or identifies distinct symptoms which may be taken into consideration when determining a person’s mental health and wellness. Major depressive episodes may include but are not limited to the following signs and symptoms:
● Severe depression or the feeling of sadness, hopelessness and is often tearful.
● For children, high emotions of irritability are the biggest indicator.
● No sense of pleasure or inability to feel happy or satisfied.
● Extreme weight loss or gain.
● Poor sleeping patterns, either a person sleeps too much or not enough.
● Loss of energy.
● Inability to decide, think or concentrate.
● Thoughts of suicide.
If a person seems to think that he or she may be suffering from any of these extreme highs and lows of emotions, thus affecting one’s ability to live a productive life, a professional mental health specialist should be seen right away.
One must immediately get help if suicide suddenly becomes an alluring thought. There is nothing wrong about acknowledging one’s fears and it is best to identify what troubles us. A mental health care plan can be a solution. At the end of the day, people need to realize that psychology or psychiatry may just be the key to get one’s life back on track. After all, we all deserve to be happy and there is nothing wrong with getting a little help from mental health professionals to achieve it.