Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Bipolar Disorder
What is bipolar?
Bipolar disorder,previously known as manic-depression is a psychiatric condition characterized by serious shifts in mood,thinking,energy and behaviour.It is a chronic relapsing condition but can be treated successfully.The most effective management of bipolar involves the use of medication,psychotherapy,lifestyle changes and social support.It is inclined to worsen without treatment.Diagnosis of the problem and acceptance of the condition is the first step on the road to recovery from bipolar.
Although everyone has ups and downs,the mood swings of bipolar are so debilitating that they interfere with one's ability to participate in the normal activities of daily living.
A hallmark of the condition is non-compliance with prescribed medication.Instead,many bipolar people self-medicate with alcohol or prescribed medication thus exacerbating their symptoms.
The bipolar spectrum of mood changes
Facts and myths about bipolar
The onset of bipolar is often a manic or depressive episode in the teenage years or early adulthood.It is a fact that people with bipolar can live fulfilling,normal lives even though there is a myth that they cannot do so.Untreated bipolar results in problems in three areas i.e.career,relationships and general health.Accepting the diagnosis and taking on the challenge of living normally with medication and the necessary lifestyle changes in place can result in a full,active life in which one's symptoms are under control.
It is another myth that bipolar people shift continuously between highs and lows which is known as rapid cycling.Many bipolar people can go for long periods of time with no symptoms and depression is more common in the condition than mania.
It is a myth that bipolar only affects one's mood.It has a knock-on effect on many other areas of life.For example,energy levels,concentration,memory,judgment,appetite,self-esteem and sleep patterns can all be negatively affected by bipolar.
There is also a myth that medication is the only treatment for the condition.Medication and compliance with medication is primary but only the tip of the iceberg.Regular exercise.sleep hygiene,good diet and keeping stress levels low are important lifestyle changes in the management of bipolar.
In the context of medication,psychotherapy is also important
Psychotherapy complements the use of medication,lifestyle changes and social support in the management of bipolar but many people with the condition do not have access to this or do not avail of it even if they can access it.Self-help strategies like meditation or yoga can also go a long way in managing the condition.
In summary,the causes of bipolar are unknown although a family history and onset in teens or early adulthood is typical for the condition.
Symptoms of bipolar are different depending on whether one is manic or depressed but impaired judgment,abnormal mood,lack of concentration,distorted thinking and restlessness are common to both phases of the condition.
Treatment of bipolar is in four main areas-medication,therapy,lifestyle changes and social support.These four areas complement each other and are of equal importance.
Finally,acceptance of one's diagnosis and compliance with medication are the first steps on the road to recovery so that one can face the challenge of living normally with this condition.
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