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Bipolar Disorder – A Weird Type of Psychic Problem

Updated on July 11, 2015
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Bipolar disorder is characterized by the different mood swings and it is termed as manic depressive disorder. The patient suffers from extreme energetic mood to deep depressive condition, as per the intensity of the disease. This mania and depression can be shown by the patient within a few days or sometimes there may be a gap of weeks between these different mental conditions. Now it is found out that more than 3% of the total population is suffering from this disorder.

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental disorder which should be treated with medicines in combination with effective therapy. It is not easy to make the exact diagnosis of this disorder, because the same symptoms can be seen with some other diseases also. No laboratory tests or scanning is helpful for the diagnosis of bipolar disorder; the doctor should depend on the symptoms shown by the patient and on the experiences shared by the family members of the patient for the diagnosis.

What Is Bipolar Disease?

Woman suffering from Mania
Woman suffering from Mania | Source

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

Unpredictable mood swings or change of mental conditions without sufficient reason is the major symptoms of the disease. Sometimes patient may feel excessive energy and this conduct is called as mania. When the patient shows complete inactivity and withdrawal, that behavior is termed as depression.

In the elated mental condition or in a manic state, the patient shows increased energy, restlessness, high sexual urge, reduced sleep and utopian or unpractical way of thinking. Common symptoms that shows by the patients undergoing this particular mood situation are:

  • Increased energy
  • High spirited sexual inclination
  • Reduced sleeping
  • Boosted feeling about self
  • Over action without planning

A Young Woman with Insnomia
A Young Woman with Insnomia | Source

At the same time, in a depressive mood the patient shows low energy, over anxiety, sadness, over sleeping, reduced appetite, crying without reason and even shows suicide tendency. General symptoms shown by the patients of depressive state of mind are:

  • Indifferent view of life
  • Slow speech
  • Oversleeping or insomnia
  • Estrangement from group activities
  • Reduced appetite
  • Death wish or suicide tendency

Types of Bipolar Disorder

Though the main symptoms of bipolar disorder is the occurrence of mania and depression, according the period of this change or based on the intensity of the mood change, this disorder is classified into different types. They are Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Mixed Bipolar, Cyclothymic and Rapid Cycling.

Bipolar I is characterized by severe mood changes from mania to depression. The patients will experience severe elevated mood and behavior. Common preys to this disorder are teens and the people below 50 years of age. Some of the extra-ordinary behaviors associated with Bipolar I are:

  • More energetic activities
  • Sudden changes in different ideas
  • Over sexual urge
  • Projected self-image and loud speech

Depressed Man
Depressed Man | Source

But in Bipolar II, these changes are milder. In Bipolar II, the elated mood never reaches in full mania. More dominant behavior is depression than mania when compare with Bipolar I disorder. Since the mood changes are not very intensive, many people with Bipolar II is leading normal life most of the time, except when they suffer from mood changes. Bipolar II is also affect people below 50 years of age, especially the teens. Risk will become higher, if there is anyone in the family is having this disease.

Mixed bipolar is marked by excessive energy and sleeplessness. Here the opposite mood swings will occur simultaneously. The patient will be in a manic or depressive mood in different situations. Higher activity may be followed by the withdrawal symptoms and suicide thoughts.

Cyclothymic disorder shows the periods of hypomania with brief periods of depression, the mood changes is not very long-lasting as in the other types.

Rapid cycling disorder term is applied to this disorder if the patient suffers four or more mood swing episodes in a twelve month period. These episodes will last for some considerable days or weeks before changing to another mood. Rapid cycle disorder is more common in women patients and the increased depressive state often leads the patients to the suicide attempts.

Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis

Bipolar disorder is often confused with some other diseases like unipolar depression or schizophrenia because of the similarities of the symptoms. In addition to these psychiatric diseases, HIV, lupus, syphilis, thyroid illness etc. are showing the signs similar to Bipolar disorder.

But more accurate study by the doctor about the patient’s mood swings, behaviors and lifestyle habits will help in the diagnosis of the disorder. Laboratory tests or imaging tests will not help in the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Doctor will study about the personal health history, family history of mental illness etc. of the patient to make correct diagnosis. The MRI or CT scan will be advised sometimes by the doctor to make sure that these symptoms are not because of some neurological disorder.

Treatment – Bipolar Disorder Medications

Bipolar disorder needs medication and psychotherapy treatment for getting relief. Drugs are used for the steady maintenance of the different moods and counseling is very important to prepare the patient to adjust with the present circumstances. Some of the salient procedures of the treatment of bipolar disorder are:

  • Mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, antidepressants and sedative-hypnotics are using for the treatment of this disorder.
  • Counseling or therapies are very helpful for the patient and during the therapy session, the patient can reveal more of his inner feelings to the counselor. The counselor will explain the different ways that will be helpful for adjusting with the present circumstances. Individual counseling, family counseling and group counseling may be done as per the need of the situation.
  • Foods rich in saturated fats are to be avoided by the patient for overall health. Eating balance and nutrient-dense foods will help to regain the normal health and to maintain healthy weight always. American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish to keep the brain health in better condition. Omega-3 fatty acids in the fish oil will help the better functioning of the brain. It will also help to decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Clear water fishes like salmon, trout, mackerel and herring are good sources for the supply of omega-3 fatty acids. For vegetarian patients, who are reluctant to eat fish, walnuts or flaxseed are recommended to get the same result.

  • If antidepressant drugs (especially MAO inhibitors) are using as a part of medication, the patient should not eat tyramine-containing foods to avoid high blood pressure complications. Some foods that containing high tyramine are fermented cheese, ripe banana, soy sauce and old meats.
  • Regular exercise and good sleep is necessary to get relief from bipolar disorder. Do exercises daily according to the physical capacity of the patient and take all the necessary steps to get good sleep every day.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine completely. Alcohol is a leading trigger for depression and some studies show that alcohol will act as catalyst to develop mood changes in bipolar disorder patients.
  • Cultivate more social relationships and it will help the patients to get more support for their emotional problems. Family and friends can do a lot to get the relief from bipolar disorder mood swings. Moral and emotional support from the family and friends will help to get fast relief from the disorder problems.

Bipolar disorder cannot be treated completely. But by taking the right medicines and by participating in therapy sessions, the patient will be able to lead normal and productive life. Support from family and society is a must for the successful rehabilitation of bipolar disorder patients.

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