Bipolar Disorder – Causes, Risks, and Treatments
What is bipolar disorder?
One can neither feel happy all the time nor sad. Thus mood swings are a general part of human life. If these mood swings become intense and start impacting focusing and thinking capabilities, sleep pattern, energy levels and overall behavior of a person; this condition is termed as bipolar disorder or manic depression.
Bipolar disorder is a mental health disease affecting kids, teens and adults equally despite their genders. A person suffering from bipolar disorder experiences extreme highs and lows in mood. For example they may be feeling extremely happy and a moment later they may start feeling distressed and sad.
The recurrence of these manic episodes depends on the type of bipolar disorder someone is suffering from and the treatment plan they are following. For some people these episodes recur after months and years.
Bipolar disorder can never be fully treated but the symptoms of the condition can be managed with the help of medication prescribed by a Psychologist in Karachi and talk therapy.
What causes bipolar disorder?
Medical investigators and scientists are still to find the exact causes of bipolar disorder. However some similarities among most cases of bipolar disorder that can be defined as causes are:
- Having bipolar disorder in your genes makes you more likely to get it. For example if your parents or siblings have the condition there is a very high chance that you will get it too.
- Losing a loved one or other similar traumatic events can also cause bipolar disorder.
- Using too much alcohol or drugs is another common similarity among patients of bipolar disorder.
What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?
When someone is suffering from bipolar disorder they go from feeling extremely happy (mania) to feeling extremely sad dramatically. The shift between the two moods is characterised by different symptoms. If someone is extremely happy (mania) they will show symptoms like:
- Extreme happiness and excitement
- A rapid increase in energy levels
- Decreased need for sleep
- Getting easily distracted
- Fast racing thoughts
- Feeling extremely confident
- High sex drive
- Making poor decisions
- Loss of appetite
If someone is feeling extremely low they will show symptoms like:
- Low levels of energy
- Feeling worthless and hopeless
- Being forgetful
- Losing focus
- Talking slowly
- Decreased sex drive
- Sudden changes in appetite
- Unable to make decisions
- Unable to fall asleep (insomnia) or an increased need for sleep
- Crying for no reason
- Unable to feel pleasure in the things you liked doing earlier
- Thinking about or attempting suicide
When an episode of highs (happiness) or lows (depression/sadness) is intense some patients suffer from psychosis. This means that they lose their ability to differentiate between fantasy and reality. In case of having an intense episode of happiness the symptoms of psychosis cause hallucinations and delusions. As a result patients start considering that they have super powers or they are very famous and highly ranked.
In case of having an intense episode of sadness, hallucinations make the patients believe that they are penniless and their life has been ruined.
How can bipolar disorder be diagnosed?
Bipolar disorder does not get better on its own. It needs to be treated. So if you are someone who is experiencing episodes of extreme happiness and sadness time and again you must seek help from a psychologist immediately.
Diagnosis for bipolar disorder can be a little tricky but after a brief psychiatric evaluation, taking history of the patient, running certain blood and urine tests and talking to friends and family of the patient can help a doctor make an apt diagnosis.
Getting diagnosed with bipolar disorder doesn’t mean that your life has ended. But getting diagnosed means that you will be getting the required treatment and your life is about to get better.
Can bipolar disorder be treated?
Unfortunately, bipolar disorder can never be fully treated. People diagnosed with the condition have to live with it. The treatment plan for bipolar disorder revolves around medicinal intervention and psychotherapy. Common medications prescribed to make the symptoms of bipolar disorder bearable are:
- Mood stabilizers
- Medication to help with sleep and anxiety
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, avoiding drugs and alcohol, managing stress, staying connected to loved ones and practicing healthy hobbies can also help make the symptoms of bipolar disorder better.