4 Essential Things To Know About Bipolar Disorder

Blame it on the lack of public awareness or simply one’s belief that mental illnesses aren’t as serious as physical ones, it is imperative that everyone recognizes the fact that mental illnesses are more than just feeling sad or anxious.

Mental illnesses have the ability to incapacitate an extremely healthy individual if it is neglected, or if the individual or their loved ones refrain from seeking timely help. Bipolar illness is one such mental ailment that affects approximately 5.7 million adults in the country every year, and without proper treatment and management techniques, this mental condition can become quite formidable. Bipolar disorder is a serious mental ailment that can affect children and adults alike, and the absence of appropriate medical treatment calls for techniques that can help patients and their loved ones manage the condition to an extent that they can coexist with it.

Read on to know more about bipolar disorder and the gravity of this condition.

What is a bipolar disorder?

  • Bipolar disorder is a mental condition, which is characterized by sudden and extreme shifts in an individual’s mood. The elevated mood is called mania, whereas, the other symptoms that are characterized by extreme sadness or suicidal thoughts are called episodes of depression.
  • As mentioned before, bipolar disorder can affect anyone including children, women, and men. However, women are more vulnerable to developing bipolar disorders than men, and the cause of this remains unknown.
  • Moreover, it becomes difficult to diagnose bipolar disorder as it is often mistaken for extreme mood swings, but there are top 5 bipolar disorder warning signs, such as feeling exalted for long periods of time, having unprotected sex, sudden drug use, lack or too much of sleep, and suicidal thoughts, and these can help in diagnosing this mental illness.

What are the types of bipolar disorders?

  • There are three types of bipolar disorder, bipolar I, bipolar II, and Cyclothymia, each of which is characterized by different symptoms and the severity of the same.
  • Bipolar I is characterized by the appearance of at least one manic episode, and the individual can experience a hypomanic or depressive episode before the onset of the manic episode or after it. This type of bipolar disorder can affect men and women alike.
  • In bipolar II, the individual experiences one major depressive episode, and this can last up to two weeks. Moreover, the individual will experience at least one hypomanic episode which can last for up to four days. This type of bipolar disorder is more common among women.
  • Cyclothymia is characterized by frequent episodes of hypomania and depression. The symptoms experienced by an individual with cyclothymia is less severe and shorter than the ones experienced in manic and depression caused by the above two types of bipolar disorders.

What are the causes of bipolar disorder?
Though bipolar disorder is quite common, the causes of this mental illness still remain shrouded in mystery. However, the possible causes of bipolar disorders are mentioned below:

  • Genetic predisposition: It has been observed that if the individual has a parent or a sibling battling the same condition, it makes the person more susceptible to developing bipolar disorder.
  • The brain: The structure of the brain can increase the individual’s chances of developing bipolar disorder. Abnormalities in the structure of the brain or its functions can give rise to signs of bipolar disorder.
  • Environmental factors: It is believed that certain environmental factors such as extreme stress, traumatic experiences, and physical illness can also trigger bipolar symptoms and signs of mania and depression in the individual.

How is bipolar disorder diagnosed?
Bipolar disorder is often diagnosed if the loved ones are able to decipher the prominent signs of bipolar symptoms such as splurging sprees, deep sadness, loss of energy, suicidal thoughts or drug use. The other methods of diagnosing this condition are as follows:

  • Physical exam: The physician will perform a full physical exam, and ask the individual to undergo blood and urine tests to rule out possible causes of the symptoms.
  • Mental health evaluation: The physician might advise the individual to visit a mental health professional, a psychologist or a psychiatrist, and they will evaluate the patient’s mental health.
  • Mood journal: In case the doctor suspects that the patient suffers from bipolar disorder, the patient is advised to maintain a journal and record their feelings and how long this particular feeling lasts.

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