Bipolar disorder also is known as “manic depression” is a mental illness that brings severe high and low moods and changes in sleep, energy, thinking and behaviour.

People who have bipolar disorder can have periods in which they feel overly happy and energized and other periods of feeling very sad, hopeless and sluggish. In between those periods they usually feel normal. You can think of the high and low as two “poles” of mood, that’s why it is called “bipolar disorder”.

Actually the word ” manic” describes the time when someone with bipolar disorder feels overly excited and confident. Symptoms of “mania” (the highs):

  • Excessive happiness, hope and excitement.Sudden changes from being joyful to being irritable, angry and hostile.Restlessness.Rapid speech and poor concentration. Increase energy and less need for sleep. Unusually high sex drive. Making grants and unrealistic plans. Showing poor judgement. Drug and alcohol abuse.

“Hypomania” describe milder symptoms of “mania“, in which someone doesn’t have delusion or “hallucinations” and their high symptoms do not interfere with there everyday life.

The word “depressive” describes the time when the person feels very sad or depressed. These symptoms are the same as in clinical depression.

During the depressive period (the lows) a person with bipolar disorder may have:

  • Sadness.Loss of energy. Feeling of hopelessness or worthlessness. Not enjoying things they once liked. Trouble concentration.Uncontrollable crying.Trouble making decisions.Irritability.Needing more sleep.Insomnia.Appetite changes that make them lose or gain weight.Thoughts of death or suicide. Attempting suicide.

Who gets bipolar disorder?

When someone develops bipolar disorder, it usually starts when they are in late adolescent or young adulthood. Rarely it can happen earlier in childhood. Bipolar disorder can run in families. Men and women are equally likely to get it.

What causes bipolar disorder?

There is no single cause, Genes, brain changes and stress can all play a role.

How is bipolar disorder diagnosed?

If u or someone u know has symptoms of bipolar disorder, talk to your family doctor or a Psychiatrist. They will ask questions about mental illness that you or the person you’re concerned about, have had and any mental illness that runs in the family. The most telling symptoms are those that involve high or lows in mood, along with changes in sleep, energy, thinking and behaviour. Talking to close friend and family of the person can often help the doctor distinguish bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder and Suicide.

Some people who have bipolar disorder may become suicidal. One must know the “warning signs” and seek immediate medical help for them:

  • Depression. Isolating yourself. Talking about suicide, hopelessness or helplessness. Acting recklessly. Taking more risks. Having more accidents. Crying more. Talking about death and dying.

What is the treatment for bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder can be treated. It’s a long term condition that needs ongoing cares. Medication is the main treatment usually involving “Mood stabilizers” such as:

Carbamazepine (Tegretol), Lamotrigine (Lamictal), Lithium or valproate (Depakote). Sometimes antipsychotic drugs are also used such as:

Olanzapine (Zyprexa), quetiapine (Seroquel) Lurasidone (Latuda) and Cariprazine (vraylar) as well as an antidepressant. Other than these Psychotherapy or “Talk therapy” is often recommended too.

Can a bipolar person live a normal life?

If you have just been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you might feel frightened. The future may seem terribly uncertain. What will this mean for your life? Your family and your job? But getting an accurate diagnosis is actually good news. It means you can finally get the treatment you need. People with bipolar disorder usually go about 10 years before being accurately diagnosed.

Why me?

Bipolar disorder can make you feel utterly alone. But that really isn’t the case. More than two millions adults in the US are coping with bipolar disorder right now. It is important not to blame yourself for your conditions. Bipolar disorder is a physical illness not a sign of personal weakness. It’s like diabetes, heart disease or any other health disorder. Nobody knows what causes bipolar disorder, but for many people, it is a very manageable condition.

The important thing is to focus on the future. Living with bipolar disorder can be tough, but don’t let it hijack your life. Instead, take action and regain control of your health. With dedication and the help of your health care provider, you can feel better again.

Submitted by “Nazma Wajid