Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness characterized by extreme shifts in the mood from high to low, low to high. Symptoms can include an extremely elevated mood called mania. They can also include episodes of depression. Bipolar Disorder is also known as manic depression. People with Bipolar Disorder may have trouble managing everyday life tasks at school or work, or maintaining relationships.

There are three main symptoms that can occur with bipolar disorder : mania, hypomania, and depression. While experiencing mania, a person with bipolar disorder may feel an emotional high. They can feel excited, impulsive, euphoric, and full of energy. During manic episodes, they may also engage in behavior such as :
• Spending Sprees
• Unprotected Sex
• Drug Use

Hypomania is generally associated with bipolar II disorder. It’s similar to mania, but it’s not as severe. Unlike mania, hypomania may not result in any trouble at work, school, or in social relationships. However, people with hypomania still notice changes in their mood.
During an episode of depression you may experience:
• Deep sadness
• Hopelessness
• Loss of energy
• Lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed
• Suicidal thoughts
• Periods of too little or too much sleep

Although it’s not a rare condition, bipolar disorder can be hard to diagnose because of its varied symptoms.

Bipolar disorder and depression
Bipolar disorder can have two extremes: up and down. To be diagnosed with bipolar, you must experience a period of mania or hypomania. People generally feel “up” in this phase of the disorder. When you’re experiencing an “up” change in mood, you may feel highly energized and be easily excitable.
Some people with bipolar disorder will also experience a major depressive episode, or a “down” mood. When you’re experiencing a “down” change in mood, you may feel lethargic, unmotivated, and sad. However, not all people with bipolar disorder who have this symptom feel “down” enough to be labeled depressed. For instance, for some people, once their mania is treated, a normal mood may feel like depression because they enjoyed the “high” caused by the manic episode.
While bipolar disorder can cause you to feel depressed, it’s not the same as the condition called depression. Bipolar disorder can cause highs and lows, but depression causes moods and emotions that are always “down.”

Possible causes of bipolar disorder include

If your parent or sibling has bipolar disorder, you’re more likely than other people to develop the condition. However, it’s important to keep in mind that most people who have bipolar disorder in their family history don’t develop it.

Your brain
Your brain structure may impact your risk for the disease. Abnormalities in the structure or functions of your brain may increase your risk.

Environmental factors
It’s not just what’s in your body that can make you more likely to develop bipolar disorder. Outside factors may contribute, too. These factors can include:
• extreme stress
• traumatic experiences
• physical illness
Each of these factors may influence who develops bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Recommended psychotherapy treatments may include:

Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of talk therapy. You and a therapist talk about ways to manage your bipolar disorder. They will help you understand your thinking patterns. They can also help you come up with positive coping strategies.

Psychoeducation is a kind of counseling that helps you and your loved ones understand the disorder. Knowing more about bipolar disorder will help you and others in your life manage it.

Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy
Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) focuses on regulating daily habits, such as sleeping, eating, and exercising. Balancing these everyday basics can help you manage your disorder.

Author: Shrabani Chakraborty

A Story Teller