A mental health condition, formerly named manic depression, that makes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).
When you become pessimistic, you may feel depressed or helpless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood shifts to mania or hypomania (less extreme than mania), you may feel euphoric, full of energy, or unusually irritable. These mood swings can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior, and the strength to remember and think clearly. Any person having these symptoms is bipolar.
Episodes of mood swings may happen rarely or multiple times in 12 months. While most patients will feel some emotional symptoms between episodes, some may not experience any.
Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, you can manage your mood swings and other symptoms by following a treatment plan. In most situations, bipolar disorder is handled with medications and psychological counseling (psychotherapy).
Bipolar Manic Symptoms
There are several types of bipolar and related disorders. They may include mania or hypomania and depression. Symptoms can cause unpredictable changes in mood and behavior, resulting in significant distress and have the struggle to live happily in life.
- You’ve had at least one manic episode that may be preceded or followed by hypomanic or major depressive episodes. In some situations, mania may trigger a break from reality (psychosis).
Bipolar 2 disorder
- You’ve had at least one major depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode, but you’ve never had a manic episode. There are cycles of manic episodes in a person suffering from bipolar II disorder which are followed by the hypomanic periods
Cyclothymic disorder. You’ve had at least two years — or one year in children and teenagers — of many periods of hypomania symptoms and periods of depressive symptoms (though less severe than major depression).
Other types. These include, for example, bipolar and related disorders induced by certain drugs or alcohol or due to a medical condition, such as Cushing’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or stroke.
Bipolar II disorder is not a milder form of bipolar I disorder, but a separate diagnosis. While the manic episodes of bipolar I disorder can be severe and dangerous, individuals with bipolar II disorder can be depressed for longer periods, which can cause significant impairment.
Although bipolar disorder can occur at any age, typically it’s diagnosed in teenage times or early 20s. Symptoms can differ from person to person, and symptoms may vary over time.
Types of Episodes [Bipolar Mania and hypomania ]
Mania and hypomania are two distinct types of episodes, but they have the same symptoms. Plus, It is more severe than hypomania and causes more noticeable problems at work, school, and social activities, as well as relationship difficulties. Bipolar mania may also trigger a break from reality (psychosis) and require hospitalization.
Both a manic and a hypomanic episode include three or more of these symptoms:
- Abnormally upbeat, jumpy or wired
- Increased activity, energy or agitation
- An exaggerated sense of well-being and self-confidence (euphoria)
- Decreased need for sleep
- Unusual talkativeness
- Racing thoughts
- Poor decision-making — for example, going on buying sprees, taking sexual risks or doing foolish investments
- Pressured speech
This is a common symptom of bipolar disorder. When you have pressured speech, you have an extreme need to share your thoughts, ideas, or comments. It’s usually a part of experiencing a manic episode. The speech will come out rapidly, and it doesn’t stop at appropriate intervals.
This is a normal and tranquil mental state or mood. It is often describes a stable mental state or mood in those affected with bipolar disorder that is not manic or depressive, yet is distinguishable from healthy controls. Euthymia is considered as an episode or part of bipolar disorder, when the patient feels satisfied with the surrounding.
Main depressive episode
A major depressive episode includes symptoms that are severe enough to cause noticeable difficulty in day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social movements, or relationships. An episode includes five or more of these symptoms:
- Depressed mood, such as feeling sad, empty, hopeless or teary eyes (in children and teens, depressed mood can appear as irritability)
- Marked loss of interest or feeling no pleasure in all — or almost all — activities
- Significant weight loss when not dieting, weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite (in children, failure to gain weight, as expected, can be a sign of depression)
- Either insomnia or sleeping all-day
- Either restlessness or slowed behavior
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
- Decreased ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
- Thinking about, planning or committing suicide
Other Symptoms and Signs of bipolar disorder
Symptoms and signs of bipolar I and bipolar II disorders may include other features, such as anxious distress, melancholy, psychosis, or others. The timing of symptoms may cover diagnostic labels such as mixed or rapid cycling. Further to this, bipolar symptoms may occur during pregnancy or change with the seasons.
Symptoms in children and teens
Symptoms of bipolar disorder can be difficult to identify in children and teens. It’s often difficult to tell whether these are normal ups and downs, the results of stress or trauma, or signs of a mental health problem other than bipolar disorder.
Children and teens may have distinct major depressive or manic or hypomanic episodes, but the pattern can vary from that of adults with bipolar disorder. And moods can rapidly shift during episodes. Some children may have periods without mood symptoms between episodes.
The most prominent signs of bipolar disorder in children and teenagers may include severe mood swings that are different from their usual mood swings.
I am a bipolar – When do I Look for a doctor?
Despite the mood extremes, people with bipolar disorder often don’t recognize how much their emotional instability disrupts their lives and the lives of their beloved ones and don’t get the treatment they need.
And if you’re like some people with bipolar disorder, you may enjoy the feelings of euphoria and cycles of being more productive. However, this euphoria is always followed by an emotional crash that can make you discouraged, worn out — and perhaps in financial, legal, or relationship trouble.
If you have any symptoms of depression or mania, see your doctor or mental health professional. Bipolar disorder doesn’t get better on its own. Taking treatment from a mental health professional with a background in bipolar disorder can help you get your symptoms under control.
When do I look For Emergency Help?
Suicidal ideas and behavior are common among people with bipolar disorder. If you have thoughts of hurting yourself, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately, go to an emergency room, or confide in a trusted relative or friend. Or call a suicide hotline number — in the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
If you have a loved one who is in danger of suicide or has made a suicide attempt, make sure someone stays with that person. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Or, if you think you can do so carefully, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Causes of bipolar disorder
The correct cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, but several factors may be involved, such as:
- Biological differences. People with this disorder appear to have physical changes in their brains. The significance of these changes is still uncertain but may eventually help pinpoint causes.
- Genetics. Bipolar disorder is more common in people who have a first-degree relative, such as a sibling or parent, with the condition. Researchers are trying to find genes that may be involved in causing bipolar disorder.
Factors that may increase the risk of developing bipolar disorder or act as a trigger for the first episode include:
- Having a first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, with bipolar disorder
- Periods of high stress, such as the death of a loved one or other traumatic event
- Drug or alcohol abuse
Mood stabilizers are the medicines that treats and prevents manic symptoms and depression in patients. They also help you to perform well in work , social life or school.
The common mood stabilizers include:
- Carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol, Equetro, Epitol)
- Divalproex sodium (Depakote)
- Lamotrigine (Lamictal)
- Valproic acid (Depakene)
Some of these mood stabilizers are known as anticonvulsants, which are also being used to treat seizure disorders, including carbamazepine, valproic acid, and lamotrigine.
All of these drugs do not have the same effects. Someare better at treating mania such as lithium. Others (such as lamotrigine) are more useful for depression.
These medicines treat full episodes of depression or mania. Their effect lasts for several days or weeks at a time. So, they are not “mood stabilizers” for a day.
This disorder can result in serious problems if left untreated that affect every area of your life, such as:
- Legal or financial issues
- Problems related to drug and alcohol use
- Broken relationships
- Suicide or suicide tries
- Poor performance at work place, school
If you have bipolar disorder, you may also have a co-occuring health condition that also needs to be treated along with the bipolar disorder. Some conditions can worsen the manic symptoms or make treatment less successful. Examples include:
- Eating disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Alcohol or drug problems
- Physical health problems, heart disease, headaches, thyroid difficulties, or obesity
Prevention against bipolar disorder
There’s no best way to prevent bipolar disorder. However, taking treatment a earliest stage of a mental health disorder can help prevent this disorder or other mental health problems from worsening.
If you’ve been diagnosed with the bipolar disorder, some strategies can help prevent the minor symptoms from becoming full-blown manic or depressive episodes:
- Take serious warning signs. Addressing symptoms early on can prevent episodes from getting worse. You may have identified a pattern to your bipolar episodes and what triggers them. Call your doctor if you feel you’re falling into an episode of depression or mania. Involve family members or friends in watching for warning signs.
- Stop using drugs and alcohol. Using alcohol or recreational drugs can worsen your indications and make them more likely to come back.
- Take your medications on the time. You may be tempted to stop treatment — but don’t. Stopping your medication or reducing your dose on your own may cause withdrawal effects or your symptoms may worsen or return.