Bipolar illness, also known as manic depression, is a brain disorder that alters a person’s mood, energy, and capacity for function. It causes significant mood fluctuations, including emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). When you experience depression, you could feel depressed or hopeless and stop enjoying or being interested in most activities. You might experience mania or hypomania (a less severe form of mania), which can make you feel euphoric, restless, or excessively irritable. The ability to think clearly, energy levels, activities, judgment, and conduct can all be impacted by these mood changes.
Mood swing episodes might occur occasionally or frequently throughout the year. While the majority of people will have some emotional symptoms in between episodes, some people might not.
Mood fluctuations affect everyone, even those without bipolar illness. However, as opposed to days, these mood fluctuations typically only last a few hours. Additionally, unlike during mood episodes, these changes frequently do not come with the marked degree of behavior change or difficulties adjusting to routine activities and social interactions that bipolar disease sufferers display. Bipolar disorder patients may struggle in their relationships with their loved ones, at work or in school, as well as both.
You may manage your mood swings and other symptoms of bipolar disorder even if it is a lifelong diagnosis by following a treatment plan. Bipolar disorder is often treated with medication and psychotherapy (psychotherapy). When appropriately treated, people with bipolar disorder are able to lead full and productive lives
Check out another article: the difference between sadness and Depression.
Types of Bipolar Disorders
The three primary forms of bipolar disorder are cyclothymia, bipolar I, and bipolar II.
A person must experience at least one manic episode in order to be classified as having bipolar I. You may experience major depressive episodes or hypomanic episodes, which are less severe than manic episodes, before and after the manic phase. This type of bipolar disease affects everyone who has it, regardless of gender.
One severe depressive episode that lasts at least two weeks occurs in bipolar II individuals. Furthermore, they go through at least one episode of hypomania every four days. There may be a higher prevalence of this type of bipolar disorder among women.
Cyclothymia patients have periods of hypomania and depression. The mania and depression brought on by these episodes are milder and last for a shorter period of time than those brought on by bipolar I or bipolar II disorder. Most sufferers of this ailment only have periods of no mood symptoms lasting one or two months.
Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
- A manic episode is a period of at least one week during which a person experiences unusually high levels of energy, is frequently ecstatic or agitated, and demonstrates at least three of the following behavioral changes:
- Reduced need for sleep, as evidenced by the sense of energy while getting significantly less sleep than usual
- larger or more rapid speech
- When speaking, have erratic or uncontrollably rushing thoughts or change topics quickly.
- heightened activity (e.g., restlessness, working on several projects at once)
- higher risk-taking behavior (e.g., reckless driving, spending sprees)
- Psychotic traits, such as disordered thinking, erroneous beliefs, and/or hallucinations, can also occur in some people who are undergoing manic episodes.
A hypomanic episode has less severe manic symptoms and just needs to last for four days in a row as opposed to a full week. Hypomanic symptoms do not include the severe impairments in daily functioning that manic episodes usually cause.
Major Depressive Episode
- A major depressive episode is when a person exhibits at least five of the symptoms listed below (including at least one of the first two symptoms) for a minimum of two weeks:
- extreme melancholy or despair
- extreme melancholy or despair loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Fatigue either more or less sleep
- Changing or decreasing one’s appetite
- Pacing or agitation,
- slowed speech or movement
- difficulty paying attention
- recurring suicidal or dead thoughts
Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
With treatment, bipolar illness symptoms frequently become better. The cornerstone of bipolar disorder treatment is medicine, however, talk therapy (psychotherapy) can help many people understand their condition and take their medications as prescribed, reducing the likelihood of further mood swings.
Lithium is one of the “mood stabilizers,” or the most frequently prescribed class of medications for bipolar illness. These drugs are supposed to correct an unbalanced brain’s activity. Given that bipolar disorder is a chronic illness with regularly recurring mood episodes, it is essential to have ongoing preventive treatment. Bipolar illness treatment is personalized, so patients might have to experiment with a number of medications before finding the one that works best for them.