understanding bipolar disorder

Understanding Bipolar Disorder

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Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder, is a troubling condition that affects many Americans. The condition is known to cause extreme highs and lows in moods and energy, shifting a person’s demeanor constantly. The mood swings can shift from extreme sadness to euphoria several times a day, often disrupting the individual’s life and daily activities.

Bipolar disorder is a very devastating and distressful condition, and unfortunately, it is usually long-term. Even so, one suffering from bipolar disorder doesn’t have to live a life full of constant mood swings and depression, and there are several ways to treat the condition. Medication and therapy are the most effective ways of treating bipolar disorder, and may help many individuals keep their moods in line.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

When an individual is suffering from Bipolar disorder, he or she will have periods of depression and periods of mania, or elevated moods. Symptoms of the depressive phase are as follows:

  • Extreme sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Loneliness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of energy
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of interest
  • Boredom
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Oversleeping
  • General ill feeling

Symptoms of the manic phase are as follows:

  • Optimism
  • Euphoria
  • Elevated self-esteem
  • Speaking quickly
  • Aggression
  • Racing thoughts
  • Easy to irritate
  • Increase in energy
  • Risky behavior
  • Recklessness
  • Increase in motivation
  • Overactive sex drive
  • Inability to sleep
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Careless or dangerous behavior
  • Delusions, or periods of psychosis

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

There are many factors involved in bipolar disorder, and many different possible causes. Some of these causes may include, but are not limited to:

  • Inherited conditions and heredity. The condition is more common in individuals with family members with mood disorders, and certain genes may be linked to causing bipolar disorder.
  • Environmental factors. Trauma, abuse, stress, or other life altering events may cause bipolar disorder.
  • Hormonal imbalances. A significant imbalance of hormones may contribute to mood disorders in certain individuals.
  • Biological factors. Individuals who have bipolar disorder have been known to have biological and physical changes in the brain that may be linked to the condition.
  • Neurotransmitters. A chemical imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain may play a large part in the onset of bipolar disorder.

Treatment Options for Bipolar Disorder

Like other mood disorders, treatment usually involves either medication or therapy. The combination of both may also be used. Therapy will typically involve the individual suffering from the condition speaking with a trained professional who will give him or her guidance and behavioral therapy. There are also a large number of medications that are used to treat bipolar disorder, including antidepressants, lithium, antipsychotics, Symbyax, and benzodiazepines.

Treatment for bipolar disorder may be a lengthy process, but with the proper guidance, therapy, and medications, it is completely possible to overcome the disorder, or at least control the symptoms. The sooner treatment begins for bipolar disorder, the sooner the patient will see relief of the symptoms.