All About Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depressive disorder is a mental disorder that is mainly characterized by bouts of depression, mania or extreme mood swings from being extremely happy and euphoric to being irritable or depression. These periods are often separated by normal mood period too in most cases. However in acute cases there is a rapid alternate between mania and depression. In case the patient is suffering from extreme manic episodes, it could lead to symptoms that are psychotic in nature such as hallucinations and delusions.


Bipolar disorder can be divided into different types depending on the severity and the nature of mood swings experienced by the patient. The different types are Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Cyclothymia and others. Research suggests that most of the creative geniuses have suffered from different forms of this mental Disorder. Vincent Van Gough is an example of a genius who is believed to have suffered from this Disorder. The treatment for Bipolar disorder is usually in the form of medications and drugs and psychotherapy. Most of the times, this metal disorder is also wrongly diagnosed as depression or schizophrenia.


The symptoms of bipolar disorder could vary and take many forms. However the symptoms broadly border on presence of depression and mania. Some of the other symptoms are mixed episodes, psychotic features such as delusions and hallucinations, rapid cycling, alternating between mania and depression in just a short duration of time and a host of other complications. People diagnosed with bipolar disorder mostly tend to be suicidal in nature. However having said that, not every person displays the same set of symptoms and diagnosing this metal illness is a challenge for mental health professionals too. Some of the common symptoms that individuals with this disorder usually display are insomnia, paranoia, indifference, shyness, lack of motivation, irritability, anxiety, anger, sadness and guilt.


The causes for this strange disorder vary from person to person and research shows that the disorder is usually caused by a combination of factors mainly psychological and biological factors. Genetic factors play a huge role in causing Bipolar disorder. A number of research studies indicate that this disorder can be inherited from one generation to another. It has also been observed that most people suffering from bipolar disorders have used stimulants in their childhood that has been found to cause this disorder. In other cases, neurotransmitters are also believed to be the cause of bipolar disorder, the main reason being imbalance of these neurotransmitters in the body. Stress is also believed to trigger bipolar disorder in most individuals. This could be stress from job, emotional stress, or any other event that triggers stress in an individual.


Diagnosis of bipolar disorder is not very simple and it involves studying the abnormalities reported by the patient and family members, colleagues and friends. This is also followed by observations by the psychiatrist or nurse in the clinic. There are no tests that can be conducted to confirm the illness, but tests are conducted to eliminate the possibility of other illness such as an infection, HIV, metabolic disturbance, epilepsy and others. Once all the requisite tests and evaluation of medical history and psychiatric history is concluded followed by the evaluation of current symptoms and if the symptoms include depression and mania then the individual is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.


Treatments for Bipolar Disorder usually comprises of mediations and psychotherapy. Medications are prescribed to patients to help stabilize their mood swings and control delusions and hallucinations. These medicines could range from anti anxiety medications to anti depressants to mood stabilizers and sedatives. This has to be coupled with therapy as this disorder directly effects the cognitive and emotional functioning of the individual. Some of the therapies suggested are group therapy, psychoanalytic therapy, cognitive behavior therapy and others. Hospitalization is necessary in case the patient is experiencing several mania and depression symptoms coupled with suicidal thoughts.