What is Bipolar?
Once known as manic depressive order, Bipolar disorder is a severe mental illness that can cause many potential problems in behavior, relationships, and other aspects of life. If left untreated, bipolar disorder can also cause death by suicide. Bipolar disorder remains a difficult disease to properly diagnose, mainly due to its extremely variations from person to person. For example some people can experience mood swings that last for years (depression) while in other people the swings might occur more frequently and in a more dramatic fashion.
What causes Bipolar disorder?
Although doctors do not fully comprehend what causes someone to become bipolar, they do believe that there is a genetic factor to the disorder and that it does run in families. Lifestyle choices and external (environmental) factors seem to be related to triggering the disorder in people. However, many believe that the true cause of bipolar disorder is found within the brain. An imbalance of certain brain chemicals is what many experts believe to be the cause of Bipolar disorder. When these certain chemical levels are too low or high, that is when either the mania or depression episodes and/or mood swings occur.
What are the symptoms of someone who is Bipolar?
Bipolar disorder is mainly characterized by volatile mood swings; ranging from obsessive and manic to depressed and extremely down. During the mania part of the mood swing the sufferer might experience a strong euphoric feeling, he or she might talk excessively, have less of a need for sleep, and generally will be more impulsive as well. The contrasting mood would be the period of depression. During this part of the mood swing the sufferer will be in a highly depressed state of mind, he or she will have a low level of energy and a general lack of feeling (apathy). During the depression stage the sufferer might also have suicidal thoughts, reduced coordination, the inability to sleep (insomnia), a lack of concentration, as well as a lacking interest in normal and/or pleasurable activities.
What are the treatments available for Bipolar disorder?
The best treatments for bipolar disorder involve a combination of prescribed medications and counseling. The majority of people who are diagnosed with Bipolar disorder respond well to medication treatments. Another form of treatment that is also somewhat popular and well known is electroconvulsive therapy. This type of treatment works well for people who have not reacted favorably to standard treatments. People who are suffering from mania usually receive some form of antipsychotic drugs as well as mood stabilizers. People with bipolar disorder who experience a manic episode usually require hospitalization because of their unpredictable manner. Treating someone who is in the depressive part of the mood swing associated with Bipolar disorder is usually treated using an anti-depressant, anti-psychotic, electroconvulsive therapy, psychotherapy, or an anti convulsion drug.
Although there have been many advances in the field of mental disorder research, specifically with Bipolar research, there is still much to be learned about the disorder and how to effectively treat it.