Mental health issues such as bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety have been a growing problem in recent times. With COVID-19, the problem only seems to have worsened. Research predicts that COVID-19 is going to have far-reaching and very real consequences on mental health issues around the globe. Many of us have had our ups and downs, but with mental health issues, the peaks and lows are often much steeper. This is particularly true for people who suffer from bipolar disorder. Patients usually have extreme mood swings, with the highs of mania and the lows of depression.
In our efforts to spread awareness about mental health, we at TABIIB have listed out a few things that would help you understand bipolar disorder better.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
“Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness that causes unusual shifts in moods, behavior, activity level, concentration, and the overall ability to carry out normal tasks”. This disease can interrupt daily tasks as it is more than a fleeting good or bad mood. The mood shifts can often last for prolonged periods disrupting the ability to function.
Types Of Bipolar Disorders
Bipolar disorder is broadly categorized into three different types, which are all marked by extreme mood shifts. However, the frequency of the highs (manic episodes) and the lows (depressive episodes) may differ.
- Bipolar 1 Disorder – In this type of mental illness the patient usually suffers from a manic episode that could last for 7 days or more. Also, the patient might experience depressive episodes before and after the manic episode.
- Bipolar 2 Disorder – A person suffering from Bipolar 2 displays both depressive and hypomanic episodes. However, patients suffering from this form of illness usually don’t experience acute manic episodes commonly associated with Bipolar 1.
- Cyclothymic Disorder – Patients with cyclothymic disorder suffer from both hypomanic episodes as well as depressive episodes. However, these episodes are shorter and less severe than bipolar 1 and bipolar 2.
Signs, Symptoms, And Diagnosis
Bipolar disorder may look different in different people. As mentioned earlier, people with this disease suffer from intense mood changes often without recognizing their own behavior. These distinct episodes in bipolar disorder are known as mood episodes. During mood episodes, some people are more prone to mania or depression while others suffer from both. During manic phases, people experience feelings of heightened energy and during depressive episodes, they feel sad, hopeless, or empty.
There are various symptoms of bipolar disorder and it is often very hard to classify as people tend to experience the disease differently. Any mental illness can’t and shouldn’t be diagnosed at home. It’s best diagnosed by a health professional after thorough observation and testing. If you think you or your loved ones have any of these symptoms, you should visit a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Unfortunately, doctors and researchers haven’t yet identified the cause of bipolar disorder. There are many things that contribute to the development of this disease. Here are some possible causes :
- Genetics – If any of your family members suffer from the illness, you’re more likely to develop the condition. Research on the effect of genetics on bipolar disorder is fairly new. There are a few studies that conclude someone with a parent or a sibling who has bipolar disorder is 4 to 5 times more likely to get the disease than others.
- Biological Abnormalities – A few studies suggest that the biological abnormalities of the brain can cause extreme mood swings. One study concluded that “nerve cell connections, nerve cell growth and the functioning of nerve circuits have a major impact on depression”.
- Environmental and Lifestyle Factors – Doctors and researchers also believe that environmental and lifestyle factors such as extreme stress, physical or mental abuse, physical concerns, and many other issues can cause many mental illnesses or trigger symptoms.
Bipolar disorder is one of the most common mental illnesses people suffer from across the globe. If it remains undiagnosed, this disease can affect the daily life of people who suffer from it. If you think you suffer from this illness or know of anyone else who suffers from it, consult a doctor for a treatment plan. You can also seek help from a community or group that will guide you through the treatment or recovery of the disease.