Mental health awareness has been increasingly inculcated to public health issues ever since cases of mental disorders have been growing in the past years. This, in turn, led the film industry to create films and series focused on how mental disorders affect people and their loved ones (most commonly, these are films about depression). There are many mental health disorders which are commonly reported, and commonly these are bipolar disorder, eating disorders, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, etc. In this article, we will be talking more about bipolar disorder symptoms, causes, and treatments which we hope will give insights to people who may know others who are affected with this disorder.
The Nature of Bipolar Disorder
The first thing that comes to mind when hearing the word “bipolar” are extreme and immediate mood swings, but what is bipolar disorder exactly? Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder otherwise known as manic depression. It causes alternating periods of depression and elevated mood (called mania). A person afflicted with this disease exhibits specific signs and symptoms which stem from these emotional lows and highs. Recognition of these symptoms is important especially since it can help you treat an afflicted person before the illness gets worse. The most commonly observed bipolar disorder symptoms include:
1. Mania and Hypomania – these episodes are characterized by the following symptoms:
a. Being unnaturally happy or upbeat
b. Elevated Energy Levels (resulting in hyperactivity)
c. Quickly Agitated
d. Euphoria – being overly confident
e. Insomnia – cannot easily sleep
f. Being overly talkative
g. Hyper thinking – having a lot of thoughts
h. Poor attention span – easily gets distracted
i. Poor decision-making which results with compulsive and risky actions
2. Major Depressive Episodes – these episodes involve a lot of crying and negative thinking. Other symptoms include:
a. Depression – feeling sad, empty and irritable
b. Loss of interest in activities
c. Unexplainable weight fluctuations (associated with depression; may manifest as weight gain or weight loss)
d. Either sleeplessness or too much sleep
e. Either nervousness or stunted activity
f. Lack of energy and fatigue
g. Suicidal tendencies
Bipolar treatment may vary, depending on the type of disorder that manifests in a person. There are three types of bipolar disorders, which all differentiate from one another based on the manifestation and duration of the emotional highs and lows. The most common treatment for bipolar disorder involves a mixture of treatment strategies such as the prescription of mood-stabilizing drugs, coupled with psychotherapy. These treatments will be prescribed depending on the severity and progress of a diagnosed patient. It is best to determine early on the risk factors that you or someone you know has, to anticipate early solutions as soon as possible.
There are two main factors which place a person at risk for this brain condition. Bipolar disorder causes are mainly genetic and environmental in nature meaning, this brain condition may be passed down from one generation in your family to another. An environmental trigger can then cause the manifestation of this illness in people who are genetically predisposed to this disease. It is advisable to keep an emotionally healthy environment around people who are genetically inclined to this disorder to prevent its manifestation.
Ongoing stresses from the environment can trigger mental disorders to people who are predisposed to mental health illnesses, such as bipolar disorder. Major bipolar symptoms include episodes of emotional highs and lows, which are easily recognizable and can be prevented early on. In case that this disease has already manifested, treatment may vary between types but the prescription of mood-stabilizing drugs, coupled with therapy can surely improve an affected person’s condition.