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Bipolar disorder is a mental illness marked by extreme shifts in mood from a manic to a depressive state. Bipolar disorder is also called manic depression.

Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives. When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities.

Types of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar I Disorder
Bipolar disorder is known as manic-depressive disorder. Include single episode of mania in life. In face if they experienced only one week of mania symptoms year ago, they will still diagnosed with bipolar I disorder.

Bipolar II Disorder
It is milder form of bipolar disorder. To be diagnosed bipolar II disorder, a person must be experienced at least one major depressive episode and at least one episode of hypomania.

Cyclothymic Disorder
Diagnoses of cyclothemic disorder require that symptoms be present at least two years. In this disorder the person have frequent but mild symptoms of depression.

Rapid Cycling
In rapid cycling, a person with bipolar disorder experiences four or more episodes of mania or depression in one year. About 10% to 20% of people with bipolar disorder have rapid cycling.

Mixed Bipolar
In most forms of bipolar disorder, moods alternate between elevated and depressed over time. But with mixed bipolar disorder, a person experiences both mania and depression simultaneously or in rapid sequence.

Other types
These include, for example, bipolar and related disorder due to another medical condition, such as Cushing’s disease, multiple sclerosis or stroke. Another type is called substance and medication-induced bipolar and related disorder.

Mania Symptoms
Mania symptoms may include excessive happiness, excitement, irritability, restlessness, increased energy, less need for sleep, racing thoughts, high sex drive, and a tendency to make grand and unattainable plans.

Depression Symptoms
Depression symptoms may include sadness, anxiety, irritability, loss of energy, uncontrollable crying, change in appetite causing weight loss or gain, increased need for sleep, difficulty making decisions, and thoughts of death or suicide.

Causes
Genetic Factors

  • Bipolar disorder tends to be familial. About half the people with bipolar disorder have a family member with a mood disorder, such as depression.
  • A person who has one parent with bipolar disorder has a 15 to 25 percent chance of having the condition.

Neurochemical Factors
Bipolar disorder is primarily a biological disorder that occurs in a specific area of the brain and is due to the dysfunction of certain neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers, in the brain.

  • Environmental Factors in Bipolar Disorder
    Even without clear genetic factors, altered health habits, alcohol or drug abuse or hormonal problems can trigger an episode.
  • Although substance abuse is not considered a cause of bipolar disorder, it can worsen the illness by interfering with recovery. Use of alcohol or tranquilizers may induce a more severe depressive phase.

Diagnosis

  • Physical exam
    A physical exam and lab tests may be done to help identify any medical problems that could be causing your symptoms.
  • Psychological evaluation
    Your mental health provider will talk to you about your thoughts, feelings and behavior patterns. You may also fill out a psychological self-assessment or questionnaire.
  • Mood charting
    To identify exactly what’s going on your doctor may have you keep a daily record of your moods, sleep patterns or other factors that could help with diagnosis and finding the right treatment.
  • Signs and symptoms
    Your doctor or mental health professional typically will compare your symptoms with the criteria for bipolar and related disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to determine a diagnosis.

Treatments
Treatment is best guided by a psychiatrist skilled in related disorders. You may have a treatment team that also includes a psychologist, social worker and psychiatric.

  • Initial treatment
    Often, you’ll need to start taking medications to balance your moods right away. Once your symptoms are under control, you’ll work with your doctor to find the best long-term treatment.
  • Continued treatment
    Bipolar disorder requires lifelong treatment, even during periods when you feel better. Maintenance treatment is used to manage bipolar disorder on a long-term basis. People who skip maintenance treatment are at high risk of a relapse of symptoms or having minor mood changes turn into full-blown mania or depression.
  • Day treatment programs
    Your doctor may recommend a day treatment program. These programs provide the support and counseling you need while you get symptoms under control.
  • Substance abuse Treatment
    If you have problems with alcohol or drugs, you’ll also need substance abuse treatment. Otherwise, it can be very difficult to manage bipolar disorder.
  • Learn about bipolar disorder. Education about your condition can empower you and motivate you to stick to your treatment plan. Help educate your family and friends about what you’re going through.
  • Stay focused on your goals. Recovery from bipolar disorder can take time. Stay motivated by keeping your recovery goals in mind and reminding yourself that you can work to repair damaged relationships and other problems caused by your mood swings.
  • Join a support group. Support groups for people with bipolar disorder can help you connect to others facing similar challenges and share experiences.
  • Find healthy outlets. Explore healthy ways to channel your energy, such as hobbies, exercise and recreational activities.
  • Learn ways to relax and manage stress. Yoga, tai chi, massage, meditation or other relaxation techniques can be helpful.

Medications
A number of medications are used to treat bipolar disorder. The types and doses of medications prescribed are based on your particular symptoms.

Medications May Include

  • Mood stabilizers
  • Antipsychotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Antidepressant-antipsychotic.
  • Anti-anxiety medications

By: Clinical Psychologist Umar Raza

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