What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness, is a psychological disorder characterized by the presence of 2 different personality traits. Most people live a dual personality lifestyle with an alternation between high mood (maniac) and low energy mood and depression. People are suffering from bipolar disorder often experience alternating periods of mania (high energy, mood) and depression (low energy and sad mood).
What is a Bipolar Personality?
Most medical practitioner often classifies bipolar disorder as a mood disorder rather than a personality disorder. It is a type of disease characterized by both maniac and depressive moods lasting for days or months. These people often experience mood and energy swing that affects their day to day activities and at least for a specific duration of time.
Types of Bipolar Disorder
There are 4 major types of bipolar disorder based on their symptoms and etiology. They are all characterized by mood switch and alternating energy level. The type of bipolar disorder that involves less severe symptoms is called hypomanic bipolar disorder. The 4 major types of bipolar disorder include:
- Bipolar1 Disorder: This type of bipolar disorder is often characterized by having maniac symptoms for a minimum of 7 days or severe manic symptoms that interferes with day to day activities requiring hospitalization. It can be combined with a period of depressive symptoms that lasts for about 2 weeks. However, some patients suffering from bipolar1 disorder experience a combination of both maniac and depressive symptoms.
- Bipolar 2 Disorder: Bipolar 2 disorder is not as severe as its type 1 counterpart; it includes the combination of the depressive and hypomanic syndrome. The symptoms do not last for a prolonged period of time like in type 1 bipolar disorder.
- Cyclothymic Bipolar Disorder ( cyclothymia): people suffering from cyclothymia often complain of having depressive and hypomanic symptoms for 2 years or 1 year in adolescence and adult. However, these signs and symptoms are not sufficient to diagnose the depressive or hypomanic
- Others: This groups of bipolar disorder includes specified and non-specified bipolar disorders that did not match any of the previous 3 categories but exhibits bipolar disorder signs and symptoms.
What is the main cause of bipolar disorder?
Scientists have revealed that bipolar disorder is a multifactorial disease that is linked to many risk factors. Despite the fact that it cannot be linked to one primary etiology, there are numerous risk factors that increase your likelihood of developing bipolar disorder. The most common risk factors include:
- Brain Structure: The structural anatomy of the brain influences how our brain work and function. Medical experts discovered that the anatomy of the brain of people suffering from bipolar disorder differs from healthy This is not enough to cause bipolar disorder but could be a risk factor for developing the disease.
- Genetics: a Specific gene in the human body increases the likelihood of an individual for developing bipolar disorder. These genes can’t be the only etiology in a bipolar disorder patient but could be very dangerous when combined with other risk factors.
- Family History: first degree relatives or people with siblings or family members with bipolar disease are at higher risk of developing bipolar disorder.
- Stress: Stressful conditions physical, traumatic or emotional could lead to mood swings and bipolar disorder. Most people tend to pick bad habits such as bulimia, or binging on alcohol after stressful conditions especially emotional stress or death of a loved one.
- Alcohol and Drug Abuse: Excessive alcohol intake or abuse of drugs especially addictive drugs could alter your mood and lead to bipolar disorder. Most people suffering from bipolar disorder are diagnosed with other accompanying medical conditions and addictions.
- Hormonal Imbalance: Alteration and fluctuation of hormones could change your mode because there are hormones responsible for making people happy. Serotonin also called happy hormones is responsible for making people feel good or happy. Alteration in any of the basic hormones in the body can cause mood changes and bipolar disorder.
What triggers a bipolar episode?
There are numerous triggers for bipolar disorders in most people. The triggers also dictate the type and symptoms. The most common trigger is a stressful life the source of the stress varies from one individual to another. Most people experience stress due to loss of a job or lost one. The most common triggers for bipolar disorder include:
- Insomnia or Altered Sleep Pattern: We live in an era where we work our fingers to the bone to meet ends meet. However, psychologists have discovered that have a schedule, and consistent diet, training, and sleeping routine prevent bipolar disorder and promote longevity. Insomnia or changing your sleep pattern could be a common trigger for bipolar disorder. This is more common in people with various changing work shift or people that work for long hours or travel across continents with different time zones. These triggers can be prevented by having a constant diet m exercise and sleep pattern. However, there are various treatment options for treating bipolar disorder due to insomnia or altered sleep patterns such as> Cognitive behavior therapy, and interpersonal and social rhythm therapy.
- Relationship Conflicts: Frequent arguments or spat with you f family, friends, or loved ones could be a trigger or red flag for bipolar disorder. Relationship experts have discovered that most argument, divorce, or broken relationship might be due to untreated bipolar disorder. If you noticed that you start an argument over little things that usually won’t annoy you, it could be a red flag for bipolar disorder. Spouses, co-worker, and family members should learn to help people with bipolar disorder.
10 common signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder and when to see a doctor
There are numerous signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder depending on the type and duration. Most people experience different signs and symptoms on various maniac or depressive stages. The most common 10 signs and symptoms that you should be aware of includes:
- Sudden Mood change: When you notice a sudden mood change in your family members, co-worker, or loved ones, it may be a red flag for bipolar disorder. When an ordinarily cool-headed person becomes irritable or picks up the fight easily.
- Feeling Invincible: Most bipolar patients experience the feeling of being invincible leading to impulsive decisions such as illicit advice or wrong investment.
- Racing thought
- Speed talking
- Excessive Energy
- Impulsive decisions
- Insomnia or feeling of not needing sleep
- Feeling over-worthy or unrealistic increased self-worth
- Sad and hopeless mood
- Suicidal thought
Bipolar disorder is a common neurological disorder in developed countries, it has an excellent prognosis when it is detected early and is one of the leading causes of most relationship breakups and underlying investments. Don’t fight someone with bipolar disorder, support them and help them.
10 Subtle Signs of Bipolar Disorder. (2018). Retrieved from http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20436786,00.html
Bipolar Disorder: 14 Signs to Look For. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/could-it-be-bipolar-signs-to-look-for
Madeline R. Vann, M. (2018). 9 Most Common Triggers for Bipolar Mood Episodes. Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/bipolar-disorder-pictures/biggest-triggers-of-bipolar-mood-swings.aspx#03