Jan 242013

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder is an alienating and scary mood disorder. It used to be known as manic-depressive disorder because of its two phases: depression and mania. Oftentimes, the patient would be stuck in a pendulum, swinging between depressive periods, where he or she would lose energy, feel a lack of interest in daily life. Sometimes, the depressive periods are accompanied by suicidal thoughts or tendencies. The patient may isolate himself or herself during those periods as well.

However, those periods or spells would last for a certain time, sometimes days, weeks, or even months, and then they are followed by manic periods: they are periods where the patient feels like her or she can take on anything. They often take on more projects than usual, cannot sleep, and feel the urge to do impulsive things.

Medical News Today points out that bipolar disorder is very different from the ups and downs that we experience on a daily level. It is far more extreme, far more damaging, and, as Medical News Today states, it is far more than that “it is much more severe, debilitating and incapacitating” than the day-to-day mood swings.

The publication further points out that nearly 4% of the US population has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. However, it is possible that the number is inaccurate because of the infrequency of diagnosis.

Furthermore, the Medical News Today publication explores the reasons that contribute to this diagnosis. First, genetics play a part in bipolar disorder. Those with a blood relative who has bipolar disorder are more likely to develop the disorder themselves, much like depression and anxiety. The publication also notes that biological changes in the brain happen oftentimes to lead to bipolar disorder, as well as a chemical imbalance in the brain, essentially the neurotransmitters do not communicate clearly to the brain to signal mood swings. There are also hormonal imbalances as potential reasons behind the disorder.

Finally, there are environmental factors that take place to increase the chances of bipolar disorder development. For instance, stress, loss, trauma, or abuse can all be indicators of bipolar disorder formation.

No matter what happens, however, it is important to remember that bipolar disorder is treatable and manageable with the right kind of help, understanding, and support. While the illness has a strong negative stigma, strides of progress have been made as more celebrities share their experience with the disorder. More people are thus likely to reach out for help and support. There are several therapists who offer free consultations to encourage patients to reach out for help. Psychologists also can help by prescribing medication that creates a more stable balance in the brain and hormones as well. There is help out there. Reach out!