Bipolar disorder also referred to as manic depression is a brain disorder that results into shifts in moods, unusual shift in energy, activity levels as well as the ability to carry out the day to day tasks. Individuals with this type of illness make poor decisions without giving a second thought of the consequences that come along with them. Furthermore, during the period of illness, these individuals have a negative point of view in regard to life and they often engage in crying and feeling abnormally energetic, joyous and irritable. The causes of bipolar disorder vary from environmental, genetic and psychological and it is always vital to ensure that the diagnosis is done in the correct manner for effective treatment of the condition.
Causes of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder has various causes. Firstly, it is caused by genetic influence. Genetic studies provide suggestions that various chromosomal regions in addition to candidate genes are related to the susceptibility of bipolar disorders with each gene being able to exert effects that vary from mild to moderate. The bipolar disorder risk is relatively higher in the closer relatives of the individuals that are affected with this illness. Secondly, bipolar disorder can be linked to environmental effects. Environmental factors largely contribute to both the development and the course of this illness. In addition, the psychosocial variables of an individual may interact with the individual’s genetic dispositions. Basically, the environmental factors that can contribute to bipolar disorder include childhood abuse history besides long term stress. According to research, among the adults that are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, 30 to 50 percent of them were involved in abusive childhood experiences associated with suicide attempts. Generally, events that stem from a harsh environment lead to bipolar disorders as compared to the individual behavior of a child.
Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder takes a series of stages namely the manic stage and the depressive stage. Therefore, there are various symptom associated with each stage as analyzed below.
The manic symptoms are characterized by distinct and abnormal states that include shifts in moods. Therefore, the manic emotional state is characterized by symptoms such as extreme irritability, restlessness, sleeplessness, increased agitation, an increased sex drive, inflated self-esteem, reality detachment and the making of both huge and unattainable plans.
The depressive state of bipolar disorder involves characteristics with depression thus leading into loss of interest in life and a depressed mood. Thus, the depressive stage of bipolar disorder is characterized by the symptoms such as weight fluctuations such as the gaining or loss of weight that is significant, suicidal thoughts, sleep disturbances such as insomnia or sleeping for too long, energy loss, feelings of fatigue, anxiety, uncontrollable crying, reality detachment, lack of concentration, indecisiveness, feelings of guilt or feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness.
Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder
A physical examination is conducted by a doctor with a view of diagnosing this illness. In addition, a doctor can also conduct an interview in order to diagnose the illness. For an individual to be diagnosed with this illness, he/she should have at least one of the stages of bipolar illness that is the manic or depressive stage. After diagnosis, the following types of bipolar illness can be identified. Firstly, it is the bipolar 1 disorder. This is an illness whereby an individual has experienced either one or more episodes of the maniac stage of bipolar disorder. Individuals diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder seem to be going through both the manic and depressive stages of bipolar disorder for at least one week. The second type of bipolar disorder is bipolar 11 disorder. This is a type of bipolar disorder whereby individuals experience the depressive state of bipolar disorder which involves going back and forth the hypomanic state. The next type is cyclothymic disorder. This is a chronic mood state that is not stable as it involves individuals experiencing hypomania and mild depression for a period of two years. These individuals tend to show normal moods which do not last for a period of less than eight weeks. The last type is bipolar disorder. This state is diagnosed when an individual fails to meet the conditions for bipolar1, bipolar 11 and cyclothymic disorder but experiences abnormal elevation of mood that is clinically significant.
Above all, it is crucial for individuals who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder to identify professionals in health care who are in a position of understanding their background and therefore be able to share their treatment expectations. This is because individuals describe the symptoms related to bipolar disorder in various ways. In the western world, individuals are prone to describing their moods and feelings. On the other hand, cultures in the East provide a description of their physical pain. This is crucial in avoiding chances of being misdiagnosed.
The Treatment of Bipolar Disorder
Pharmacological and psychotherapeutic techniques can be used in treating individuals with bipolar disorder. Psychotherapy is conducted with the aim of alleviating the core symptoms of bipolar disorder, the recognition of episode triggers, the reduction of emotions that are negatively expressed in relationships as well as the recognition of symptoms associated with the illness before it becomes full blown. Some of the psychotherapeutic measures include therapy in cognitive behavior, therapy that is family based in addition to psycho education. In regard to pharmacological techniques, various types of medications can be used in treating bipolar disorder. The most effective and efficient medication is lithium as it is effective while treating the manic episodes besides apart from preventing relapses. Lithium is also efficient in treating the depressive stage of bipolar disorder. Lithium also leads to the reduction in the risk of committing suicide, self-harm and chances of death in individuals with the bipolar disorder.
Additionally, there are four anticonvulsants that are used in treating bipolar disorder. These are carbamazepine, sodium valproate, lamotrigine and topiramate. Carbamazepine is effectively used in treating manic episodes just as sodium valproate. On the other hand, lamotrigine is efficient in the treatment of bipolar depression and it is more beneficial as far as severe depression is concerned. It is also able to prevent further episodes of bipolar depression. All these anticonvulsants can be used when combined with lithium. To add on, antipsychotic medications can also be used effectively in treating bipolar manic for a short term period. Comparatively, when used for short term treatment, antipsychotic medications are more effective as compared to lithium.
In conclusion, bipolar disorder is an illness that is caused by both genetic influence and environmental factors. This illness is characterized by the manic episode and the depressive episode. In addition, the illness can be divided into four types. These are bipolar 1 disorder, bipolar 11 disorder, Cyclothymiacs disorder and bipolar disorder. This illness is associated with symptoms such as restlessness, sleeplessness, the desire to commit suicide, detachment from reality, anxiety and significant loss or add of weight, energy loss and the loss of hope in life. However, with both pharmacological and psychotherapeutic techniques, this illness can be treated and managed.