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What is bipolar affective disorder and what are the maincharacteristics?

Bipolar affective disorder is a serious mental disorder,which causes changes of mood and behavior that are very often extreme, rangingfrom very sad and depressed mood all the way to euphoria. The frequency ofthese changes varies, and it may occur a few times a year, or even a few timesa day, although there are also cases in which, for example, both euphoria anddepression are present at the same time. Since the periods of euphoria andhighly elevated mood are also known as mania, this disorder is also known asmanic-depressive illness. There are several types of bipolar disorders, andthey differ in severity of symptoms. Bipolar affective disorder affects equallyboth genders, although women tend to experience rapid-cycling bipolar disordermuch more than men, and although bipolar II disorder is much more frequent in females. Asfor the age, there are no rules, although generally, the symptoms may begin toappear as soon as one turns 15. Mortality rates are rather significant, sincethere are a huge number of those who commit suicide, while the number of peoplewho only attempt it is even higher. Regarding the causes of bipolar episodes,physical changes in the brain seem to play a very important role in triggering them,as well as imbalance in neurotransmitters in the brain. Besides this, hormonal imbalance,genetics, and environmental factors such as stress, or various traumaticexperiences may also trigger bipolar episodes.

Is there a chance to cure bipolar affective disorder?

Even though it is not possible to completely cure thisdisorder, it is possible to learn to deal with it and to control the symptomswith the help of medications and psychotherapies. Even when the person inquestion begins to feel better and even when it seems that all the symptomshave disappeared, the person is not cured and it is necessary to stick to the treatmentmethods that the specialist suggested. Only the most severe cases requirehospitalization, since they may harm themselves or people in their surroundings.Medications help in keeping the symptoms under control, and they areparticularly helpful when it is necessary to balance the moods as soon aspossible. Those that are most frequently prescribed are those from the group ofanticonvulsants, antidepressants and antipsychotics. As for psychotherapy,besides the person in question, it might also include family members and/orfriends.

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