Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness also known under the name manic depression. People suffering from this disorder usually have problems in functioning, since their normal lives become easily and severely disturbed by intense mood swings, ranging from mania to depression. This disease typically damages patient’s relationships, careers and often leads to suicidal attempts. It is estimated that about 4% of world population experiences symptoms of bipolar disorder at some point of their life. This mental illness affects both men and women all over the world.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder
Symptoms of manic depression typically vary in different individuals and depending on the type of the current phase. The common characteristic of bipolar disorder is that patients experience abnormally elevated manic states, followed by the states of severe depression. Between these stages, people live relatively normal lives. However, in some patients, the mood swings are occurring rapidly and there is almost no gap between the manic or depressive state of their mind. Moreover, some patients experience more manic episodes, while the others predominantly have depressive episodes and only occasionally manic ones.
Symptoms of manic episodes include extreme hyperactivity, racing thoughts, euphoria, and abnormal increase in energy, no need for sleep, impulsiveness, and risky behavior. Symptoms of depressive episodes include overall lack of energy, apathy, sadness, need to be alone, insomnia or oversleeping, lack of interest in normally pleasant activities, and suicidal thoughts in most severe cases.
Causes of bipolar disorder
Scientists are not completely sure about what exactly causes the bipolar disorder. Some of them believe this mental illness runs in families, but there is growing evidence that certain environmental and lifestyle issues may trigger the disease in some people. According to one thesis, a misbalance in brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, may be responsible for bipolar disorder.
Prevention of bipolar disorder
At this point, there is no certain way to prevent bipolar disorder. However, one can certainly prevent hazardous effects of untreated mental illness. The problem with the bipolar disorder is that it is hard to diagnose and, for many years, patients may suffer never even knowing there is a successful solution to their problem. Sometimes this disorder takes a form of severe depression or substance abuse, shadowing other aspects of the condition. On average, it takes about 10 years to diagnose the bipolar disorder correctly. When diagnosed, patients may prevent severe mood swings by taking their medications regularly, getting enough of sleep, and discontinuing alcohol or drug abuse. Any kind of seasonal change or a major life change can also affect their stability, and must be considered risky with a lot of attention.