Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder affects nearly six million adults in America. This is a pretty large number when considering the population of America. Given the extreme mood swings that come with this disorder, it is an eye-opening statistic.

It is up to us to understand what Bipolar disorder looks like.  Those without bipolar disorder can only hope to know how it feels. Knowing friends or family who suffer from this, we must have an understanding of how to address this. Below, we will be going into some research that will help you have a better understanding.

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The History Of Bipolar Disorder

To understand bipolar disorder, we must first understand its origin. If we were to go to the beginning, we would go back to first-century Greece.

According to healthline.com, it was stated that certain people in their society suffered from “mania” or “depression.” These symptoms were relieved by taking lithium baths. Lithium is a medication used today to treat bipolar disorder. Aristotle cited melancholy as a condition. As a result, it is seen as an excellent conduit for artists.

In the beginning, people who had this disease were treated with a great deal of stigma. The past treated this by executing those who suffered from this. This habit was overturned as society advanced, and further discoveries were had. During this period, people who suffered from this condition were called manic depressives.

In the 1980s, this was changed to bipolar disorder to avoid calling people “maniacs.” Today, the DSM-5 contains the details regarding treatment of the bipolar disorder. While we still need to work on addressing the needless social stigma about bipolar disorder, we are far better than we were at understanding it.

Bipolar Disorder

What Are The Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?

The Mayo Clinic gives us four different types of disorders to keep an eye on. We will list them out below. But first, we need to address some definitions.

  • Hypomanic – a lesser form of mania that causes the person to experience feelings of happiness or euphoria
  • Manic – This is high-level energy that borders on being deranged.

Bipolar 1 Disorder

If you have had at least one hypomanic episode next to a depressive episode, you are likely a type one. Mania is sometimes associated with psychosis, which causes the victim to break from reality.

Bipolar 2 Disorder

Characterized by one hypomanic episode followed by a depressive episode. Those suffering from this have never gone as far as mania.

Cyclothymic Disorder

This type is found in children and teenagers. Those suffering for one to two years are known to have many hypomania feelings and minor depressive feelings. This is not associated with those who suffer from significant depression, which is entirely different.

These are not considered different “levels” of bipolar disorder, but entirely different diagnoses. There are also those we did not mention due to them coming from specific sources. Cushing’s Disease is considered one example beset by a past in drugs or alcohol.

Regardless of which type you have, it is separated by two major areas. Manic episodes are those characterized by high energy that can occasionally reach psychosis. Depressive episodes are on the other end of the spectrum.

What Are Some Signs Of a Manic Episode?

  • Strong feelings of happiness
  • Strong feelings of power and talent
  • Poor judgement
  • Racing thoughts
  • Fast-talking
  • Reduced need for sleep

 

In extreme cases, mania can be associated with cases of psychosis. This symptom leads to a complete disconnection with reality. These behaviors border on being incredibly risky.

What About a Depressive Episode?

  • Feeling worthless and sad
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Sleeping too much
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Having little interest in activities
  • Having no sex drive
  • Talking slowly
  • Being forgetful

 

While this is often confused with general depression, bipolar disorder cannot have one without the order. In some cases, people can experience symptoms from both episodes. It is usual for people to not know how they are feeling.

What Cause Bipolar Disorder?

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has given a few reasons related to what could be causing it. Research has yet to have a concrete explanation. This tends to be a regular problem with mental disorders, as they tend to be incredibly complex.

Brain Photo showing mental health problems

Brain Structure

It is assumed that people with bipolar disorder have different  brain structures and functions than “normal people.” This can be related to the chemical balances in one’s brain. Researchers will need to perform more work before being able to find these differences. Until then, treatment tends to be limited to the symptoms.

Genetics

If your mother and father had bipolar disorder, you have a higher likelihood of having it yourself. Research tells us that many genes may be involved, but we have yet to pinpoint these genes. It is best to keep our eyes open on the latest research to see if any breakthroughs occur.

Genetics

Treatment For Bipolar Disorder

Treatments come in two primary forms.

Medication

Medications prescribed are intended to treat the symptoms. These can include anti-psychotic pills, anti-anxiety pills, and anti-depressants. The decision will be left up to the doctor involved.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is deciding to treat mental disorders with therapy (instead of medication). Many people speak with therapists about their abnormal emotional leaps, which helps them to process how they got there in the first place.

Eventually, the result can lead the person to better understand how their mind works. This strategy allows them to have greater control over their responses.

Getting Healthy

To this day, we still have a significant stigma regarding Bipolar disorder. Regardless of what people may tell you, there is a natural bias towards people who willingly admit they have a mental problem. As a result, those with preferences cripple their ability to understand.

Through awareness of the history behind this, we can see that we have come to greater understanding.  By knowing what to look for, we can find the triggers and strategies that will bring those who do not suffer to greater understanding. This will allow those who suffer from this disease to live without shame, which they should not experience in the first place.

Through consistent treatment which can be found through medication or therapy, sufferers can find some control in their mental paths. Regardless of their way, it is vital to understand and appreciate their journey. Doing so will ensure that they, or you, have an excellent support network.

References

https://www.dbsalliance.org/education/bipolar-disorder/bipolar-disorder-statistics/

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355955

https://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder/history-bipolar#th-and-th-century

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