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Tell Me All I Need to Know About Bipolar Disorder

If you have inquiries regarding bipolar disorder, you may have various questions. For instance, what are the causes and the most effective treatments? We aim to address these inquiries clearly and considerately. Our goal is for you to discover some solace at present and a multitude of strategies for the future.

By Xuân LýPublished about a month ago 6 min read
Tell Me All I Need to Know About Bipolar Disorder
Photo by micheile henderson on Unsplash

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by extreme mood swings. It affects up to 5.7 million adults and symptoms usually appear between the ages of 15 and 25. The disorder can interfere with daily life, making it difficult to plan and navigate tasks. Genetics play a role, as the disease often runs in families and manifests itself at different stages of life.

There are four types of bipolar disorder: bipolar disorder, bipolar disorder, cyclothymic disorder, and unspecified bipolar disorder.

Bipolar I involves manic episodes that can lead to hospitalization, while bipolar II involves depressive episodes that last at least two weeks. Cyclothymic disorder is a milder form of bipolar disorder characterized by chronic mood swings lasting at least two years. Symptoms of bipolar disorder include manic episodes characterized by increased energy, impulsivity, irritability, and euphoria.

Hypomania, a milder form of mania that increases productivity and well-being, can also occur. People with bipolar disorder may behave erratically, such as excessive cleaning or excessive spending. Recognizing these symptoms is crucial for proper diagnosis and treatment. stressed speech, too much non-stop talking, feeling wired, too much energy, making bad decisions, easily distracted, irritable or impatient, feeling invincible, high sex drive, making unattainable plans and possibly psychosis.

During episodes of depression, people may feel overwhelming sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness and have a negative outlook on life. Other symptoms of depression include lack of energy, motivation, loss of interest in daily activities, constant feelings of sadness or emptiness, hopelessness, weight fluctuations, fatigue, indecisiveness, inability to concentrate and insomnia. Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings between mania and depression, with the patterns and duration of each state being unpredictable. The condition does not follow a set schedule, making it difficult to predict or plan mood changes.

Causes of Bipolar Disorder Bipolar disorder, like other mental illnesses, does not have one exact cause. However, it is understood that a combination of genetic factors and environmental influences can contribute to its development. Studies show that the disease is linked to several genes, with genetics accounting for about 80% of the risk. People who have a first-degree relative with bipolar disorder are more likely to develop the condition, as are those who have family members with other mental health problems. However, not everyone with a family history of bipolar disorder develops the condition. Environmental factors also play an important role in the development of bipolar disorder. These factors interact with the genetic predispositions that trigger the disorder. Factors such as diet, sleep patterns, substance use, relationship stability, home environment (especially in young people), stress and early childhood experiences influence the manifestation of the disorder. Therefore, living with bipolar disorder is likely due to a combination of genetic predispositions, environmental factors, and life events. While some individuals with bipolar disorder have experienced early traumatic events or stressors, others may not be able to identify specific triggers from their past. These differences contribute to misdiagnosis and poor treatment of bipolar disorder.

Research shows that nearly two-thirds of people with bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed at least once in their lives, often resulting in untreated symptoms for about 10 years before they receive appropriate treatment. Lack of treatment is often due to misconceptions about bipolar disorder and the challenges of recognizing its episodic nature and the stigma associated with chronic mental illness. In some cases, co-occurring problems mask the symptoms of bipolar disorder, and some people only receive a diagnosis after seeking drug treatment.

People with bipolar disorder may turn to drugs or alcohol to manage mood swings, seeking the euphoria or relaxation associated with manic or depressive episodes. If you suspect you may have bipolar disorder, seeking medical attention is critical to effectively managing the condition and leading a productive life without extreme mood swings.

Bipolar disorders in children and adolescents Bipolar disorders are more common in older adolescents and teenagers, but younger children can also be diagnosed at a younger age. Although bipolar disorder is less common in children than in adults, studies have shown that bipolar disorder affects up to 3 percent of all children and up to 7 percent of outpatients. Morbidity is even higher among children admitted to psychiatric hospitals. Bipolar disorder is diagnosed in children under the age of 5, which is called early stage bipolar disorder. Children whose parents have bipolar disorder have a higher risk of developing the condition. If one parent has bipolar disorder, each child has a 15-30 percent risk. If both parents are affected, the risk increases to 50 to 75 percent, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Bipolar disorder in children manifests as different mood episodes from mania or hypomania to depression. However, diagnosing the disorder can be difficult because of behavioral problems, academic or domestic difficulties, and symptoms such as restlessness, impulsivity, risk-taking, and hyperactivity that may be present in children and adolescents who do not have the disorder. It is important to note that several other childhood disorders cause symptoms similar to bipolar disorder, including attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, anxiety disorders, and major depression. Correct diagnosis is complicated by the co-occurrence of these mental health conditions with bipolar disorder. If a child exhibits depressed mood, loss of interest, negative thoughts, suicidal thoughts, reduced need for sleep, impulsivity, or aggressive and socially inappropriate behavior, it is recommended to consult a mental health professional specializing in children. Parents of children with a family history of bipolar disorder should be alert for symptoms and seek help quickly. Early diagnosis and intervention can prevent serious consequences and help children manage their mood and symptoms from a young age.

Bipolar disorder in women and during pregnancy Women and people with bipolar disorder have a greater risk of rapid cycling episodes than men with the same condition. Research shows that women with bipolar disorder may experience more depressive and mixed episodes than men with the condition. Pregnancy and the postpartum period can intensify the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can worsen the symptoms of bipolar disorder in women. Interestingly, some women who do not have bipolar disorder can develop it after giving birth, which is called postpartum bipolar disorder. This mood disorder may disappear or persist after childbirth.

Discontinuation of treatment during pregnancy is usually not recommended for severe psychiatric disorders. Discussions with health care providers are essential to assess the risks associated with the use of medications during pregnancy and their potential effects on the fetus. In some cases, the risk of not taking the drug is greater than the risk of stopping it. Some pregnant women may choose not to take medication, and in such cases the risks and benefits must be carefully evaluated. Treatment for bipolar disorder usually involves a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Consistently following these treatment plans can lead to high success rates. Medications prescribed for bipolar disorder aim to stabilize mood and control symptoms. Mood stabilizers such as lithium are effective in preventing mood swings. Antidepressants may be prescribed for depressive conditions, while atypical antipsychotics are used for severe symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions. Mood stabilizers are usually started and anticonvulsants may be added or antipsychotics combined with antidepressants. Drug choices are made according to prevailing symptoms and may need to be adjusted based on individual responses. It is important to follow the medication instructions and give them enough time to take effect.

Psychotherapy Research shows that psychotherapy is effective for people with bipolar disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help change negative or harmful thoughts and behaviors. Family-centered therapies involve family members and aim to teach coping strategies, communication skills, and problem-solving techniques. Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) is often used in the treatment of bipolar disorder and focuses on stabilizing daily rhythms, such as sleep and meal times, to create consistent routines for better mood control. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is also useful in the treatment of bipolar disorder because it emphasizes emotional regulation to deal with manic episodes. Psychoeducation is a valuable tool to educate people with bipolar disorder about their condition so they can identify triggers and mood swings to receive timely treatment.

It is important to note that bipolar disorder is an illness that can be managed through a combination of medical intervention, support from loved ones and personal empowerment.


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    XLWritten by Xuân Lý

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