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Bipolar disorder: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Causes & Treatment

Bipolar disorder: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Causes & Treatment

Are you experiencing mood swings and reduced energy levels? If yes then you might be affected with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is one of the common mental conditions that exert a strong influence on behavior. However, if you want to know more about whether bipolar disorder is a mental illness or not, then read this article in a detailed manner. You will also get insight into the symptoms, causes as well as treatment of bipolar disorder. So let’s take a deeper look!

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a common mental illness but is mainly referred to as mood disorder. Persons suffering from this mental illness exhibit undesired alterations in their mood which directly affects their behavior. Moreover, they do not have any control over their emotions and thoughts and therefore face difficulty in managing their behavior. At one time, they show extreme excitement or pleasure while on the other hand, they feel depressed with reduced energy levels. These two phases are referred to as manic and depressive episodes. The occurrence of each period depends on various factors and are independent of each other. The individual effects of each episode are quite manageable. On the other hand, individuals face major difficulties in their lives due to the mixed episodes.

Symptoms of Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder affects each individual differently. Therefore each exhibits different symptoms in each phase such as:

Manic episode

When individuals experience the manic episode of bipolar disorder, they exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Greater excitement
  • Elevated energy levels
  • The extra sense of passion or confidence
  • Undesired or uncontrolled racing thoughts
  • Decreased hunger
  • Reduced desire or need for sleep
  • Talkative behavior
  • Impulsivity
  • Distractibility
  • Irritable behavior
  • Jumpy behavior
  • Difficulting in organization

Depressive episode

During the depressive episode of bipolar disorder, the following symptoms become more evident:

  • Sense of fatigue or tiredness
  • Feelings of Hopelessness
  • Reduced energy
  • Anxiousness
  • Lack of focus or concentration
  • Slurred speech
  • Preference of isolation
  • Reduced interest in social activities
  • Forgetfulness
  • Sense of guilt or embarrassment
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Disturbed sleep wake cycle
  • Trouble in decision-making
  • Gastrointestinal issues

What are the common types of Bipolar disorder?

The most common types of bipolar disorder are as follows:

Bipolar disorder I

Bipolar disorder is one of the common types of bipolar disorder. Moreover, this type exhibits severity as compared to other types. Persons suffering from bipolar disorder I must experience at least one manic episode in their life. In some cases, the onset of depressive symptoms occurs but it occurs rarely. However, in major cases, bipolar disorder type I occurs independent of the depressive episode.

Bipolar disorder II

After bipolar disorder, type II is most common among affected individuals. Unlike bipolar disorder I, this type is majorly linked with depressive episodes. Moreover, some symptoms of hypomania also appear. Moreover, some individuals also experience shifts between depressive and hypomanic episodes. If it occurs recurrently, then it can transform into severe forms.

Cyclothymic disorder

The cyclothymia condition is quite antagonistic to bipolar type I and type II. The occurrence of cyclothymic conditions in bipolar disorder is rare and also exhibit reduced severity. However, if this type is left untreated then it can persist to adulthood stages. In some cases, this condition is diagnosed in childhood stages while on the other hand, symptoms can be diagnosed in teenage individuals.

How to diagnose bipolar disorder?

This mental disorder is not diagnosed by any blood test. Moreover, only professional mental health experts perform the physiological evaluation to diagnose the bipolar disorder and associated symptoms. Different questions are asked of the individuals suffering from bipolar disorder related to their current mental state and previous medical history. Moreover, their family history is also determined to identify any genetic factors responsible for the onset of bipolar disorder.

Moreover, the diagnostic criteria of children also show a resemblance with the criteria of adults. However, in some cases, children with bipolar disorder are also diagnosed with other mental health conditions such as ADHD and some other behavioral disorders. Therefore, professionals should have a complete understanding of all different mental illnesses and their consequences.

Discover more: Depression in young adults: Signs, Causes, and Treatment

What are the main causes of bipolar disorder?

There is not a single cause of bipolar disorder. Multiple factors can cause the development of bipolar disorder.

Chemical imbalances

Various recent studies have reported an imbalance in the level of neurotransmitters due to the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Moreover, the main neurotransmitters which affect the mental stability include dopamine, serotonin as well as noradrenaline. The alteration in these neurotransmitters is also responsible for the onset of bipolar disorder symptoms.

Distressing life events

Stress is considered a major factor that can cause the onset of bipolar disorder symptoms. Different stressful events that are linked with the development of bipolar disorder include:

  • Personal loss
  • Financial loss
  • Childhood trauma
  • Poverty
  • Sudden accident

Genetic factors

Genes are the main units of inheritance that are transferred from parent to child. If any of your parents are suffering from bipolar disorder then there is a greater possibility that you will also get the disorder. Some studies support the fact that only a single gene is responsible for the development of bipolar disorder. On the other hand, some scientists are in favor of multiple genetic factors linked with bipolar disorder and its symptoms.

How to treat bipolar disorder?

The ideal way to treat bipolar disorder is the use of the right plan of medications and psychotherapy.

Psychiatric medications

Some specialized medications are used to manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder. The most common and widely used medications to treat bipolar disorder and its symptoms include:

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a renowned psychotherapy that is used to treat or prevent bipolar disorder. This therapy involves the direct interaction of mental health patients with individuals suffering from bipolar disorder. Affected individuals share their thoughts, and emotions and learn the ways to deal with their altered thoughts and resulting behavior. Mental health professionals identify the main trigger factors of depressive and manic episodes. After the identification, they guide the individuals that how to prevent bipolar disorder symptoms. Individuals learn different coping strategies and implement them to live a stress-free life.

Interpersonal therapy

Due to sudden mood swings, individuals are unable to develop healthy relationships with their loved ones. Their mood alterations affect their behavior which becomes the reason for their relationship failures or other interpersonal issues. However, interpersonal therapy works in a significant manner and assists individuals in resolving their interpersonal issues. During therapy sessions, therapists develop a secure environment where individuals are encouraged to share their mental health issues. Individuals identify their habits or behavioral patterns that disrupt the stability of their relationships.

Electroconvulsive therapy

This therapy is widely used to treat bipolar disorder and its associated symptoms. When other treatments do not generate the desired response, electroconvulsive therapy is utilized. Electric current is applied to the brain which in turn stimulates the brain cells. Due to stimulation, a controlled seizure is generated which provides relief from the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation

This therapy also involves brain stimulation. However, instead of electric waves, magnetic waves are utilized for the stimulation. After the electroconvulsive therapy, this therapy exhibits the best results for mental health. Different studies have reported the effectiveness of transcranial magnetic stimulation against bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder test

A physiological evaluation test is performed to identify the bipolar disorder. Mental health experts inquire about the cognitive abilities by asking different questions of the affected individuals. The most common and widely asked questions are as follows:

  1. How often do you experience anger outbursts?
  2. Have you ever felt less confident?
  3. Do you feel the sudden alterations in your mood?
  4. Are your sleep-wake patterns affected?
  5. Do you feel peace in isolation?
  6. Is excessive thoughts disturb your productive life activities?

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