Bipolar Disorder overview
Bipolar disorder is a serious psychological disorder that impacts mood. It’s typically characterized by extreme mood swings ranging from very high and very low, or manic vs. depressed. These mood swings can affect every aspect of life, and when it gets bad, it can significantly reduce the ability to carry out daily activities.
These extreme, manic vs. depressed mood swings may occur only a few times, multiple times a year, or even more frequently. When they occur, people will shift between feeling massively hopeless and full of euphoric energy, seemingly for little to no reason. While a strong emotional response is typical for bipolar disorder, it’s not always present.
There are several different types of bipolar disorder, each with its own specific quirks. One of the major issues with most forms of bipolar disorder is the unpredictable nature of mood swings and behavior. This can often lead to pushing away loved ones and eventual isolation. Each form of the condition comes with its own unique obstacles and ideal treatment plans.
As discussed, the two main modes for those with bipolar disorder are mania (or hypomania) and depression. Mania is typically characterized by abnormally upbeat or jumpy energy, an exaggerated sense of well being, not desiring sleep, and racing thoughts.
Depressive episodes, on the other hand, often result in total loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness, insomnia, and weight loss. Overall bipolar disorders are very complex conditions that can only be controlled by the proper treatment plan.
The precise cause of bipolar disorders is currently unknown, but researchers agree they have a complicated background. The main factors at play in the development of bipolar disorder seem to be genetics and brain structure.
While most people understand the impact genetics might play, researchers are currently focused on physical changes in the brain that go along with the bipolar disorder diagnosis. While they don’t know much yet, these changes could unlock significant answers about why bipolar disorder develops.
The main risk factors of developing bipolar disorder include having a first-degree relative who has bipolar disorder, drug and alcohol abuse, and long periods of high stress, generally following a traumatic event. Having bipolar disorder is also associated with higher levels of anxiety disorders, eating disorders, ADHD, and other issues.
Bipolar disorders impact an estimated 2.3 million people across America or nearly 1% of the entire population. While it generally develops during adolescence or early adulthood, it can sometimes start as late as age 40 or 50.
If you’re worried that you or a loved one may be struggling with bipolar disorder, be sure to talk to your doctor as soon as possible. When it comes to conditions like this, it’s crucial to get advice from a medical professional you trust. Only they can accurately diagnose any problem, as well as provide the appropriate treatment plan.