There Are Bipolar People Amongst Us...


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In the society we live in nowadays, rates of depressions and other mental conditions have escalated from previous decades. This escalation would be justified by various reasons; however, this is a topic for another article.

When you feel depressed, you lose interest in your surroundings. You become fainted or depleted and have no taste for life and no excitement in doing anything - even if you have always been excited whenever you do this activity. Basically, you are in a “low” mood.

Well, have you been depressed and all of a sudden your mood just switched into being energetic? Have you been in a “low” state and suddenly switched to a “high” state? If not, then good for you. On the other hand, many people face this condition. Many people are diagnosed with what is called bipolar disorder.


What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a mental condition where the patient is exposed to several mode swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (major or less severe depression).

When you become depressed, you may feel sad and hopeless in addition to losing interest or gratitude in most activities. When your mood shifts to mania or hypomania (more alleviated than mania), you may enter a state of heightened energy, creativity, and euphoria.

These mood swings can affect several processes and activities such as sleep, activity, judgment, behavior, and the ability to think clearly.

These episodes of mood swings occur rarely or multiple times a year. Some people would experience some emotional symptoms accompanied with these mood swings; however, some people may not experience anything at all.

Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, mood swings and other symptoms can be managed if the patient followed a treatment plan and some type of medication. And in most cases, bipolar disorder is treated with specific medications and psychotherapy.


Symptoms

There are many types of bipolar and relevant disorders. These types may include mania or hypomania and depression. In whatever case, symptoms can cause unexpected and unpredictable changes in the mood and overall behavior, which can result in major distress and difficulty in life.

  • Bipolar I disorder: In this state, you’ve had at least one episode of mania that may be followed by hypomania or a significant depression state. In some cases, mania can stimulate a state where you enter a phase that breaks your consciousness from reality (psychosis).
  • Bipolar II disorder: In this state, you've had at least one significant depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode, but you've never had a manic episode.
  • Cyclothymic disorder: In this state, you've had at least two years — or one year in children and teenagers — of numerous times of hypomania symptoms and periods of depressive symptoms (though less significant than major depression).
  • Other types: These include bipolar and related disorders, for example, that are induced by certain external factors like drugs or alcohol or due to a medical condition, such as Cushing's disease, multiple sclerosis, or stroke.

Note that bipolar II disorder is not a more alleviated form than bipolar I disorder. It is just a different diagnosis. The manic episodes of bipolar I disorder can be more severe and hazardous; however, individuals with bipolar II disorder can be depressed for extended long periods of time, which can cause declension.

Although bipolar disorder does not have a definite age for its occurrence, it is typically diagnosed in the teenage years or sometimes in the early 20s. Keep in mind that the symptoms are not definite as well and they can vary from an individual to the other, and additionally, symptoms can vary over time.


Causes

Although there are no exact causes for this condition, several factors are said to may be involved in the appearance of the condition -

  • Biological differences. Individuals with this condition are exposed to physical changes in their brains. Although the significance of these changes is still uncertain, it can help in pointing out the causes in the future.
  • Genetics. People who have a first-degree relative, such as a sibling or parent, with the condition are expected to acquire it more than other people. With that said, researchers are trying to find genes that may be involved or connected in causing this condition.


How Can You Help Someone with Bipolar Disorder?

There is no doubt that dealing with the ups and downs of such conditions requires a significant amount of effort and patience and can be challenging indeed - and that is not solely for the conditioned person.

The behaviors and alternating moods of a patient will inevitably affect the people surrounded by them, especially their closest friends and their family. It can end a relationship that was once too fruitful to end and disturb all the aspects of one’s family.

For instance, during a manic episode, you may have to cope with the outrageous strange demands, explosive outbursts, and irresponsible decisions. And when this state fades away, you will have to deal with the consequences.

On the other hand, during depressive episodes, you may have to pick up the slack for a loved one who doesn’t have the energy to meet responsibilities at home or work.

And here is the good news. People with bipolar disorders can fairly stabilize their moods with proper treatment, medication, and support. Your patience, love, and understanding will be able to play a great role in your loved one’s treatment and recovery.

It is often that merely by having someone to talk to can make a significant difference to their outlook and motivation. However, caring for a bipolar disorder patient can have negative impacts on your life, so it is crucial to find a balance between everything.


Other Ways to Help Someone with Bipolar Disorder


Learning about the condition. Learn as much as you can about the different aspects of the illness so that you can be ready and equipped to face any phase of the condition.

Encouraging the person to get help.
It is always the sooner the better. Try to encourage your loved one to seek help immediately to avoid serious complications.

Understandable. Let them know that you are always there for them as a form of support and assistance. Mostly, people with bipolar disorders infer from seeking help from others because they get the feeling that they are burdens on others’ shoulders, so try to appear as supportive as you can.

Patience. Don’t expect everything to end quickly. Dealing with bipolar can be a lifelong process. However, patience is necessary, even with regular treatment in presence. Just get ready for any unexpected situations or challenges.



- Written by Eyad Aoun (EMN Community Member From Egypt)

- Edited by Mridul Goyal (EMN Community Member From New Delhi, India)

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