BIPOLAR DISORDER

A serious psychological disorder that was used to be called manic depressive disorder that is characterized by extreme mood swings from depression to mania, used to be called manic depressive disorder. It may  cause risky behavior, even suicidal tendencies, and can be treated with therapy and medication.

Types

  • Bipolar I – periods of severe mood episodes from mania to depression.
  • Bipolar II – milder form of mood elevation, involving milder episodes of hypomania that alternate with periods of severe depression.
  • Cyclothymic – periods of hypomania with brief periods of depression that are not as extensive or long-lasting as seen in full depressive episodes.
  • “Mixed features”- occurrence of simultaneous symptoms of opposite mood polarities during manic, hypomanic or depressive episodes. It’s marked by high energy, sleeplessness, and racing thoughts may be coupled with hopelessness, despair, irritability, and suicidal tendencies.
  • Rapid-cycling – four or more episodes of major depression, mania, hypomania, or mixed states, all within a year. More common in people who have their first bipolar episode at a younger age. Rapid cycling affects women more than men and may come and go.

 

Symptoms

The primary symptoms of bipolar disorder are periods of elevated or irritable mood accompanied by dramatic increases in energy, activity, and fast thinking.

The illness has two (bi) strongly contrasting phases (polar):

1. bipolar mania or hypo-mania and

2. depression.

Bipolar mania or hypo-mania symptoms include:

  • Euphoria or irritability
  • Increased energy and activity
  • Excessive talk; racing thoughts
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Unusual energy; less need for sleep
  • Impulsiveness, a reckless pursuit of gratification (shopping sprees, impetuous travel, more and sometimes promiscuous sex, high-risk business investments, fast driving)

Bipolardepression/major depression symptoms include:

  • Depressed mood and low self-esteem
  • Low energy levels and apathy
  • Sadness, loneliness, helplessness, guilt
  • Slow speech, fatigue, and poor coordination
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Suicidal thoughts and feelings
  • Poor concentration
  • Lack of interest or pleasure in usual activities

DIAGNOSIS

Physician may do/request:

  • History & Physical Exam
    • Talking openly with the doctor about your mood swings, behaviors, and lifestyle habits
    • Signs and symptoms of bipolar depression, hypomania, and mania
    • In order to effectively diagnose and treat bipolar disorder, the doctor must hear about the bipolar signs and symptoms from the patient

 

RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS

Lifetime medication is usually needed in the managment of bipolar medications as willpower alone is not enough to overcome the disorder

Medications may include:

  • Mood stabilizers (such as Lithium)
  • Anticonvulsants (such as Lamotrigine, Valproic Acid, and Carbamazepine)
  • Antipsychotics,
    • Typical (such as Haloperidol, Loxapine, and Risperidone)
    • Atypical (such as aripiprazole, ziprasidone, asenapine, quetiapine fumarate, and olanzapine
  • Benzodiazepines (such as clonazepam, lorazepam, alprazolam, and diazepam

Side Effects may include:

  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Hair loss
  • Sexual problems
  • Weight gain
  • Liver failure
  • Renal failure
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Skin reaction

Take your medications regularly and as prescribed by your physician. Don’t stop taking them without the approval of your physician as it may lead to harmful effects.

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