Bipolar Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

What is bipolar?

Bipolar is a mental illness characterized by extreme mood swings. Someone who has bipolar disorder can really feel mania (happy), hypomania, to feel depressed. Bipolar disorder can make a person experience difficulty managing daily tasks or maintaining relationships.

Meanwhile, psychiatric disorders in Indonesia, referring to the Basic Health Research conducted by the Ministry of Health in 2018, the prevalence of people with severe mental illness (schizophrenia/psychosis) increased from 0.15% to 0.18%, while the prevalence of emotional emotional disorders in the age population 15 years and over increased from 6.1% in 2013 to 9.8 percent in 2018.

Check out the causes of bipolar disorder, treatment, and bipolar characteristics in detail below.

Causes of Bipolar

Bipolar is a disease whose cause is not known with certainty, but there are several factors that may be related to the causes of bipolar disorder, including:

  • Biological Conditions

A person with bipolar disorder seems to have physical changes in his brain. The significance of this change is uncertain, but this condition can ultimately help determine the cause.

  • Genetics

Bipolar is a condition that is more common in people who have siblings or parents who have similar conditions. Even so, further studies are still being conducted by researchers to find genes that might be involved in causing bipolar disorder.

Those at Risk of Bipolar Disorder

There are several factors that can increase a person’s risk of becoming bipolar are:

  • Experiencing prolonged stress, such as the death of a loved one or other traumatic event.
  • Drug or alcohol abuse.

Bipolar type

There are three main types of bipolar disorder, namely bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymia. Following is the full explanation:

  • Bipolar I Disorders

You have at least one episode of mania that can be preceded or followed by a depressive or hypomanic episode. In some cases, mania can trigger psychosis. This type of bipolar disorder affects men and women equally.

  • Bipolar II Disorder

You have had at least one episode of major depression and at least one hypomanic episode, but you have never experienced an episode of mania. Hypomanic episodes usually last around 4 days and are more common in women.

  • Cyclothymic Disorders

Have bipolar (hypomania) symptoms for at least 1 to 2 years during childhood and adolescence and periods of depressive symptoms (although less severe than major depression). Most people with this condition only experience one or two months at a time where their mood is stable.

Please note, bipolar II disorder is not a milder form of bipolar I disorder, but is a separate diagnosis. While manic episodes of bipolar I disorder can be severe and dangerous, individuals with bipolar II disorder can experience depression for a longer period of time, which can cause significant disturbances to the body.

If you have bipolar disorder, you may experience depressive episodes more regularly than episodes of mania or vice versa. Also, be aware that between episodes of depression and mania, you may sometimes experience periods where you have a ‘normal’ mood.

In addition to the three types of bipolar disease as above, bipolar disorder can also be related to other conditions such as consumption of drugs, alcohol or due to medical conditions, multiple sclerosis or stroke.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disease

Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings. This condition can be divided into mania, hypomania, and depression. Here are some bipolar symptoms that you can recognize, including:

1. Mania and Hypomania

Mania and hypomania are two different types of episodes, but these dual things have the same symptoms. Mania is more severe than hypomania and causes more real problems. In some cases, mania can also require hospitalization.

Symptoms of mania and hypomania that can occur include:

  • Optimistic and restless.
  • Increased activity or energy.
  • Excessive confidence.
  • The need for sleep decreases.
  • Unusual talking habits.
  • Poor decision making.

2. Depression

Depressive episodes include symptoms that are severe enough to cause real difficulties in daily activities. Symptoms of depression that can occur include:

  • Depressed moods, such as feeling sad, empty, hopeless or crying (in children and adolescents, depressed moods can appear as irritability).
  • Mark the loss of interest or feel displeased with all or almost all activities.
  • Significant weight loss when not on a diet. Weight gain or loss and increased appetite (in children, failure to gain weight as expected can be a sign of depression).
  • Fatigue or loss of energy.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
  • The ability to think or concentrate decreases.

In addition to the main symptoms as above, other bipolar characteristics that can be recognized include:

  • Mood: Sadness, anger, anxiety, apathy, fear, euphoria, dissatisfaction, guilt, despair, loss of interest or pleasure in activities.
  • Behavior: Irritability, irregular behavior, crying, excessive desire for sex, hyperactivity, impulsiveness, anxiety, or self-injury.
  • Cognitive: Unwanted thoughts, delusions, decreased concentration, quick thinking, slowness in activity, or false beliefs about superiority.
  • Psychological: Depression, episodes of mania, depression, anxiety, or paranoia.
  • Weight: Weight gain or weight loss.
  • Sleep: Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleepiness.
  • Common symptoms: Fatigue or fast talking.

When is the Right Time to See a Doctor?

Apart from extreme moods, people with bipolar disorder often don’t realize how much emotional instability disrupts their lives and the lives of their loved ones. This condition makes sufferers do not get the care they need.

Like some people with bipolar disorder, you can enjoy the feeling of euphoria and the cycle of being more productive. However, this euphoria is always followed by emotional collapse that can make you depressed.

If you have symptoms of depression or mania, see a doctor or mental health professional. Bipolar disorder does not improve on its own. Getting treatment from a mental health professional can help control symptoms.

Bipolar diagnosis

Although bipolar disorder can occur at any age, the diagnosis is usually made in the teens or early 20s. Symptoms can vary from person to person and can vary from time to time.

To determine whether you have bipolar disorder, evaluations can include:

  • Physical examination

Doctors can conduct physical examinations and laboratory tests to identify medical problems that can cause bipolar disorder.

  • Psychiatric Assessment

The doctor may refer to a psychiatrist to talk about thoughts, feelings, behavior patterns, or can fill in psychological self-assessments and questionnaires. With your permission, family members or close friends may be asked to provide information about the bipolar disorder you are experiencing

  • Record Daily Activities

You may be asked to keep a daily log of moods, sleep patterns or other factors that can help diagnose and find the right treatment.

  • Criteria for Bipolar Disorder

Psychiatrists can compare bipolar symptoms with criteria for bipolar disorder associated with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Diagnosis in Children

Although the diagnosis of children and adolescents with bipolar disorder includes the same criteria used for adults, symptoms in children and adolescents often have different patterns and may not fall into the category of diagnosis.

Children who have bipolar disorder are often also diagnosed with other mental health conditions such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or behavioral problems, which can make diagnosis more complicated. Referral to a child psychiatrist with experience in bipolar disorder is recommended.

Ultimately, the diagnosis can help children get treatment, but reaching a diagnosis may take weeks or months. A child may need to seek special care from a professional to treat children with mental health problems.

Some behavioral problems that you witness in children may be the result of other conditions. ADHD and other behavioral disorders can occur in children with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Medicine

Some of the treatments available can help manage bipolar disorder. This includes medication, counseling, and lifestyle changes. Some natural remedies can also help.

1. Natural Medicine

Some natural treatments may be beneficial for bipolar disorder. However, it is important not to use this method without first talking to a doctor, because this treatment can interfere with the medicine you are taking.

The following herbs and supplements can help stabilize mood and eliminate symptoms of bipolar disorder:

  • Fish oil

A study published in the US National Library of Medicine shows that people who consume lots of fish and fish oil are less likely to develop bipolar disorder.

  • Rhodiola rosea

A study shows that this plant can be a useful treatment for moderate depression. This ingredient can help treat depression symptoms from bipolar disorder.

  • SAMe (S-Adenosyl methionine)

SAMe is an amino acid supplement that is believed to relieve symptoms of severe depression and other mood disorders.

2. Medical treatment

  • Mood stabilizers, such as lithium.
  • Antipsychotics.
  • Antidepressants, such as fluoxetine-olanzapine.
  • Benzodiazepines, a type of anti-anxiety drug such as alprazolam that can be used for short-term treatment.

3. Psychotherapy

Suggested psychotherapy treatments can include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of speech therapy. You and the therapist talk about ways to manage bipolar disorder. The therapist will help understand ways of thinking and help find positive coping strategies.

  • Psychoeducation

Psychoeducation is a type of counseling that helps you and those around you understand this disorder. Knowing more about bipolar disorder will help you and others to manage the symptoms that arise.

  • Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy

Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) focuses on regulating daily habits, such as sleeping, eating, and exercising. Balancing the fundamental habits of daily activities can help manage disorders.

Other treatment options might include:

  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
  • Sleeping pills.
  • Supplement.
  • Acupuncture

4. Lifestyle Changes

There are a number of simple steps that can be taken to help manage bipolar disorder, including:

  • Avoid using drugs

One of the biggest concerns with bipolar disorder is the negative consequences of risk taking behavior and drug or alcohol abuse. Get help from a professional if you have trouble quitting these two things.

  • Establish a healthy relationship

Choose an environment that always has a positive influence. Family and friends can provide support and help monitor signs of mood swings.

  • Create a healthy routine

Having a regular routine for sleeping, eating, and physical activity can help balance your mood. Consult a doctor before starting any exercise program. If you have trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor or mental health professional about what can be done.

  • Consultation before taking other drugs

Contact the doctor who treats you for bipolar disorder before taking other prescription medications or over-the-counter supplements and medications. Sometimes other drugs trigger episodes of depression, mania or can interfere with medications consumed for bipolar disorder.

  • Note every mood change

Keeping track of all your daily activities can help identify triggers, effective treatment options, and when treatments need to be adjusted.

Tips for Bipolar Sufferers

Honesty is the best step you can take to manage relationships with others. Bipolar is a condition that can have an impact on relationships, therefore it is important to be open about the condition. Being open and honest can be done after you are ready to do it.

Consider these facts to your partner to better understand the conditions, including:

  • When you were diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
  • What to expect during the depressive phase.
  • What is expected during the mania phase.
  • How do you usually treat moods.
  • How people around can help you.

One of the best ways to support and make relationships work is to stay with care. Treatments help reduce symptoms and reduce the severity of mood swings. When aspects of this disorder are controlled, you can focus more on the relationship.

Find treatments that are suitable for perseverance. Therefore, you must be patient with yourself as you learn to manage bipolar disorder and anticipate mood swings. Together with the care team, you will find ways to maintain a normal, happy and healthy life.

Tips for Overcoming Bipolar People Closest

After getting a full explanation of what is bipolar, you need to understand that bipolar disorder is a chronic mental illness, it means the patient will live and be with him for a lifetime. However, it does not mean that sufferers cannot live a happy and healthy life.

Someone with bipolar disorder may not realize that they are in a mania phase. After the episode ends, they might be surprised by their behavior.

But at that time, they may believe others are negative or unhelpful. The extreme nature of this condition will make the relationship with other people become tense and an increased risk of suicide.

During episodes of mania and depression, a person with bipolar disorder can experience strange sensations, such as seeing, hearing or smelling things that are not there (hallucinations). They might also believe things that don’t seem to make sense to others (delusional). This type of symptom is known as psychosis or psychotics.

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