The life is anything but constant. So is our mental makeup. Sometimes we are happy and at other times we are sad. All these are normal manifestation of our active and reactive human nature. But any abnormal, extreme swings in mood, activities and energy levels could be early signs of bipolar disorder.
Thankfully, we now have cure processes that can track-down the disorder that is known to damage the brain. But by and large it is a long and difficult process of diagnosis of the ailment and then its treatment that can help the people with illness lead complete, productive lives.
- Some scientific research have attributed the bipolar disorder to genetic anomalies.
- Scientists have identified culprit genes – Dysbindin, Neuregulin and G72 genes – behind the ailment.
- Scientists believe that there could be around 50 to 100 genes responsible for bipolar disorder in a person.
- The disease causes serious damage to brain if it is not treated at an early stage.
One of the extreme symptoms of bipolar disorder can be the tendency to commit suicide. Leave aside the question of cure, the initial extreme symptoms could be emotionally wracking and socio-psychologically damaging to the victim.
- Symptoms of bipolar disorder may vary from person to person.
- In some people it manifests as psychotic episodes of illness lasting weeks or months with full remission of their symptoms between each episode.
- In others symptoms manifest continuously but with intense rise and fall.
- A single psychotic episode of bipolar disorder is followed by complete recovery.
- In other case disorder never shows any sign of abating its debilitating effects continue.
- Extreme swings in behavior can be the cause of damaged relationships, and very poor showing at the schools or at the workplace.
- In most of the cases the disorder surfaces in the early phase of the adulthood, in the age bracket of 15-25 years.
- In case of women symptoms appear late in the age bracket of 25-30.
- However, bipolar disease under 10 years and over 10 years of age is unheard of.
A global problem
According to a World Health Organization (WHO) sponsored report on ‘The global burden of disease: a comprehensive assessment of mortality and disability from diseases, injuries, and risk factors in 1990 and projected to 2020,’ bipolar disorder ranks among the world’s top ten cases of disability in the developed nations. At any given point of time as many as 51 million people across the globe suffer from the disorder, says the WHO report.
- A complete cure for the disorder is a far cry from being a reality.
- If properly treated with antipsychotic medications and psycho-social therapy then the rate of successful treatment can be as high as 60%.
- Early intervention and medication help in better recovery. Early diagnosis and stabilization of disorder help treatment process.
Time to act!
No doubt bipolar disorder today has emerged as one of the serious mental illnesses afflicting the global population, including India. What is even more disturbing is that teens with bipolar disorder have a 50% risk of attempted suicide. In rare cases even five years old children can also develop bipolar disorder. There is an urgent need to address the problem on a war footing!