Bipolar disorder is a type of mood disorder that affects all the areas of life, including your mood, energy level, attention, and behaviour. The symptoms are classified into two types of mood episodes, known as depression and mania. People with the disorder might only experience mania, while others experience symptoms of both mania and depression.
8.7 million people in India have been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Bipolar symptoms are classified into two types of mood episodes, known as mania and depression. When symptoms disrupt daily activities, work, and relationships. They are more likely to indicate the disorder is present.
Research shows that bipolar disorder is highly heritable, so having a family member with the condition increases the risk greatly. Experiencing traumatic events can also increase risk. Though they do not cause the disorder, factors like drug and alcohol use and lack of sleep can also trigger the onset of a manic or depressive episode.
A doctor, psychiatrist, or another mental health professional must evaluate whether your symptoms have reached the criteria of a manic or depressive episode or both. Also, they have to rule out whether the symptoms are caused by drug or alcohol use or any other medical condition. Detoxing from substances before an official diagnosis is required in case of any frequent drug or alcohol use.
If you’ve experienced the full criteria for a manic episode, you may get a diagnosis of Bipolar I Disorder. If you have manic symptoms but are not seriously impaired by them and have also experienced depression, you may receive a diagnosis of Bipolar II Disorder. Finally, if you’ve experienced manic and depressive symptoms without meeting the requirements for a full manic or depressive episode, your doctor may diagnose you with Cyclothymic Disorder.
The average age of symptoms onset is 25, some cases it might develop in children and teenagers.
Bipolar is a chronic condition, lasting for a lifetime. It is treatable, and symptoms can be managed with the right combination of medications and therapy.
Treating the symptoms of bipolar disorder requires a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and psycho-education. Sometimes substance use treatment, intensive outpatient programs, and hospitalization are necessary as well. Medication therapy is a very important component for stabilizing mood symptoms and managing the disorder. You may be prescribed antipsychotics, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, or anti-anxiety medication. It may take several tries to find the right medication with the fewest side effects. But it is recommended to not discontinue use of medication without consulting with your doctor.
People experiencing a manic episode are at a higher risk of suicide or other dangerous behaviour leading to personal injury. Encourage them to seek immediate treatment as it might lead to drug or alcohol use as escapism.
Encourage your loved one to consult with their doctor about their concerns. Calmly make them understand your observations about how the disorder may be affecting their daily life. If they are experiencing delusions, hallucinations, or thoughts of suicide, then seek help immediately or encourage them to go the nearest emergency room.