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What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder is a mental health condition in which the patient experiences severe variations in mood, behaviors and attitude towards life. Those suffering from Bipolar disorder exhibit extreme moods, like highs when the person feels excessively euphoric and irritable (hypomania) and extreme lows of depression (feelings of hopelessness and dread) in a cyclical manner.

Bipolar disorder symptoms are generally characterized by frequent and unwarranted shifts in mood. The mood swings may occur only on rare occasions for some patients or continue to happen back to back for some. 

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder symptoms, as discussed, include major mood swings and sudden shifts in behavior. These symptoms depend greatly on the types of bipolar disorder. In general, along with mood swings, changes are also observed in:

  • Energy level
  • Interest in taking part in activities
  • Sleep patterns
  • Behavior towards others

In many cases, bipolar disorder symptoms may not be characterized as an episode of depression or an excess euphoria. Based on the bipolar disorder types, individuals with the condition can also show symptoms of unstable moods, frequently changing highs and lows. The bipolar syndrome often results in a weaker job and academic performance throughout life, trouble with relationships, and even suicidal tendencies if the patient goes untreated. 

What are bipolar disorder symptoms in the case of depressive mood episodes?

When the patient is experiencing extremely low mood episodes, the following symptoms can be observed:

  • Significant behavioral changes like irritability, rapid talking that others can’t keep up, taking reckless decisions without thinking about the consequences, etc.
  • Loss of interest in activities that they had previously expressed enthusiasm about
  • Feelings of unworthiness and dreadfulness
  • Extreme fatigue and lack of energy
  • Lack of appetite and significant weight loss
  • Problems with concentration, memory, and loss of problem-solving skills
  • Changes in sleep pattern – getting too less or too much sleep
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Suicidal thoughts or a suicide attempt

What are the symptoms of bipolar types in the cases of manic or extremely euphoric episodes?

During the manic episodes, an individual with bipolar disorder may show the following signs:

  • Long periods of intense joy and excitement with no apparent reason
  • Extreme agitation and feelings of jumpiness
  • Restlessness, getting easily distracted and racing thoughts
  • Feeling the need to continuously work or stay busy
  • Overconfident or unrealistic expectations about their abilities or euphoria
  • Taking part in high-risk behaviors and impulsive activities

Bipolar disorder symptoms tend to get worse if the patient goes long periods without treatment. In most cases, such patients start to experience mixed symptoms during which the episodes of mania and depression coexist leading to:

  • Extreme agitation and restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent appetite changes
  • Suicidal thoughts

 

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

To this day, the exact cause of different types of bipolar disorders is unknown, but it can be attributed to certain risk factors. The risk factors for bipolar disorder are:

  • Biological Changes: Patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder are seen to have certain physical differences in their brains. The changes in their brain makeup and their significance is not known yet but experts are trying to find the answers and hope that these changes might point to a clue.
  • Psychological Causes: Conditions like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or  Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can elevate the risk for developing other mental health-related issues like Bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and major depression as a co-occurring illness.
  • Genetic Factors: Most people with bipolar disorder are observed to have one first-degree relative like a parent or a sibling with the same mental health condition. Though this does not pinpoint the cause yet, experts are looking into locating the gene that might be the main cause behind the types of bipolar disorder.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

Let us discuss in detail the different types of bipolar disorder. The bipolar disorder types greatly influence the symptoms and patient characteristics.

Bipolar 1 Disorder

The bipolar 1 disorder happens when the patient experiences either mania and depression that’s pronounced and lasts at least 1 week. Opposed to other types of Bipolar, it is possible to experience only mania or depression rather than alternating between the two. The manic episodes of these bipolar disorder types can also lead to psychosis or a break from reality. All the behavior shown during this span must be completely different from the person’s normal behavior in order to qualify as a bipolar syndrome of type 1.

Bipolar 2 Disorder

The bipolar type 2 is characterized by the occurrence of one depressive mood episode and at least one hypomanic episode. Hypomanic episodes are nothing but lower intensity manic episodes. It should be noted that the bipolar type 2 or the bipolar 2 disorder does not relate to manic episodes. A patient will be considered to have bipolar 2 disorder only when they have never had a manic episode.

Cyclothymic Disorder

Cyclothymia or cyclothymic disorder is a less severe mood disorder as compared to bipolar 1 and 2 disorders. People with cyclothymia tend to experience short periods of mood swings between mild depression and an elevated mood. These high and low mood swings never occur in the severity or duration of full mania episodes.

Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder

People who have had at least four episodes of major depression, mania and hypomania within a span of only one year can be said to have rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. This disorder occurs more in women than in men. It is more common in people with severe types of bipolar disorder and those who have been diagnosed at an early age.

 

Difference Between Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2

Bipolar 1 and 2 are two separate diagnoses and bipolar type 2 does not signify lesser or mild symptoms than bipolar 1. These two different types of bipolar syndrome require different approaches to treatment. The major difference between bipolar 1 and bipolar 2 is that the bipolar 1 disorder is characterized by severe and dangerous episodes of mania whereas bipolar type 2 is more about depressive behavior for longer periods which can cause lifetime impairment.

 

How Is It Diagnosed?

Bipolar disorder often starts to show symptoms before the patient reaches 25 years of age. In most cases, symptoms are observed in teenagers while others may start to show signs of bipolar disorder as children

Diagnosing bipolar disorder early is not easy because the signs of bipolar in kids tend to occur slowly and worsen over time. Alternatively, bipolar disorder may also start to show signs very late in life.

So, whenever patients consult a doctor during their extreme depressive episodes, the doctor will usually conduct a full diagnostic test to rule out other mental health conditions as well, such as.

For proper diagnosis, the doctor needs to know about the alcohol and substance use habits of patients, their medical history, and occurrences of depression or suicide attempts among the family members of the patient. 

If the mental health professional suspects bipolar syndrome, they are likely to refer the patient to a psychiatric professional. Patients who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder tend to suffer from other related mental and physical health conditions:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD
  • Attention-deficit/ Hyperactive disorder or ADHD
  • Obesity or extreme weight loss
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Social anxiety or phobias
  • Migraine headaches
  • Thyroid diseases
  • Heart diseases
  • Diabetes

Such patients are also likely to have a substance abuse problem.

 

How to cure Bipolar Disorder?

There is no straightforward method of curing it. The treatment is carried out by trained professionals – a team comprising a psychiatrist, a clinical psychologist, a counselor, and a psychiatric nurse who are involved in the course of treatment. 

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition. So, Most of the bipolar disorder treatment methods are directed towards dealing and reducing the symptoms. Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition. The primary mood swings treatment consists of medications to balance the mood and psychotherapy or counseling which may also include attending support groups.

Depending on the needs of the patient, here is how to treat bipolar disorder:

Medications:

Medications and its dosage has to be regularly supervised according to the mood swings. Medications can be prescribed only after consultation with a mental health professional. Self-dosing is extremely dangerous and should never be attempted. 

Psychotherapy:

Counseling and therapy is a vital step in the rule book on how to cure bipolar disorder. This can be done individually or in a family or group setting. There are several types of therapy. These include: 

Here are the most common treatment procedures of bipolar disorder as suggested by the doctors:

Mood stabilizers: The patient is asked to take mood-stabilizing medications as part of the mood disorder treatment to control and manage hypomanic and manic episodes.

Antipsychotic medications: In the process of bipolar disorder treatment, if the symptoms of mania and depression persist even after medications, using an antipsychotic drug would help.

Antidepressant: To help manage the depression and extreme low episodes, doctors may also prescribe antidepressants for bipolar treatment. Since these medicines are associated with manic episodes, doctors generally advise patients to take these along with mood stabilizers and antipsychotic drugs.

Antidepressant-antipsychotic medicines: A new medication that aims to address both depressive and manic episodes in the path to mood disorder treatment. It is a combination of antidepressant and antipsychotic medication. It aims to balance out the mood shifts by effective mood swings treatment.

Anti-anxiety medications: Doctors also prescribe patients with several anti-anxiety medications to cure insomnia and improve sleep patterns but these are often advised for smaller durations of time.

 Continued Treatment: Sometimes Bipolar disorder treatment requires the patient to take continuous lifelong treatment medications even when they go through normal periods of mood and behavior. Patients who skip these treatments during normal situations are generally at a high risk of developing sudden lapses in mood which might lead to a full-blown and serious bipolar disorder.

Day Treatment Programs: Bipolar treatment methods also prescribe patients to enroll in day treatment programs that aim to provide support and counseling help that the patient might need to get the symptoms of bipolar disorder under control.

Substance Abuse Treatment: Mental health professionals need to cure the substance abuse problem of patients first. Hence, the mood disorder treatment also comprises medicines and help that might be needed to assist patients in getting their substance dependency eliminated.

Hospitalization for Psychiatric Treatment: Dealing with a loved one’s bipolar disorder isn’t easy. Their moods and behaviors affect their family the most, puts a strain on their relationship and disrupt all aspects of family life. In such severe cases, doctors might suggest hospitalizing the patients for psychiatric treatment.

This step is taken when the patient is very likely to commit suicide or shows any symptoms to harm others. Moreover, medication and mood swings treatment is also advised when the patients show behaviors related to psychosis or experiencing a break from reality. Hospitalization helps patients feel calm and safe during manic episodes. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – CBT treatment is designed to help the patient identify unhealthy and negative thoughts and behaviors that they might possess. The aim is to replace such thoughts with positive ones. This type of treatment is important as it helps to recognize the triggers of a bipolar disorder.

CBT is also beneficial for the patients as it helps them learn the strategies that can help them focus better and stay motivated throughout the journey.

Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) –  This type of treatment focuses on the stabilization of the daily rhythms of the body and mind, such as sleeping, walking and hunger. A stable routine helps the patient with better mood management. A daily and consistent routine of sleep, walk and exercise can help people with bipolar disorder stabilize their mood swings.

Psychoeducation – Learning about the condition is a very important step in helping patients understand how to control mood swings naturally. Not only the patients but also their caregivers should be aware of the condition to better understand the support they might need to handle the abrupt mood swings.

Family-focused therapy – Doctors also advise family-focused therapy because it has been seen that patients tend to stick to their routine and take up healthy habits when they stay among supportive family and friends. This also helps the family members to assist the patient in the event of sudden mood swings.

At a well established and renowned center like Cadabam, bipolar disorder is treated from various angles. We help develop a healthy lifestyle for the patient so even after they leave our treatment program, they live a healthy and happy life.

In addition to traditional talk therapy, treatment options include alternative approaches like Yoga, Mindfulness practices, Equine-assisted therapy, Fitness, Trauma therapies, Art, and music therapy.

Cadabams is among the best bipolar treatment centers in India delivering compassionate and comprehensive care to its patients so that they have a smooth journey of finding hope and healing from bipolar disorder.

Myths and Facts About Bipolar Disorder 

People might consider bipolar disorder as simple mood swings but the condition is far more serious than that. Let us bust some of the most common myths and learn some interesting facts about bipolar disorder.

Myth: The highs and lows are the same as the regular mood swings 

Fact: Bipolar disorder is a lot more unpredictable than normal mood swings of people. Some patients may have symptoms of both mania and depression simultaneously. This means that they may feel sad but feel wired or energized. There is no predictable pattern as the mood swings may occur at any time.

Myth: There is no way to treat bipolar disorder

Fact: The symptoms of Bipolar disorder are treatable and this can help manage the condition to a large extent. There are several medications that doctors prescribe for controlling mood swings and manic episodes. Patients can also choose to go to therapy which is a great way to bring back balance.

Myth: Bipolar disorder only affects adults

Fact: One of the most important facts about bipolar disorder is that children are susceptible to getting affected by the condition. Bipolar disorder in children is common and usually co-occurring with symptoms of ADHD which makes the diagnosis and subsequent treatment more difficult. Symptoms of bipolar disorder in teens are more common and widespread than that in adults.

Myth: Stress does not trigger episodes 

Fact: Among all the interesting facts about bipolar disorder, it should be noted that stress is one of the most important factors that can trigger a sudden mood episode. This can be about a sudden traumatic event like a death in the family or a failure in life. To keep excessive stress at bay, doctors advise bipolar disorder patients to take up relaxing activities like yoga, meditation, and exercises. 

Myth: Alcohol has no role to play 

Fact: The increased use of alcohol and recreational drugs among teens is gradually becoming an important reason for the relapse of symptoms of bipolar disorder in teens. These factors do not lead to the development of the disease but they can spark symptoms for the bipolar disorder to come back after long periods of normalcy. Patients with alcohol abuse problems have a hard time responding to bipolar disorder treatment.

Myth: Bipolar disorder only affects the mood of the individual

Fact: Bipolar disorder is not just about the mood of the patient but can also heavily affect their sleep patterns, energy levels, and decision-making skills. The effects are so intense that the patients tend to develop insomnia, have random bursts and fall in their energy levels and interest in doing some work and they tend to take impulsive decisions when it comes to investments and personal relationships. The patients also tend to take more risks and talk excessively.

 

Risks and Complications of Bipolar Disorder

There are certain factors that might increase the risk of developing bipolar disorder or might act as a trigger that can give rise to the first episode. Such risk factors include:

  • Having a first-degree relative who is diagnosed with bipolar disorder
  • Having experienced any traumatic event such as a death in the family
  • Long periods of drug or alcohol abuse

When bipolar disorder is left untreated, especially in cases where the patient or their environment does not take mental health seriously, certain complications may be seen in the long run. These include:

  • Serious problems related to substance abuse
  • Very poor work and academic performance
  • Suicide attempts and thoughts
  • Poor physical health and serious diseases
  • Damaged personal relationships
  • Legal and financial troubles due to poor decision-making skills

Living With Bipolar Disorder

For the people who suffer from such serious mental health conditions, lifestyle changes are needed to soften the symptoms in the long run. Patients need to learn how to control mood swings naturally and how to overcome mood swings. Such lifestyle changes include:

  • Quitting drinking and the habit of consuming recreational drugs
  • Consulting with the doctor before taking any medications for any physical or mental ailment
  • Creating and following a healthy routine
  • Maintaining healthy relationships who people who understand the importance of mental health
  • Keeping a mood chart

Certain self-help tips for bipolar disorder might include the following:

  • To understand how to control mood swings naturally patients need to educate themselves, read up and learn more about bipolar disorder. Education about the ailment the patient is suffering from can motivate them to stick to their routine
  • Join a support group to connect with others and share experiences
  • Look for ways of relaxation such as meditation, reading a book, listening to music, going for a walk or taking up new hobbies

The key to living with Bipolar disorder is being active in your treatment. When you seek bipolar disorder treatment in India, you have to learn about the disease. Study the symptoms so that you can recognize them and understand the treatment options presented to you by the best bipolar treatment center. You can improve your treatment process by cooperating with medical help in the following ways:

Being patient: When seeking bipolar disorder treatment in India, you have to be patient. The results will take time to appear but they are long-lasting.

Effective communication: The treatment programs offered by bipolar disorder in India will change over time. It will develop to match your current mental state, so you need to communicate with your counselor constantly to be aware of the changes made in the treatment program.

Take your medication: If you are on any prescription medication, take it diligently, and follow the instructions. Do not skip or alter your dose without consulting with your doctor first.

Participate in therapy: When you enlist in the best bipolar treatment center, you may have to go through therapy. These sessions will teach you skills that will help you cope with Bipolar disorder for the rest of your life. The therapy sessions will also help you regulate your emotions and enhance your relationships as well.

Another effective way of living with Bipolar disorder is identifying the common triggers, some of them can be:

  • Stress
  • Financial troubles
  • Intense arguments with family members
  • Facing problems at school or work
  • Seasonal changes
  • Under – sleeping or oversleeping

Prognosis

According to mental health experts, bipolar disorder is a very serious health condition but it is also treatable when the patient gets access to early diagnosis and treatment. Untreated symptoms of the disorder can only get worse in the long run. With proper care and adherence to medication along with help from therapy and a supportive environment and relationships, patients can go on to live a healthy life.

Getting Help For Bipolar Disorder

It can be really stressful to deal with Bipolar Disorder or have a loved one dealing with the illness. Seeking help and support is essential to help patients lead functional lives. If you are staging an intervention for a loved one with Bipolar Disorder, ensure you follow these guidelines. 

  • Make sure the person is comfortable and does not feel threatened.
  • Close family members or a partner should lead the conversation.
  • Do not include anyone who may be mistrusted by the individual.
  • Calmly take them through the options available such as a residential treatment facility or Bipolar disorder treatment center
  • Reassure them that seeking help will help them lead a fuller and happier life.
  • Make sure they feel supported and not isolated. 
  • Use positive language and ensure that they feel loved and appreciated.

Cadabams is India’s leading Mental Health Rehab for Bipolar Disorder and other serious mental illnesses.  If you are looking for bipolar disorder treatment in India. Visit our residential treatment facility for a guided tour of our Bipolar treatment centre

Bipolar Disorder FAQ: All you need to know

Is there more than one type of bipolar disorder?

Yes, there is more than one type of bipolar disorder. They can be listed as the following four basic types:

  •         Bipolar I disorder
  •         Bipolar II disorder
  •         Cyclothymic disorder or cyclothymia
  •         Other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorders

Is BPD dangerous?

If BPD is left untreated, it can lead to serious consequences. People with bipolar disorder are at an increased risk of drug or alcohol abuse, suicide attempts, self-mutilation and violent behavior.

Having bipolar disorder alone doesn’t make people violent. Certain situations like long periods of emotional distress or losing a loved one may trigger mood swings thereby increasing the likelihood of violent behavior towards oneself.

How is BPD treated?

Bipolar disorder is usually treated with a combination of therapies and medications. Therapy can be provided in the form of support groups, cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, psychotherapy, etc. The medications that may be used in the treatment of bipolar disorder are anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, and SSRIs.

Why is therapy a necessary part of BPD treatment?

Psychotherapy or talk therapy is a necessary part of bipolar disorder treatment. The therapist will talk to people with bipolar disorder about their thoughts, feelings, and behavior that may be causing them problems. Discovering and understanding these underlying issues works quite well to cope up with the problems that are holding them back from doing well in life and career.

Is normal life possible when living with BPD?

Having a healthy and normal life may seem quite challenging when you are diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It can make you feel alone and listless, but taking treatment and adhering to the medication regime and protocol can bring about substantial improvement.

Bipolar disorder is not a sign of your weakness. It is an illness, and for many people, it is a manageable condition. By seeking help from healthcare professionals and taking action to regain control of your life, you can live a normal and functional life.

Call us on our mental health helpline +91 96111 94949 for further details or Bipolar disorder related emergencies

Why Cadabams?

Our team of psychiatrists are experts in psychosocial rehabilitation and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) ), interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT), and family-focused therapy that has proven to be highly effective in cases of Bipolar disorder. We have over two decades of expertise in handling the most complex cases of Bipolar disorder.

Luxurious Living

At Cadabams, we provide clean, modern, fully furnished accommodations with all the necessary creature comforts.

Modern Amenities

Kitchen and dining hall, laundry facilities, indoor games area, yoga and meditation hall, outdoor games area for cricket, badminton, Round the clock psychiatrist and counsellor support, 24×7 ambulance on demand.

Healthy Cuisine

Our everyday menu is curated by Dieticians aimed at providing healthy and nutritious and tasty meals to satisfy everyone’s palate.

Entertainment Options

Recreation facilities such as TV, sports, gym, picnics and outings and more.

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5 or more symptoms of most of the day, nearly every day of the week or weeks or longer

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