By Dr. Kedar Tilwe, Psychiatry
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness marked by extreme shifts in mood ranging from a manic to a depressive state. Bipolar disorder is also called bipolar disease or manic depression. Bipolar disorder is very serious and can cause risky behaviour, even suicidal tendencies, and can be treated with therapy and medication
- Genetics – some small twin studies have indicated that there is a genetic contribution to bipolar disorder risk. People with a blood relative who has bipolar disorder have a higher risk of developing it themselves.
- Biological Traits – experts say that patients with bipolar disorder often show physical changes in their brains. Nobody is sure why the changes lead to the disorder.
- Brain-chemical Imbalance – neurotransmitter imbalances play a key role in many mood disorders, including bipolar disorder.
- Hormonal Problems – hormonal imbalances might trigger or cause bipolar disorder.
- Environmental Factors – abuse, mental stress, a “significant loss,” or some other traumatic event may contribute to bipolar disorder risk.
Types Of Bipolar-
- Bipolar I – A person affected by bipolar I disorder has had at least one manic episode in his or her life. A manic episode is a period of abnormally elevated mood, accompanied by abnormal behavior that `disrupts life.
- Bipolar II – Bipolar II is similar to bipolar I disorder, with moods cycling between high and low over time. However, in bipolar II disorder, the “up” moods never reach full-on mania.
- Rapid Cycling – In rapid cycling, a person with bipolar disorder experiences four or more episodes of mania or depression in one year. About 10% to 20% of people with bipolar disorder have rapid cycling.
- Mixed Bipolar – In most forms of bipolar disorder, moods alternate between elevated and depressed over time. But with mixed bipolar disorder, a person experiences both mania and depression simultaneously or in rapid sequence.
- Cyclothymia – This is seen as a sub-threshold (milder) form of bipolar disorder. There are numerous mood disturbances, with bouts of hypomanic symptoms which alternate with periods of moderate or mild depression.
At baseline level, a patient with cyclothymia may feel stable, but will go through noticeable fluctuations involving emotional highs during hypomanic episodes, with mania-like symptoms (but less severe), and emotional troughs with depressive symptoms, but not severe enough to meet the criteria for major depressive episodes
- Bipolar Symptoms- The primary symptoms of bipolar disorder are dramatic and unpredictable mood swings.
- Mania Symptoms- Mania symptoms may include excessive happiness, excitement, irritability, restlessness, increased energy, less need for sleep, racing thoughts, high sex drive, and a tendency to make grand and unattainable plans.
- Depression Symptoms- Depression symptoms may include sadness, anxiety, irritability, loss of energy, uncontrollable crying, change in appetite causing weight loss or gain, increased need for sleep, difficulty making decisions, and thoughts of death or suicide.