Manic depression or Manic depressive disorder, today known as Bipolar disorder, causes mood swings that affects people’s energy, thinking, behavior and their performance in school, job or a daily routine in various ways; for example a manic episode can cause people to quit their jobs, overcharge their credit cards or sleep for as little as two hours and feel rested while a depressive episode in the opposite, causes hopelessness and low energy. The first episode of Bipolar Disorder usually appears in the teenage years. This disorder has no cause. For some it happens because of genetics, for some, abnormal thyroid function or high level of stress none of which are submitted causes for this disorder. External environment and psychological factors known as “triggers” could be cause of episodes; these triggers could be stress, substance abuse, medication seasonal changes and sleep deprivation.
Bipolar disorder can be treated both with medication and physical and mental exercise. Unlike what is believed, people with bipolar disorder are able to have normal and happy lives. Bipolar disorder can affect a person both mentally and physically; for example it can cause anxiety and heart diseases, migraines and high blood pressure, so it is important to know the symptoms of this illness. Bipolar disorder has three different kinds. Bipolar I Disorder is the classic manic depressive with manic or mixed episode followed by one episode of depression. Bipolar II Disorder is a combination of hypomania and depression. Finally, Cyclothymia is a milder form of cyclical mood swings with hypomania and mild depression. There are four types of mood episodes, mania, hypomania, depression and mixed episodes, and each has different and unique signs and symptoms, and still it is important to know that these signs can also be unique in different people.
- Mania episode Symptoms include feeling unusually full of energy, creativity and euphoria. While a person with these symptoms may feel good in both mental and physical way, these episodes can cause reckless decisions and strange behaviors such as careless gambling, picking fights, lashing out, inappropriate sexual activities and foolish business decisions. In some cases people feel delusional as far as thinking they have abilities or powers and some hear voices.
- The Hypomania symptoms are similar to Mania symptoms but less intense which results to being unusually happy and energetic but still recognizing reality. In addition to the obvious harms to relationships, career and reputation, hypomania can escalates to full-blown mania or major depressive episode.
- The bipolar depression symptoms include feeling restless, unpredictable mood swings, loss of energy and gaining weight. Bipolar depression cannot be cured with regular depression medication, in fact it may make worse and escalate mania or hypomania episodes.
- Mixed episode consists of mixed signals of mania, hypomania and depression for example, depression while feeling agitated, anxious or racing thought and insomnia which all can result to risk of committing suicide.
People who have developed this disorder may experience “rapid cycling” which they go through four or more episodes of mania or depression in 12 months’ time. These cycles are quick but dangerous.
Treatment for bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder is treatable. Some of the basic treatments include long-term treatment and relying on therapy and social support and lifestyle changes in addition to medication. The long-term treatment also includes self-help. Self-help is about lifestyle changes such as educating yourself more about this disorder, exercising such as running, walking, swimming and dancing and meditation such as yoga for mental health and stress control. Seeking support and staying in contact with family and friends helps people to feel better about themselves and so make healthy choices and keep in check with their mood swings to control them better.
Bipolar disorder and suicide
One of the most important harms of bipolar disorder is risk of suicide. People with bipolar disorder are in higher risk of suicide than people with regular depression. People with frequent depressive episode, mixed episode and alcohol or drug abuse are more likely to show signs of suicide which are talking about death, self-harm, feeling hopeless, worthless and acting reckless, seeking for weapons and pills to commit suicide.