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Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder

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Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a mental health condition characterised by extreme mood swings that include periods of elevated or manic episodes and depressive episodes. Here are some key points about bipolar disorder:

  1. Manic episodes: During a manic episode, individuals experience an elevated mood and energy level. They may have an inflated sense of self-esteem, engage in risky behaviour, have racing thoughts, and require less sleep. Manic episodes can last for a week or longer and can impair a person’s ability to function in daily life.
  2. Depressive episodes: Depressive episodes in bipolar disorder are similar to major depressive disorder, characterised by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest or pleasure in activities. Individuals may experience changes in appetite, sleep patterns, energy levels, concentration, and may have thoughts of death or suicide.
  3. Bipolar I vs. Bipolar II: Bipolar I disorder involves experiencing at least one manic episode, which may or may not be accompanied by depressive episodes. Bipolar II disorder involves recurring episodes of depressive and hypomanic episodes, which are less severe than full-blown manic episodes.
  4. Cycling between episodes: People with bipolar disorder may cycle between manic and depressive episodes. The frequency and duration of these episodes can vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience rapid cycling, where they have four or more episodes within a year.
  5. Impact on daily life: Bipolar disorder can significantly impact various aspects of a person’s life, including relationships, work or school performance, and overall quality of life. The mood swings can be disruptive, and the intense emotions may strain interpersonal relationships.
  6. Treatment options: Treatment for bipolar disorder typically involves a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes. Mood stabilisers, such as lithium or anticonvulsant medications, are commonly prescribed to help regulate mood swings. Psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) or interpersonal therapy, can help individuals manage their symptoms and develop coping strategies.
  7. Self-care and support: In addition to professional treatment, self-care plays an essential role in managing bipolar disorder. This may include establishing a regular sleep schedule, maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, reducing stress, and avoiding substances like alcohol and drugs. Building a strong support system of family, friends, or support groups can also provide valuable emotional support.

It is important to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan if you suspect you or someone you know may have bipolar disorder. With the right treatment and support, individuals with bipolar disorder can lead fulfilling and productive lives.

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