Bipolar Disorder

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function. Different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But there is good news: bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.

What are the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?

It’s important to distinguish between the three elements of this condition:

  • Depressive symptoms
  • Manic symptoms
  • The cycle of these moods

The symptoms of depression, which are covered in depth in the depression section, include low mood, sleep disturbance, loss of appetite, a sense of pessimism, hopelessness, reduced sexual drive, loss of interest or pleasure in life, reduced ability to concentrate, and recurrent thoughts of death and suicide. People in mania are often described as being like a tornado. They experience elevated moods or euphoria, increased activity, pressured fast speech, self-important ideas or grandiose delusions, hallucinations, reduced sleep, increased appetite for food and sex, overspending on a wild scale and all-night excesses.

What are the Causes of Bipolar Disorder?

The exact causes of bipolar disorder aren’t known, but an interaction of genes and environmental factors, such as personal traumas or stress, can influence symptoms. Unresolvable problems or emotional damage in childhood may play a part, possibly combined with genetic factors. The illness first tends to appear in adulthood but may occur earlier. Bipolar disorder does occur in children, but they’re often misdiagnosed. Affected people fluctuate between periods of intense depression or mania interspersed by periods of relative calm.

Traditional Medical Treatments for Bipolar Disorder

There’s no cure for bipolar disorder, but many people find that an understanding of their disease and what triggers episodes – as well as treatments, including medicines such as antidepressants and lithium – can help them to live a relatively normal life. Antenatal screening isn’t possible

Complementary/Alternative Treatments for Bipolar Disorder

Complementary and/or non-Western treatments, such as acupuncture, meditation, yoga and orthomolecular therapy, are used by some people with bipolar disorder, and some research shows one, particularly yoga in mild bipolar depression, may have some scientific merit. However, further studies are needed to indicate which complementary therapies are effective and for what illness type and for whom.