Bipolar Disorder Meaning
Bipolar Disorder is a mental condition where people experience a roller coaster ride of moods. It is a sudden shift of feelings and emotions, a person can experience a sudden switch from being hypomanic (experiencing extreme happiness or euphoric moments) to depressive episodes (experiencing extreme sadness, confusion or fatigue). These unexpected shifts can be devastating. Bipolar Disorder is also known as Manic Depression. These manic episodes can elevate a person’s mood lasting for at least a week, though not every bipolar experiences depression.
Bipolar people often end up making irrational decisions which they may regret later. The risk of suicide is high including 6% of bipolar people over the past 20 years.1 And, 30-40% are engaged in self-harm. Often described as;
What Are the 4 types Of Bipolar Disorders
As described by American Psychiatric Association, Bipolar Disorder is categorised under these types:
Bipolar I Disorder
Being one of the most common types, this involves manic episodes lasting for a week or more. The person must have a previous major depressive disorder and the mania must be severe. It also includes one of the other disorders like schizophrenia or delusional disorder.
Bipolar II Disorder
Bipolar II Disorder
Bipolar II Disorder necessitates hypomanic and depressive disorders both. Depressive disorder is dominant here and in between both the episodes, people also experience normal mood conditions and lead a simple life, many people consider this disorder to be a milder version of Bipolar I Disorder.
Cyclothymic Disorder (Cyclothymia)
Cyclothymic people do not experience severe manic and depressive disorders, most times people do not seek treatment for this condition, as they categorise this as mood swings, but if not treated at the right time it may convert into Bipolar I Disorder and it does affect a person’s daily life.
Bipolar Disorder Due To Another Medical Or Substance Abuse Disorder
When people do go through certain mood swings, manic or depressive episodes and the symptoms do not fall under any of the remaining three categories, it is considered as Bipolar Disorder due to another medical or substance abuse disorder.
Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
Symptoms can be seen mostly in late teens and early adulthood. However, many people can also be diagnosed at early childhood or later in life. Researchers are still trying to find the exact cause of Bipolar Disorder and till now it is believed that both environmental factors and genetics are responsible for this. The symptoms can be seen in the form of sudden mood changes in a person’s behaviour.
Common signs of Manic & Hypomania State
Both mania and hypomania represent the same symptoms, as hypomania is a milder form of mania.
- Racing thoughts
- Decreased sleep
- Behaving impulsive
- Increased activity, agitation
- Poor decision making
- Engaging in high risk behaviours ex- gambling, wrong investments
- Feeling extreme happiness & overconfidence.
Major Depressive Episode
Major Depressive episodes include symptoms which affect day-to-day working, example- work, social life, slow growth and progress.
- Either insomnia or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy & memory
- Low self-esteem
- Feeling of hopelessness & self-doubt
- Difficulty concentrating & focusing
- Sudden weight loss or weight gain without any change in appetite
- Abandoning favourite activities.
Bipolar Disorder Test
To analyse Bipolar Disorder, your diagnosis must include:
- Physical Exam: A lab test or physical exam is important to know what problems you’re facing, without any results one cannot be considered a Bipolar.
- Psychiatric Assessment: Referring to a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist is a must, as she/he will ask you to go through certain questionnaires and with your permission, may ask about your symptoms from your family members as well. You can consult top psychologists and psychiatrists via online counselling.
- Mood Charting: A charting of your mood is a must, you should keep a record of your moods, feelings & thoughts on a daily basis after consulting a psychiatrist.
- Criteria For Bipolar Disorder: Your symptoms must be compared with the criteria listed in DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders) by American Psychiatric Association.
Bipolar Disorder Treatment
Kim Kardashian, recently opening up about her soon to be ex-husband’s (Kanye West) mental health condition, shared her experiences.3
“I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 17. It’s something I am still learning to tame and comprehend, but it was a huge relief to be diagnosed. It meant that I had an explanation for some of the highs and lows I’d experienced and I could start trying to understand myself a little better. The people who love me are still learning, too. Kim is correct – it is complicated and painful to understand. Both for the person who lives through it, and for the people who surround them. Especially for the ones trying to support someone they love through difficult episodes. Particularly when that person is resisting treatment – as it sounds like Kanye might be. His family has been trying to get him help, keep him safe, and bring him back to himself.”Kanye West
Bipolar Disorder is a persisting condition. People who suffer from Bipolar Disorder do not always remain in Manic or Depressive episodes but when they do it becomes persistent. The treatments may differ as prescribed by your Doctor. Once diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder you need to function under a psychiatrist or any medical professional who is trained for this. Finding a right treatment may take some time as different bodies react differently to any treatment or medication. These treatments includes:
Once diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, one needs to start medications to control their mood swings. As prescribed by the Doctor you need to have a combination of mood stabilisers, antidepressants, second generation psychotics (SGAs) and medications to help with sleep or anxiety.
Bipolar Disorder demands a full time treatment and care, even on days you feel better you need to keep a track of your mood as it may take a few seconds to change from minor mood changes to a full-blown manic or depressive disorder.
Counselling & Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy & Counselling can help a person to manage and keep a track of changes in their mood. Through CBT (Cognitive behaviour Therapy) and many other therapies, the person can learn to:
- Recognise the triggering situations and manage them
- Identify symptoms of manic or depressive episodes and take measures to prevent these episodes.
- Learn to Work on keeping their mood stable for as long as possible.
- Encourage the involvement of family members or friends in the healing process.
Adopting some lifestyle remedies may not help you treat Bipolar Disorder, but it can definitely help you try to maintain a stable mood. These remedies includes:
- Having a proper diet.
- Maintaining a proper schedule.
- Maintaining a proper sleep schedule.
- Nourish your exercise routine.
Hospitalisation is recommended only in severe cases, where an individual finds it difficult to manage their mood swings, they are kept under supervision and are taught to keep their mood calm and relieved.
Bipolar Disorder Medications
The type and combination of medications are prescribed by your Doctor. These may include:
Mood stabilisers are given to stabilise your mood. Helps you control your mood swings. In case of excessive mood swings you can consume a mood stabiliser as prescribed by your Doctor.
Some antidepressants may be suggested by your Doctor along with the mood stabilisers to balance depressive disorders. As alone antidepressants may trigger your manic episode, so it is given along with a mood stabiliser.
Antipsychotics are suggested in combination with other medications as well. It helps you manage both manic & depressive disorder.
Anti-anxiety medications are usually recommended on a short-term basis, promoting a better sleep quality.
Some medications including controlling effects of both manic and depressive episodes are given as prescribed by the Doctor.
Bipolar Disorder Online Counselling
Psychotherapy or talk therapy, gives you the chance to open up about your emotions, feelings and thoughts. Through online counselling you and your therapist can check the severity of your Bipolar Disorder and then you can easily proceed further.
Online Counselling gives you the opportunity to explore your inner-self along with;
- Location: It is easily accessible for people in remote areas and also provides good therapy options in cities giving you a number of therapists to choose from.
- Availability: In an Online sitting, you can set the timing as per your convenience and counsellors availability. This reduced travelling time and multiple options are available to you sitting at your place.
- Convenience: Online counselling is also convenient for people with physical challenges and also for people who cannot spare time to go visit a therapist specially.
There are many online counselling providers you can choose from. TickTalkTo has top rated psychologists and psychiatrists like Sukhmani Kaur, Parinita Roy, Mridula Sharma, Shobhit Prasad and Revathy Raghunathan who can help you with bipolar disorder.
Bipolar Disorder FAQs
What is a bipolar person like?
A Bipolar person is just a normal person dealing with some difficulties which may include mood swings, sudden happiness or sadness. A person suffering from Bipolar Disorder is not always hyperactive or extremely low, it is just the phases and episodes a person experiences. The severity of each bipolar person differs as some may be high in depressive episodes or some may be high in Manic episodes.
How do you know you are bipolar?
We cannot just declare anyone Bipolar, there are certain sets of norms and tests a person needs to go through only conducted by professionals or trained in this field. After going through the test, the results then must be compared to other Bipolar and all the criterias and symptoms mentioned in DSM-5 (Diagnostic and statistical manual Of Mental disorders).
What are 4 types of bipolar?
The 4 types of Bipolar includes:
- Bipolar I Disorder
- Bipolar II Disorder
- Cyclothymic Disorder (Cyclothymia)
- Bipolar Disorder due to another drug or substance use.
How do bipolar people act?
Someone from Bipolar Disorder experiences extreme highs and lows of emotions. One minute and a person can go from extreme happiness to extreme sadness or extreme fatigue to extreme hyperactivity.
What are 5 signs of bipolar?
The 5 signs of Bipolar includes a combination of mania or hypomanic and depressive disorder:
- Euphoria (a feeling or state of extreme excitement and happiness)
- Racing thoughts
- Easily distracted & disconnected
- Feeling of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
- Other features of Bipolar Disorder.
What are the signs of bipolar in women?
A few of these signs can be seen in Bipolar women:
- Talking fast than usual
- Racing flights of actions and thoughts
- Easily being distracted
- Elevated self-esteem and overconfidence
- Stepping into more dangerous tasks for ex: engaging in gambling or any harmful act.
Does Bipolar worsen with age?
If untreated, bipolar can definitely get worse with growing age. A person should seek help on an immediate basis if she/he experiences any kind of difficulty in his/her daily life and daily basic tasks.