Understanding Bipolar Disorder and The Treatment Involved in It

Experiencing a wide range of emotions and moods throughout the day is common for everyone. But for someone with bipolar disorder, the situation is much worse, and life is highly chaotic.

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Bipolar disorder is tough to understand for most people because its symptoms vary widely, and often, they are similar to unipolar depression. Therefore, in most cases, it is very tough to diagnose, leading to a delay in treatment. 

According to a UK report, 56% of people with bipolar disorder in the UK are undiagnosed, which clearly indicates how difficult it is to diagnose the problem, let alone treat it correctly.

What Happens to People with Bipolar Disorder?

A person with bipolar disorder experiences rapid mood changes that alternate between manic or hypomanic and depressive states. During mood swings, bipolar people are extremely hard to predict and can harm themselves or the people who are close to them. Hence, it is essential to increase the general understanding towards bipolar disorder and learn about the treatment options before a person becomes a threat to themselves or others. 

What Causes Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is caused due to a wide range of factors, including worsening mental health and addiction. Broadly, we can group these factors under the following three categories:

Environmental: Stressful events in life, substance abuse, trauma, child abuse, and losing a loved one can all trigger bipolar disorder.

Genetics: If someone has a family history of bipolar disorder, they are more likely to acquire this problem through genetics.

Neurobiological: Abnormalities in certain parts of the brain regions and neurotransmitter systems can lead to bipolar disorder. 

Understanding Bipolar Disorder Signs and Symptoms

As the name suggests, the bipolar disorder manifests itself in two different forms:

Manic Form

Depressive Form

In either form, a person showcases various signs and symptoms. However, as a friend or a family member, if you see someone exhibiting a bulk of the following symptoms, you should recommend treatment to the person suffering:

A bipolar person can manifest their manic form in the following ways:

Elevated or irritable mood

Increased energy, restlessness, or agitation

A reduced need for sleep

Grandiosity or inflated self-esteem

Rapid speech and racing thoughts

Impulsivity, poor judgment, or risky behaviour

Increased goal-directed activity

Psychosis (loss of touch with reality)

A bipolar person can manifest their depressive form in the following ways:

Depressed or sad mood

Feelings of guilt or worthlessness

Loss of interest in activities

Fatigue or decreased energy

Difficulty concentrating or making decisions

Changes in appetite or weight

Insomnia or oversleeping

Thoughts of death or suicide

Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder

As mentioned before, diagnosing bipolar disorder is highly challenging, especially for a layman. Even doctors find it tough to diagnose bipolar disorder due to its complex symptoms. However, an experienced professional can perform a detailed analysis and diagnosis through the following methods:

Psychiatric Assessment: Through questions about emotions, feelings and behaviour patterns.

Physical Examination: To assess any physical problems causing bipolar disorder.

Creating a Mood Chart: By keeping a daily record of the mood of a prospective patient, it is easier to assess whether they have bipolar disorder.

Comparison of Symptoms with Base Criteria for Bipolar Disorder: A doctor can compare a patient's symptoms with a guideline of bipolar disorder symptoms to evaluate whether a person suffers from this mental issue.

Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong mental illness, the good news is that the worse symptoms of this disorder can be neutralized with the correct treatment. Below are some treatment options for bipolar disorder:

Continued medical support throughout life: When provided with the right medicine consistently, a person with bipolar disorder does not showcase their symptoms. However, it is crucial to take medication even when a patient feels better to prevent the symptoms from returning. 

Counselling treatment: Along with medication, it is essential to provide support and counselling to a patient during the period they are trying to get their symptoms under control. 

Treatment for substance addiction: If a patient is suffering from substance addiction alongside bipolar disorder, then it is tough to treat the latter. Therefore, getting substance abuse treatment at rehab is crucial.

Hospitalization: If a person who has bipolar disorder becomes suicidal or a danger to others, then it is essential to hospitalize them before they cause harm to themselves or others.

Final Thoughts

Bipolar disorder is a challenging problem to diagnose and even tougher to treat. But with the proper treatment at the right time, one can live normally. A rehab programme for bipolar disorder is the best bet to get quality treatment and counselling.

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