A Closer Look at Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental condition that impacts your moods. It can cause you to experience extreme mood swings. So you can be extremely happy one minute, and very upset in the next.

Individuals with bipolar disorder have episodes of mania and depression. Mania is when a person feels very high and overactive. Depression is a condition that makes a person feel very low and lethargic.

According to Montreal psychologists, the symptoms would largely depend on which mood you’re experiencing. But unlike normal mood swings, each episode can last for several weeks at a time.

Mania

During a manic phase, a person with bipolar disorder may have lots of energy. They will appear very happy and can’t wait to tell you about their ideas and plans. They talk fast, do not want to sleep or eat, and are quick to get annoyed when they are in this phase.

Those who are in the manic phase also feel very creative and are generally in a positive disposition. However, they may also experience psychotic symptoms like seeing or hearing things or believing in things that do not exist or are not true.

Depression

For a lot of people with bipolar disorder, they are diagnosed with clinical depression before they experience a manic episode. It may take months or even years before they go through a mania phase.

When they experience an episode of depression, they may notice having strong feelings of worthlessness. They may even have suicidal thoughts. If you have severe symptoms of depression (like suicidal thoughts) make sure you seek treatment as soon as possible.

Dealing with Bipolar Disorder

If you or someone you know has bipolar disorder, it’s crucial that you seek treatment right away. There are several treatment options for this mental illness:

  1. Medication – Mood stabilizers are necessary to prevent mania and depression episodes. You may also be prescribed medication to treat the main symptoms of mania and depression as they occur.
  2. Psychological treatment – Talk therapy has been found to be very effective in helping patients deal with depression.
  3. Lifestyle advice – Planning activities you enjoy doing, eating the right foods, and exercising is beneficial for people with bipolar disorder.

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

Up to this day, the exact cause of this condition is still unknown. Experts believe that there are factors that can spark an episode including major life events (death of a loved one, bankruptcy, divorce, etc.) and extreme stress.

This mental illness is actually quite prevalent in our society. Studies suggest that about 1 in every 100 adults will be affected by it at some point in their life. It can affect people at any age, although it often develops between the age of 15 and 19. It rarely ever develops among those 40 years old and older.

Some people with bipolar disorder may experience many episodes while others will only have 1-2 episodes in their lifetime.

Psychological Treatment

Experts believe that using psychological treatment alongside medication may be useful for the patients. Some of the most widely used psychological treatments include psychological education, CBT, and family therapy. Psychological education helps the patient know more about their condition and how they should deal with it. Cognitive behavioral therapy, on the other hand, is useful for patients going through an episode of depression. Family therapy helps patients and their loved ones learn to work together to improve mental health.

Pregnant women (as well as those trying to conceive) who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder should consult their doctor for advice on how they can treat and manage their condition. The risks of treating and not treating their illness should be discussed fully with a medical professional.