What could Bipolar Disorder mean for you and your loved ones?
Updated: Mar 25, 2019
Bipolar Disorder (formerly known as manic depression) is a mental health condition that comes with unexpected and extreme mood swings. From high to low and back again. In extreme opposites.
Everybody will have experienced feelings of negativity or unhappiness. Life comes with its challenges. However in this case we are talking about extreme mood swings that can last for several weeks and sometimes even longer.
What are the signs?
The “highs” are called periods of hypomania or mania.
A few of the known symptoms are:
Lack of appetite
Abundance of energy
Not wanting to sleep
Feeling extremely creative
Feeling like God
The “lows” are called periods of depression.
Some of the most apparent symptoms are:
Overwhelming feelings of worthlessness
Feelings of guilt and despair
No interest in common activities
Illogical or disturbed thinking
It is even possible to feel both types of emotions at the same time. Which becomes very confusing, not only to the person suffering from the disorder, but also for the people around them.
It is highly likely that the person in question is completely unaware that they are acting irrational. They might think their behaviour is fully normal whilst being in that specific period. But they might be shocked when they come out of it and look back. Part of the symptoms of either period can be psychosis, which means it will seem like everybody around them is acting strange or irrational, not themselves.
What causes Bipolar Disorder?
The disorder does not discriminate between ages or genders. It is not limited to any age groups. Children as young as 5 years old have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
It is widely believed to be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Studies have proven that genetic factors contribute about 60-80% to the cause of bipolar disorder. But that still leaves 20-40% of other causes, such as extreme stress, overwhelming problems and life changing events.
How can you help someone with Bipolar Disorder?
This is usually a long-term condition. And there is no quick cure. The best thing you can do when you talk to someone you suspect to suffer from this condition is to listen. Listen without prejudice. Don’t argue or yell, just listen. And then seek professional help for them.
It is known that staying fit and active can help reduce symptoms of specifically the depressive side of this condition. Following a healthy diet and avoiding gain wait will also help to prevent progression of this condition.
But the best thing for people suffering from this disorder is seeking guidance from professionals. Don’t be ashamed or apprehensive. Look for help when you feel you need it.