The intensity of mood changes in bipolar disorder is very severe and it can disrupt one's day-to-day activities to a great extent. The peak point of this disorder is mania, while the low point is depression.
The first sign of bipolar disorder can be seen in the adolescent stage. But it comes in such a subtle manner that it is difficult to recognize and may lead to misdiagnosis. Therefore, the most important aspect of the problem is to identify it.
The exact cause of bipolar disorder is not yet known, but it has been often found to run in families. Bipolar disorder can be categorized into four different mood cycles. They are - mania, hypomania, depression, and mixed episode. Each cycle may continue for many days, weeks, or even months.
The pattern, extremity, and frequency of the symptoms of bipolar disorder vary from person to person. Someone could be more prone to mania and others may be more into depression. In manic condition, a person may feel exceptionally energetic, impulsive, and have unrealistic beliefs.
In bipolar depression, irritability, sense of despair, concentration problem, suicidal thoughts, etc., are most common. The mixed episode is a mixture of symptoms of mania, hypomania, depression. It includes anxiety, depression with agitation, racing thoughts, etc. If a combination of high energy and low mood occur, then there is a higher risk of suicide.
People with bipolar disorder are often quite reluctant to undergo any treatment. They completely fail to understand that if this problem is ignored, it may aggravate and worsen to a serious level. If this disorder is left untreated, apart from health problems, it may cause damage to their career and relationships.
An early start of the treatment will help prevent various complications. The primary focus of the treatment is to relieve the symptoms, restore normal life by fixing the problems caused by the illness, and reduce the risk of further relapses. The three main facets of the treatment are as follows:
Medicines and Psychotherapy: Medicines are needed to stabilize the mood and keep the symptoms of high point and low point in check. A therapist is the best person, who can help the patient in dealing with the problems that arise due to the disorder.
Psychotherapy provides assistance in coping up with the difficult situations of life and various uncomfortable feelings that bother the patient's mind. It also facilitates in regulating change of mood, dealing with stress and setbacks, and even repairing your damaged relationship.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle: This includes regularity in sleep schedule and fitness regime. Patients should abstain from narcotic substances and alcohol, as these things aggravate problems of depression. They should workout a formula for managing stress. Exposure to fresh air and sunlight for some time during the day is also very good for such people.
Family Support: A good support system works wonders on this disorder. It can cause positive changes in the life of the patient, in his/her thought process or perception, and motivate him/her to lead a better life.
Many support groups organize seminars and workshops. Taking part in such activities can help the patient to share feelings and learn from the experiences of other people. Learning about the illness helps in better management of the symptoms.
People with bipolar disorder can be completely cured with the help of a correct treatment in a proper supportive environment. Once cured, the person can lead a productive and fulfilling life ahead.