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Bipolar Disorder

What is bipolar mood disorder?

Bipolar mood disorder, also know as manicdepressive psychosist(MDP), is a type of mood disorder characterised by mood swing. Many people experience noemal mood swing from "Monday morning blues" to mild euphiria. In bipolar mood disorder, there are swing from extreme depression to great elation or mania and hyperactivity, occasionally at times losing touch with reality. However, there are also long periods of complete normality. Manic depressives suffer from an extreme of mood change over a more prolonged period and are regarded as being clinically ill during these attacks. A doctor or psychiatrist will look at whether an attack of mania is accompanied by depression before diagnosing bipolar mood disorder. Bipolar mood disorder typically begins in adolescence or early adulthood and continues throughout life. It is often not recognised as an ilness and people who have it may suffer needlessly for years or even decades.

What causes bipolar mood disorder?

Much research is being carried out to find the causes of bipolaar mood disorder but there are no definite conclusion yet. There may be a genetic predisposition to the illness. It could also be triggered by major stress event or hormonal changes such as those occurring after childbrith. It may also br due to a chemical imbalance affecting that area of the brain responsible for "moods".. Thus causing changes in feelings and behaviours.


a.) Depression
  • -depressed or in low mood
  • -a loss of intrest and enjoyment in life
  • -a lack of drive and motivation that makes even simple task and decision difficult or impossible
  • -utter fatigue
  • -agitation and restlessness
  • -loss of appetite with loss of weight
  • -inability to sleep
  • -loss of outward affection, loss of interest in sex
  • -loss of self-confidence, avoiding people
  • -feeling useless, inadequate, bad, helpless and hopeless
  • -feeling worse at a particular time of day, usually mornings
  • -suicidal thought, these are very common in depression and they are signs that help is needed.
b.) Mania & Hypomania
  • -elated mood
  • -increased activity & energy
  • -inability or unwillingness to sleep
  • -rapid speech, flow of ideas & thoughts
  • -inflated self-esteem
  • -irritability & impatience
  • -increased sexual drive & lack of sexual inhibitions
  • -loss of judgment & impuksive decision making
  • -irrational spending of money & involvement in questionable endeavors
  • -grandiose delusions

An early sign of bipolar mood disorder may be hypmania. This is a state in which the person shows a high level of energy, excessive moodiness or irritability, and impulsive or reckless behaviour. Hyoimania may feel good to the person who experiences this and the sufferer seldom thinks that anything is wrong and may object quite violently if anyone tries to print this out to him or her.

with experience, it is possible for some people to recognise their condition but often in an extreme state, all understanding is lost. It is not unusual for someone suffering an attack to break the law perhaps during a flight of fancy, about of excessive spending, committing a fraud, or fortunately, very rarely, of committing a physical assault.

3. Mixed states

A few people sometimes experience a combination of symptoms from both mania and depression.

For example, a high level of activity may be combined with a low level of concentration and a depressed attitude towards life. This can lead to an increased risk of suicide attempt. Normal Phase

After a period of depression or of mania, the suffere usually returns to a normal state, back to one's usual personality, thinking capabilities and energy levels without any physiological damage. However, the sufferer may start regretting the damage done to relationships or finance. There may be a loss of confidence and also embarrassement.

How frequent are the attacks?

The frequency of attacks varies not from one individual to another but also within the same individual. Some have a regular cyclic pattern; daily, monthly, yearly or every few years. Other people go for years. Other people go for years free from the problem and then have a series of random attacks.

Why is treatment necessary?

If untrated, sufferers will probably recover by themselves in time but often with devastating effect to their lives, their families and considerable unnecessary suffering. Wherever possible, early admission to hospital either for mania or severe depression does facilitate a quicker recovery. In addition, in-patient treatment also helps to protect the patient from the consequences of the illness, such as rash judgments in mania or suicide attempts in severe depression.

How is Bipolar mood disorder treated?

Mood swing in many cases(60-80%) CAn be controlled or reduced by medications such as mood stabilizers. At times other drugs are also used to treat either the depression or the mania. Sometimes, more than one drug is required. Theses drugs include antidepressants, anytipsychotics and benzodiazepines. For every drug, there is a "side effect". These drugs are used only to hasten a return to normality and it is seldom that they have to be continuously given.

Another treatment sometimes used in case of severe depression and occasionally mania is Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT). WHen administered, the patient is given a muscle relaxant and a short acting general anaesthetic. A strictly controlled electrical current is passed across the brain from electrodes placed against the head. There may be a loss of memory for the period of the treatment but there is no evidence of long-trem effects on memory. Generally severe depression can be successfully improved by ECT.

How to cope with the illness?

The effects of the mood swings put a great strain on marriages and chidren (or parnts), and friends as well as the individuals suffere. In a number of case this leads to isolation, loss of job, or loss of home, making for further strains and increasing the loneliness of the sufferer. Hence this illness affects the sufferer, the family and society in different ways.

i) The Sufferer
ii) Relatives and friends
i) The Sufferer

Sufferes need to admit that the are ill and is not easy. He or she may have to take mood stabiliser, in one from or another, for an appreciable length of time, possibly even for the rest of lives.

Try to recognise symptoms early as it is sometimes possible to stop a mood change from becoming more intense either by early drug treatment or by avoiding difficult situations. A change in sleep pattern is often a useful indicator of early relapse. Prevent complications by not abusing alcohol and caffeine products and maintaining a balanced diet.

As the illness can be stress-related, learn what causes you stress and plan your life to try and avoid unnecessary stress. Never make major decision when ill. Should you have a tendency to spend money when "high" , then consider putting your affairs into a trust or appoint an attorney to act on yourbehakf. Recognise that those close to you are trying to help.

ii) Relatives and friends

First of all, loved ones and relatives should recognise that the strange behaviour, violent or abusive language or prolonged silence, which characterise certain phase of the illness is not a previously hidden facet of the personality but a symptom of the mood disorder. Understand that you may have to lick away or hide household poisons or tablets on certain occasions or at other times go out and find the sufferer.

You May also have to encourage the person to visit the psychiatrist, or ask for urgent help whenever the suffere is so "high" that he or she i sno longer aware that anything is wrong. Visiting the sufferer at the hospital can also be a real test of your beliefs and understanding. You may not be well received, being accused of puting them in attitude. You may gain further insight and understanding of the illness from the nursing and medical staff.