Bipolar disorder is a relatively common mental illness that’s characterized by extreme mood shifts that present with diverse signs and symptoms, fluctuating from complete euphoria (i.e., mania) to depression.
This condition affects up to 2.8% of the American population, which translates to more than 5 million patients in the US alone.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder V (DSM V), patients with bipolar disorder often face difficulties to control their everyday activity, including their personal, social, and professional life.
The Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
As we mentioned in the beginning, the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder could be categorized into several entities, including mania, hypomania, and depression.
During a manic episode, the patient will experience euphoria, where every emotion is intensified. He/she will display feelings of excitement, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity, which pushes them to engage in the following activities:
- Excessive shopping and spending
- Having unprotected sex
- Getting drunk
- Trying dangerous activities, such as drug abuse
- Staying up for days
When the patient enters the hypomania phase, which is seen more often in type II bipolar disorder, he/she will engage in similar activities of mania; however, the intensity of the symptoms is less severe, leading to fewer consequences on the patient’s social, personal, and professional life.
Finally, depressive episodes are characterized by the downregulation of all emotions, making the patient feel severe sadness, hopelessness, asthenia (i.e., extreme fatigue), anhedonia (i.e., lack of interest), intensified feelings of guilt, sleep disturbances (e.g., insomnia, hypersomnia), and suicidal ideation.
The Causes of Bipolar Disorder
Researchers and mental health experts are still puzzled by bipolar disorder since there haven’t been any impressive breakthroughs when it comes to the causes of this condition.
However, some risk factors that may contribute to bipolar disorder include:
- Neurological damage – due to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
External factors – including extreme stress, recurrent traumatic brain injuries, and some associated organic pathologies.
The Treatment of Bipolar Disorder
Over the years, multiple treatment options have been developed to help patients with bipolar disorder.
The therapeutic approaches belong to one of these categories:
By continuously taking medications, patients will be able to live a normal life without any bipolar tendencies.
The drugs may include:
- Mood stabilizers (e.g., lithium)
- Antipsychotic medications (e.g., olanzapine)
- Antidepressant drugs (e.g., fluoxetine)
- Anxiolytic drugs (e.g., benzodiazepines)
This category includes cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which focuses on talking with a trained therapist to come up with the best ways to cope with bipolar disorder and reduce the risk of relapses.
Bipolar disorder is a complex psychiatric illness that requires specialized care and high compliance from the patient. If you believe you need help with Bipolar Disorder, telemedicine makes it possible for you to get the care you deserve. Schedule a virtual consultation with a Telakai Health online Provider and get on the road to recovery. Schedule your visit today.