Bipolar disorder or manic depression is a mental condition in which the person suffering from it undergoes sudden changes in mood , going from being very happy to being deeply sad. These changes are known as manic or hypomanic phases and depressive phases.
When the person is in an episode of mania they tend to be euphoric, full of energy, act impulsively and are unusually irritable in everyday situations. Whereas when he is in a depressive episode, he feels deeply sad, hopeless, having lost interest and desire to do activities that were normally pleasurable for him. The frequency of the change in mood depends on the person suffering from it. They can occur rarely and with long periods of time in between, or happen often.
What types of bipolar disorder are there?
There are several types of bipolar disorder or manic depression depending on the intensity of the mood swings. But despite the difference, they all negatively affect personal and social relationships, cause poor school and work performance, etc. The different types are:
– Type I bipolar disorder: When the person suffers at least one manic, hypomanic or depressive episode throughout their life. Normally, people who suffer from this type have a mania phase followed by a depressive one.
– Type II bipolar disorder: When the person suffers more than one depressive episode and at least one manic or monomanic episode throughout their life. Sometimes this type of bipolar disorder can be confused with major depression.
– Non-specific bipolar disorder : In some cases, bipolar disorder cannot be classified into the aforementioned types for these reasons:
o Changes of just days between manic and depressive symptoms, so they do not meet the minimum duration to be considered episodes or phases.
o Manic or hypomanic episodes with no depressive symptoms in between.
o A manic and depressive episode, along with a delusional disorder, such as schizophrenia .
In these cases, the person is considered to have non-specific bipolar disorder.
– Rapid cycling bipolar disorder: When the person suffers four or more than four manic and depressive episodes throughout a year.
However, there are variants of this disorder , such as cyclothymia , in which the intensity of the episodes is lower, but they last at least two years, in the case of children and adolescents one.
How are mania and hypomania different?
Mania and hypomania are different mood episodes, but they have the same symptoms. Its main difference lies in the intensity and severity of these, being the most serious and intense mania, which affects personal relationships, work, family, etc. In addition, in an episode of mania, there may be disconnection with reality and it may be necessary to hospitalize.
What are the causes of bipolar disorder or manic depression?
The causes of this disorder are not yet clear, health professionals and specialists believe that it may have its origin in the genetics of the individual who suffers from it, which means that it is a family tendency. Instead, they also consider the option that it is caused by abnormal brain function.
Therefore the risk factors would be:
– Having a first-degree relative with this disorder.
– Long periods of excessive stress or situations with a high level of emotional turmoil.
– Abuse in the consumption of alcohol or drugs.
– Physical changes in brain structure.
When and who can get this disorder?
Generally, this condition begins in the early stages of adolescence or adulthood, but that does not mean that children, adults and the elderly cannot suffer from it, whether they are men or women.
Does this disorder have a cure?
Bipolar disorder or manic depression is a chronic condition , that is, it lasts for life. Despite this, mood swings can be diminished and controlled following a specific treatment, as can the rest of the symptoms.
This treatment is generally based on the consumption of medications prescribed by the specialist and supportive therapies or psychotherapy. It is more effective and gives better results when both treatments are added.
What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?
There are several signs and symptoms that we must take into account when detecting whether a person suffers from bipolar disorder or manic depression. These symptoms will depend on the mood and the phase in which the person is, becoming very similar to depression in depressive states.
Some symptoms and signs that bipolar people show when they are in a manic state are:
– Increased energy of the person and therefore of physical and mental activity.
– Impulsive and reckless behaviors with a high level of risk for the person, such as compulsive shopping, having unprotected sexual practices, drug use, etc.
– Less need to rest and without experiencing fatigue.
– An exaggerated state of mind, with a lot of self-confidence and optimism.
– Egocentrism, presenting a higher level of importance in itself.
– Excessive irritability and aggressive behaviors.
– Increased speed when speaking and thinking.
– In some cases, delusions and hallucinations.
– Loss of connection with reality and judgment.
– Decreased ability to concentrate and attention.
Some symptoms and signs that bipolar people show when they are in a manic or hypomanic state are:
– Crying for no apparent reason.
– Feeling of sadness lasting for long periods of time.
– Changes in eating and sleeping habits, that is, loss or increase of appetite and insomnia or hypersomnia.
– Attacks of anxiety , anger, rage and irritability.
– Increased concern and insecurity, even reaching paranoia.
– Loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyable and enjoyed doing.
– Agitation or behavior slower than usual.
– Decreased energy and apathy.
– Pessimism before all aspects or indifference in these.
– Inability to concentrate or retain information.
– Feelings of guilt and indecision.
– In some cases suicidal thoughts and self-injurious attitudes.
– Social isolation and loss of relationships, both work and family, couple and friendship.
– Physical pain for no apparent reason.