BIPOLAR DISORDER

06 Jun 2019

ABSTRACT –

Bipolar disorder or formerly known as Manic Depressive Illness is a lifelong neurological condition that causes changes in mood, activity level and energy. When the mood is elevated, it is called mania or hypomania. When there is a decrease in energy level, it is known as depression.

Types of Bipolar disorders:

  1. Bipolar I Disorder: The person suffers from either maniac symptoms for 1 week or depression for 2 weeks or sometimes even both. Here, the maniac episodes are so severe that the person has to be immediately admitted to the hospital.
  2. Bipolar II Disorder: In this type, the person suffers from a pattern of depressive and hypomanic periods.
  3. Cyclothymia (Cyclothymic Disorder): The person suffering from this type has numerous episodes of hypomanic as well as depressive symptoms lasting for 2 years (1 year in children and adolescents).
  4. Other specified and unspecified Bipolar Disorders: Symptoms other than mentioned above come under this type.

CAUSES –

  • Genetics
  • Environmental factors
  • Neurological factors like trauma, multiple sclerosis etc.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS –

  • Manic and hypomanic episodes like racing thoughts, unusual talkativeness etc.
  • Depressive periods like fatigue, feeling of worthlessness etc.
  • Mixed episodes
  • Comorbid conditions eating disorder, social phobia etc.
  • Associated features like impaired memory, reduced concentration etc.
  • Anxious distress and melancholy

Children and teenagers suffering from this condition show severe distinctive manic or depression periods.

DIAGNOSIS –

There is no particular diagnostic test for Bipolar Disorder. The only way to diagnose it is by eliminating other disease conditions since they have similar symptoms. The test for the same includes:

  • Differential diagnosis
  • Bipolar spectrum
  • Rapid cycling

TREATMENT –

  1. Psychotherapy
  2. Medications
    • Lithium
    • Mood stabilizers like anticonvulsants
    • Antipsychotics
    • Antidepressants
    • Alternative medicines like Omega-3 fatty acids
  3. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

RISK FACTORS –

  • Genetics
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • High stress
  • Brain structure and functioning

COMPLICATIONS –

If this condition is not treated, it can lead to severe problems like:

  • Suicidal attempts
  • Relationship problems
  • Problems related to drug and alcohol use
  • Financial or legal problems
  • Hindrance in performance

Along with Bipolar disorder, the patient may also suffer from:

  • Physical health problems like headache, thyroid etc.
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Eating disorder
  • Anxiety disorder

EPIDEMIOLOGY –

  • Late adolescence and early adulthood are the major age groups for the onset of Bipolar Disorder.
  • This condition is found more in developing countries than in developed countries.

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