This is the month of mental ilnesses awareness so let’s talk about the Bipolar Disorder.
Remember this: people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder are four times as capable in art, they have an intense creativity level and they have an increased ability in observing.
” Bipolar disorder is the great stew of mental ilness: a lil ADHD, a bit of OCD, a dash of eccentricity, a sliver of paranoia, a splash of impulsivity, a touch of random neuroses, a tad of grandiosity, and strokes of genius! ”
It’s not just feeling moody or stress. I’ve heard a lot of people that claim themselves to be bipolar just for these! Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels. Bipolar spectrum disorders are a major public health problem, with estimates of lifetime prevalence in the general population of the United States at 3.9% , with a range from 1.5 to 6.0%. It’s also associated with significant mortality risk, with approximately 25% of patients attempting suicide.
There are four types of bipolar disorder and the moods range from periods of extremely “up” to periods of ”down”(like depressive disorders).
So we have:
- Bipolar disorder I: defined by manic episodes that last at least 7 days or severe depressive episodes that the person needs to be immediately hospitalized. This episode can even last 2 weeks and there can be both depressive crisis and manic episodes.
- Bipolar disorder II: depressive and manic episodes but less sever than the above ones.
- Cyclothymic disorder: there are numerous periods of hypomanic symptoms as well numerous periods of depressive symptoms lasting for at least 2 years.
- Other Specified and Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorders : the symptoms are different than the others listed above.
Bipolar I disorder starts on average at 18 years and bipolar II disorder at 22 years. A community study using the Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) revealed a prevalence of 3.7 percent. The National Comorbidity Study showed outset typically between 18 and 44, with higher amounts between 18 and 34 than 35 and 54. Bipolar disorder has not been associated with sociodemographic factors. Males and females are both equally affected by bipolar I, while bipolar II is more common in women. No clear association between race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status or rural/ urban enviroments. There is a higher rate of bipolar disorder in unmarried people.
Signs and symptoms.
There are ”mood episodes” that are drastically different from the moods and behaviors of normal people. Here there’s a list of the possible symptoms.
Bipolar disorder can present even less severe mood swings. We have hyomanic episodes where the person can feel very productive and energetic. That person maybe doesn’t notice the change but family or friends can do it. Poeple with this disorder can develop mania or depression.
Some symptoms are similar to other ilnesses. People with bipolar disorder are also at higher risk for thyroid disease, obesity, heart diseases and chronic headache.
- Psychosis: Sometimes, a person with severe episodes of mania or depression also has psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations . The psychotic symptoms tend to match the person’s extreme mood. The person can think to be rich, famous or to be a superhero. Sometimes he can believe he committed a crime;
- Anxiety disorder or ADHD;
- Substance abuse: people with bipolar disorder can do drugs or abuse alcohol. Sometimes they have problems with school or relationships.
The causes can be:
- Genetics: people with certain kinds of genes can suffer of this disease;
- Family history: people who have parents with bipolar disorder can develop it;
- Brain structure and functioning: studies show how the structure of the brain can differ from other brains.
A number of medications are used to treat bipolar disorder, including:
- Mood stabilizers such as tegretol, lamictal or lithobid;
- Antianxiety medications.
Antipsychotic drugs may also be used to control depressive episodes or mania, especially when delusions or hallucinations are going on. For example: Abilify (aripiprazole), Saphris (asenapine), Symbyax (olanzapine and fluoxetine) and Seroquel (quietapine).
Rember: if you need help call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are also organizations such as :
- American Psychiatric Association: 1-703-907-7300, http://www.psychiatry.org ;
- Brain and Behavior Research Foundation: 1-800-829-8289, https://bbrfoundation.org;
- International Society for Bipolar Disorders: 1-412-624-4407, http://www.isbd.org ;
- National Institute of Mental Health: 1-866-615-6464, https://www.nimh.nih.gov.
STOP THE STIGMA.