The Two Faces of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder, also known as Manic depression, is a medical condition in the brain that causes abrupt and unusual changes in the mood, activity levels or emotion of a person. The symptoms of bipolar disorder are hard to diagnose at the onset of the problem, and is usually often misdiagnosed as Severe Depression because people usually consult medical health during their depressive state but rarely during their manic periods.

There is no exact cause that directly contributes to Bipolar Disorder, though researchers agree that genetic and environmental factors play a huge role in the development of this disorder in an individual. Environmental conditions that may trigger bipolar depression may include deaths in the family, experiencing abuse from relatives or strangers, parents separation, and other traumatic events. On the other hand, a persons risk of developing manic depressive illness is slightly higher if a close relative has it, since genes is also one known factor. However, having a family member that has a bipolar disorder does not necessarily mean that you will automatically have it too. Studies are still being done in order to specify which gene or genes are causing bipolar disorder.

When bipolar disorder first came about, people who have been successfully diagnosed were men and women around their twenties and older. However, recent studies have shown that adolescents and even younger children may already be showing signs of manic depressive illness.

A complete detailed family and medical history is needed in order to correctly diagnose bipolar disorder, especially in adolescents, because the symptoms they show are slightly different from what adults may be experiencing. A person with bipolar disorder goes through episodes of intense highs and lows, that keeps increasing in severity as time that the disorder has not been treated pass. Symptoms of mania may include increased physical and mental activity, less sleep due to hyperactive feeling, fast flowing speech and thoughts, poor judgment, aggressive behavior, exaggerated optimism and self-importance, and reckless behavior. On the other hand, depression symptoms include energy loss and fatigue, excessive anxiety, suicidal tendencies, guilt and angst feelings, loss of appetite, inability to concentrate and too much or too little sleep among others. These symptoms are so severe that it affects a persons efficacy in shool or work, and his or her interactions with other people.

Some people may experience these episodes of highs and lows in a period of months each, and they may return to an almost normal state in between mood shifts. In adolescents however, mood shifts may occur as often as on a day to day basis. Some people may not experience a normal state at all and abruptly change from mania to depression and vice versa without breaks.

Ideally, people with bipolar disorder need to be diagnosed and treated as early as possible before they turn to drugs, alcohol, or suicidal attempts, which presents a much bigger problem, making the disorder harder to treat.

There are different types of bipolar disorder, and once it has been correctly determined, the health professional may then tailor the right treatment according to the patients needs. Though there is no cure for Bipolar Disorder, a variety of treatment plans to help a person control and stabilize their mood swings exist. There are prescribed medications as well, and through the help of medical professionals as well as the support provided by family and friends, people who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder may live pretty normal and productive lives.

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