What’s Bipolar Disorder? How Do I Know If I Have It?

bipolar disorder

Ever heard of bipolar disorder? Have you ever experienced extreme mood swings?

You might be having what is called bipolar disorder.

It is when you experience emotional highs ( hypomania) or extreme lows.

People often confuse it with ordinary mood swings but it’s more than that.

This blog post will provide eye-grabbing details on the disorder and how you can combat it.

So let’s get into it :

what is bipolar disorder?

What’s a Bipolar Disorder?

You will be overly happy and hyper one minute and the emotions will be different in the next. It can happen differently to different family members.

These emotions can be either positive or negative. You can be highly energized and happy or you can be very hopeless and sad.

But that doesn’t mean the emotions are always this extreme. You can have normal phases in between two.

But considering the highs and lows are always constant and happen in pairs, is what makes this condition ‘bipolar’.

The word ‘manic’ is used in this condition because it can lead you to make reckless decisions and become impulsive in certain situations.

Some people in their maniac situation can even get confused and have delusions. They think things which aren’t true are happening around them.

They can also feel hallucinations- this is when they hear or see things which aren’t really there. Bipolar depression is different from any episode of depression.

In developing bipolar disorder, you can face ‘hypomania’ which means milder symptoms. You don’t have delusions or hallucinations but you do have extreme mood swings. It impacts your mood energy.

If you are bipolar, you can also face more of a depressive state where you have similar symptoms to clinical depression.

Both situations are common to people with bipolar disorder.

Let’s now talk about the symptoms and how do they differ in men and women:

 

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

Common:

As we have already touched upon it, you will face three major symptoms with this disorder:

  • Manic

In this type, you will feel extreme emotions not in your control. You will be hyper, overly excited, and full of energy. An enthusiasm which isn’t good. People often get into high spending sprees and drug use when in this state.

  • Hypomania

This state is most common with a bipolar disorder. You will not have major and extreme symptoms like in mania but it will cause problems in your social life. Including problems with social relationships and at work place.

  • Depression

When in this state, you will be:

  • overcome with uncontrollable sadness
  • feeling a state of hopelessness
  • having loss of energy
  • lacking interest in social activities
  • having sleep pattern issues
  • being subjected to suicidal thoughts

Considering there are various symptoms of a bipolar disorder, it’s sometimes hard to properly diagnose it.

Let’s look into the specific symptoms to both men and women.

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms in Women

Let's see the symptoms of bipolar disorder
For a woman, she will likely be :
  • Get a diagnosis between the ages of 20s and 30s
  • Have milder symptoms than men
  • More depressive episodes than men
  • Mania and depression episodes hit harder and often in a year
  • Can experience other conditions like obesity, anxiety disorder and migraines
  • Relapse more often due to hormonal changes

now we will look into the types of bipolar disorder and their symptoms:

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms in Men

When it comes to the opposite sex, they will most likely:

  • Get a diagnosis earlier in their life
  • Have higher episodes of manic
  • Will likely face more substance abuse issues
  • They act out more during manic episodes
  • Medical care is not given priority
  • More likely to commit suicide
  • Major depressive episodes
  • Suffer from hypomanic episode
Now that we have a fair understanding of the condition in men and women, it is time we understand how children get affected by it.

Bipolar Disorder in Children

How it affects them
This is sometimes considered as controversial. This is because it isn’t easy to diagnose the symptoms in children the same way as you can with adults. The symptoms are also similar to other medical conditions a child may be suffering from.
Also their mood swings and behavior patterns are not easy to determine or diagnose. The diagnosis can also take weeks or even months.
But this condition in children needs to be treated in a timely manner.
One way is to have your child into a comfortable setup where they will speak to a professional, trained to make it easy for the child.
One common symptom is like adults, they will either be very happy and excited. Or they can have states of strong depression.
So what are the symptoms in a child suffering from bipolar disorder:

Manic symptoms in children

  • Feeling giddy
  • Overly excited
  • Talking very fast
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Short temper
  • Outburst of anger
  • Having loss of sleep
  • Getting agitated quickly

Depressive symptoms in children

  • Being sad
  • Moping around
  • Having low energy for activities
  • Experiencing saddened thoughts
  • Eating very less
  • Thinking about self-infliction
  • Consistent Headaches

Now that we have a good understanding of identifying it in men, women and children, we will hit upon the major causes of this disorder:

 

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

It is a common health condition among men women and even children. It is unfortunately long-lasting and world-class doctors and researchers are still trying to figure out what causes it:

Some possible causes are:

*Genes

Many doctors have observed that if someone in your family has the condition; your brother or mother or even a first cousin, you are also likely to face it. However this is still something researchers are talking about and working on further.

*Brain Condition

If you are facing certain brain conditions, which includes abnormalities in the structure, you will likely face an increase in you contracting this medical disorder.

*Environmental Issues

This condition is not just triggered by what’s going inside your body but also external factors can play a strong role. Some of the most common ones are:

  • Having high stress
  • Facing traumatic conditions
  • Being a subject to many, ailing illnesses for long durations
  • Surrounded by stressful situations

Treatment that Works

No matter how hard it feels to manage your bipolar disorder, the good news is that you can manage it.

There are several treatment plans to choose from.

We will talk about them in detail. Let’s begin:

Medical Treatment

Among the many types of medications that you can choose from:

  • Mood Stabilizers
  • Antipsychotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Benzodiazepines

Psychotherapy

There are several psychotherapy treatment options you can choose from:

Cognitive Behavioural therapy

This is when you will get to speak to your therapist on ways to manage your bipolar disorder better. It helps you to come up with thinking patterns and create positive strategies to better cope and handle the extreme mood swings with this disorder.

Psycho Education

This is still a relatively new method. It is when your family will also involve in the treatment mechanism by understanding this disorder in a better way. It helps to manage it better with your friends and colleagues in tow to support you and give positive vibes.

Social Rhythm Therapy

As the name suggests, a daily schedule which includes proper sleeping pattern and habits like sleeping, eating and exercising will be discussed. It will help to keep the balance in order.

 

Lifestyle Hacks

Let’s look into some simple lifestyle changes that help to keep your bipolar disorder in check.

Adapt these simple steps to make a solid difference:

  • Keep your eating habits healthy
  • Omit intermittent fasting 
  • Stay hydrated
  • Exercise often
  • Lean to determine what triggers your mood swings
  • Get help and support from friends and relatives
  • Speaking to a doctor or healthcare provider helps to stabilize extreme conditions

Other Treatment

Sometimes even simple remedies can make a difference. But these are not helpful in every case.

It is best to first speak to your doctor before adapting a home treatment.

Sometimes they can cause complicated effects on the body if interfere with medication.

Let’s see some natural products you can consume that help reliving symptoms of bipolar disorder:

  • Fish Oil
  • Sleep medications
  • Supplements
  • Acupuncture

Prevention of Bipolar Disorder

Unfortunately there isn’t a sure shot way in which you can prevent this disorder but there are some ways in which you can help preventing it from getting worse.

Some strategies which medical experts say work great are:

Look out for warning signs- notice and determine the onset of an emotional breakdown? What made you get these episodes? What triggered them? Make a calendar and try to form a familiar pattern.

Avoid alcohol and drug use- using recreational drugs can make the situation even worse. Cut down on such habits including smoking.

Take medications properly- never stop using medication without the consultation and advise of your doctor. If you stop taking your medicines halfway, the withdrawal can make the condition even worse.

 

Living with Bipolar Disorder

learn of ways to manage your bipolar disorder

This is a condition which can happen to anyone. It is called a chronic mental illness.

It is usually permanent but you can manage a happier, healthier life with it.

You need to have the right attitude. A willpower that you will not let it disrupt your life.

If it becomes too overwhelming, you can always reach out to a supportive community.

Taking on therapy also helps. Medical experts help you to understand the condition better and cope with it in a better and balanced way.

You can always reach out to our medical experts at Dr.Amal Al-Qedrah for further advice and consultation.

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