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Bipolar Disorder: Meaning, Symptoms, Treatment and Causes

The literal meaning of the word bipolar is relating to two extremes or poles. As the word bipolar suggests, bipolar disorder is a disorder where in one is tossed between two extreme situations, one of jubilation and the other of misery. Bipolar is also commonly known as manic disorder. It is basically a mental disorder that fetches high and low temperaments, variations in thinking, conduct and liveliness in its wake. People affected with bipolar disorder feel extremely happy and confident at one point of time while totally sad and listless at other times. In between these two extreme situations they are totally normal. The alterations between the tempers can be speedy and histrionic whereas at other times it can be really dawdling and slow.

Bipolar Disorder - Meaning, Symptoms, Treatment and Causes

The extremely happy mood is referred to mania or hypomania during which one feels strangely happy and peppy. The need for sleep reduces this period and also during this period one takes action without giving many thoughts to consequences. During periods of depression one might cry, adopt a negative perspective or be under confident. Risk of suicide also increases during this period.

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Some symptoms of bipolar disorder are mentioned below.

During the highs:

  1. Unwarranted excitement
  2. Impatience
  3. Undue happiness and optimism
  4. Profligate speech and meagre concentration and gets distracted easily
  5. Making unrealistic colossal plans
  6. Having poor sense of judgement
  7. High levels of energy
  8. Extremely extraordinary levels of poise and ecstasy
  9. Abuse of drugs, money and alcohol and participation in dangerous activities
  10. Becoming more impetuous
  11. Less need for sleep
  12. Mood becoming livid, Cantankerous and unreceptive from happy
  13. Uncommon great sex drive due to high levels of libido
  14. Being absent from work

During the lows:

  1. High levels of sadness
  2. A feeling of misery, blackness, despondency and dejection
  3. Extreme dearth of hopes
  4. Loses all energy and vigour
  5. Weight loss and gain
  6. Low attention extent and facing difficulties in being focussed
  7. Impaired judgement to undertake wise decisions
  8. Not being interested anymore in the things they loved once
  9. Feeling the urge to sleep more and eat less
  10. Sleeping problems like insomnia
  11. Having anxious thoughts about really small things and affairs
  12. Underperformance at work
  13. Extreme fatigue or listlessness or weariness
  14. Thoughts of suicide or ending lives and attempting to work on them

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Here are the ways by which bipolar disorder can be treated:

1) Medications

Several types of medications are available for bipolar disorder. The patient needs to find the one that works the best for him/her. Medicines like different antipsychotics, stabilizers of mood and anti-depressants can be used to treat bipolar disorder. Before taking a medicine the patient should consult a doctor and know all the possible benefits and risks associated with the medicine. Also if any side effects are observed then they should be instantly communicated to the doctor and actions should be taken to solve that problem immediately. A doctor should always be consulted before medicines are stopped being taken. Stopping medicines can cause some serious unwanted withdrawal effects and it can also lead to worsening of bipolar symptoms.

2) Psychotherapy or Talk Therapy

Psychotherapy or talk therapy can be a great help for bipolar patients. Its intensity will increase it is undertaken with medications. Psychotherapy can go a long way in education, guiding and supporting the bipolar patients and also their families. Some psychotherapy measures used to help bipolar disorder patients are psychoeducation, family focused therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and interpersonal and social rhythm therapy.


Following are the causes of bipolar disorder:

1) Genetic factors

Although there are no concrete established relations between role of genetic factors and occurrence of bipolar disorders, still it has been observed that if any of the two or both the parents are suffering from bipolar disorder then there are chances for the child to experience the same.

2) Seasonal changes

The highs and the lows are often prompted by change in the seasonal arrangements. Summer is generally associated with mania while periods of depression occur during the autumn, spring and winters.

3) Medicinal factors

Certain medications serve as the prime cause of mania or the high period. Such medications include medicines like anti-depressant drugs, appetite suppressant, non-psychiatric thyroid medicines, over the counter cold medicines, excessive caffeine and corticosteroids like prednisone.

4) Substance abuse

Abuse of certain substances can trigger mania and depression. Cocaine abuse, intake of designer drugs like amphetamines and ecstasy can lead to mania whereas alcohol anaesthetics can lead to depression.

5) Neurochemical factors

Bipolar disorders are generally caused due to impairment of certain neurotransmitters or chemical messengers like serotonin etc in the brain

6) Lack of sleep

Shortage of proper sleep can cause mania or periods of extreme happiness and euphoria.

So these were the facts that one should know about bipolar disorder to identify and cure it. Stay aware and take smart decisions!

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