Bipolar disorder is a brain ailment that causes extreme shifts in mood, energy, and ability to operate. Patients with bipolar illness have extreme shifts in mood, known as mood episodes, which often occur at regular intervals of a few days to a few weeks. These shifts in mood are either depressive episodes (a sad mood) or manic/hypomanic episodes (an abnormally happy or angry mood). Neutral-mood states are common among people with bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder who receive effective treatment can have normal, fulfilling lives.
Mood changes happen to everyone, including people who don’t have bipolar disorder. The good news is that these shifts in disposition rarely last more than a day. What’s more, those with bipolar disorder don’t often demonstrate the extreme behavioral changes or trouble adjusting to daily activities and social interactions that are common during mood episodes. A person with bipolar disorder may have issues in their personal relationships, their professional life, and their academic performance.
Three distinct diagnoses fall under the umbrella of bipolar disorder: bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymic disorder.
Eighty to ninety percent of those with bipolar disorder have a family member who also has the condition or is depressed. Stress, irregular sleep patterns, narcotics, and alcohol can all cause mood swings in persons who are already vulnerable. Although the exact brain-based origins of bipolar disorder are unknown, dysregulated brain activity is thought to be caused by a chemical imbalance. 25 years old on average is the onset age.
Anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder are typically present in people with bipolar I disorder (ADHD). Compared to the general population, those with bipolar I disorder have a much-increased risk of suicide.
Bipolar illness patients might experience extreme highs of happiness and vigor as well as extreme lows of melancholy, hopelessness, and sluggishness. Usually, people feel normal in the intervals between those times. Bipolar disorder is so named because the highs and lows can be compared to two “poles” of emotion.
The extreme mood swings of bipolar disorder do not occur in a predictable way. Before shifting to the opposite mood, a person may experience the same mood state (depressed or manic) multiple times. These episodes can take place over the course of several weeks, months, or even years.
The degree to which it worsens varies from person to person and can also alter over time, worsening or lessening.
Mania symptoms (“the highs”):
Making grand and unrealistic plans
Rapid speech and poor concentration
Excessive happiness, hopefulness, and excitement
Showing poor judgment
Less of an appetite
Sudden changes from being joyful to being irritable, angry, and hostile
Misuse of drugs or alcohol can increase the number of episodes in people with bipolar disorder of any kind. It comes in a variety of forms. A dual diagnosis, or having both bipolar disorder and alcohol use disorder, necessitates assistance from a specialist who can handle both problems.