Bipolar Disorder is a serious and lifelong mental health condition. This condition was earlier termed as Manic Depression. According to a mental hospital in Kerala, India reports about 10 million cases of bipolar disorder every year. This disorder is commonly seen in individuals between the ages of 18 and 35. All of us have heard the term ‘bipolar’ to describe someone who is extremely moody or fickle minded. The use of this informal term is different from Bipolar Disorder. An average healthy individual might have some emotional highs and lows in their life. They might even have some pretty low phases also. Individuals suffering from Bipolar Disorder have a tendency to move from dramatic emotional highs to crushing emotional lows. The exact cause of Bipolar disorder is yet unknown.

It can be the result of continuous stress or alcohol/substance abuse. Individuals with family members who have Bipolar Disorder are ten times more prone to this condition than others who do not have a medical history of Bipolar disorder in their family. It is seen that prolonged use of some drugs and medications can also cause this condition overtime.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

The emotional highs and lows do not happen every now and then rather it happens over several days, weeks or even months. It is seen that these highs and lows may not even have an obvious trigger. Bipolar Disorder causes individuals to have sudden and striking shift in mood, emotions and energy level.It severely affects the day to day interactions, behaviour and ability to focus. The symptoms of Bipolar Disorder are different in different phases.

  1. Symptoms during Mania or Manic Episodes– Mania or emotionally unstable are accompanied by unusually high energy, being easily distracted and feeling less need to sleep. Individuals may feel energetic, overly optimistic and have high self-esteem. These might seem like positive outcomes but can reach alarming extremes like recklessness, poor decision making and showing irresponsible behaviour. Individuals experience pressured speech and racing thoughts. In cases of Hypo-Manic episodes individuals also suffer from delusion.
  2. Symptoms during Depression– Depression or emotional low is exactly opposite to Mania. It is accompanied by sadness, low energy, lack of emotions, lack of motivation and feeling of constant guilt. They feel hopeless and discouraged. They may also experience some degree of physical symptoms such as disorderly eating and sleeping patterns.
  3. Mixed Episodes– This is an uncommon symptom of Bipolar Disorder. Individuals may show sign of mania and depression at the same time.
  4. Rapid Cycling– Rapid Cycling is the term given when an individual has more than four episodes of mania or depression in one year. It is one of the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorders are generally of three types – Bipolar Disorder I, Bipolar Disorder II and Cyclothymic Disorder. All these types of disorders cause symptoms of Mania, Depression or both. The difference between all the types of Bipolar Disorder is when it begins and how severe the manic or depression symptoms are.

Bipolar Disorder I– Bipolar Disorder I is usually seen in early ages of life around 18 to 20 years of age. An individual with Bipolar disorder I will experience mania and may not experience depression. The manic episode lasts around one week. The episode is so severe that it may need medical intervention.

Bipolar Disorder II– Bipolar Disorder I is usually seen in the mid 20s. An individual with Bipolar disorder II will experience hypomania and depression. The hypomanic episode lasts around 1 to 4 days. The episode is not as severe as in Bipolar II.

Cyclothymia or Cyclothymic Disorder– Cyclothymia can begin as early as 6 years of age. Individuals with Cyclothymic disorder may experience manic and depressive states but are not severe enough to qualify as Mania or Depression.

Bipolar Disorder is a serious and lifelong mental health condition. The severity of the mania and depression episodes can be reduced through psychotherapy and medications. When talking about a country like India, where there is a large population, there is greater need for performing mental health diagnosis and treatment. For this very reason, a one for the best psychiatrist in kochi states that individuals and their families must be educated enough to recognize the symptoms early on and decide to take professional assistance can lead a normal and productive life with fewer or no outbursts of mania or depression.