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What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is an ailment that attacks the mood. In times past, it was referred to as manic depression. But in the real sense, it changes people’s mood between depression and mania. Some medical experts today would still refer to it as a bipolar affective disorder.

People that have Bipolar disorder usually experience things like:

  • Hypomanic moods (feeling high)
  • Depressive moods (feeling low).

Usually, all humans have natural mood switches, but bipolar switches are not palatable and can affect people’s lives. The low and high periods are usually severe, and the mood swings are overpowering. During diagnosis, medical practitioners discover what type of bipolar is affecting a patient.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

There are different kinds of bipolar disorders. They are categorized based on how the person feels and how much they affect the person. Explained below are the types of Bipolar disorder.

Bipolar I

People who have bipolar I are the ones that have encountered at least one case of mania that stayed more than one week. Some of them may have also encountered depressive times.

Bipolar II

People who have bipolar II are the ones who have encountered a minimum of one case of hypomania and a case of depression.

Bipolar I


People who have cyclothymia are those who suffer from depressive and hypomanic conditions for at least two years. Cases in this category are not as severe as those mentioned above.

Often, it is difficult to diagnose cyclothymia because the patient might be given the impression that their condition is not very serious. However, issues relating to mental health are on a wide spectrum and cyclothymia being one of them has serious effects on its patient.

Rapid cycling

Some people experience rapid cycling. These people suffer from at least four episodes of one or a mixture of depression, mania, hypomania in a year. Meaning that they can only be stable for some weeks when the conditions dwindle. Sometimes stability lasts for some days or even hours.

At the moment, rapid cycling is not verified as a different bipolar condition. Studies are ongoing to properly understand its nature.

How Frequently Do Bipolar States Happen

How Frequently Do Bipolar States Happen?

The frequency of bipolar states depends on different factors. Some of them are listed below.

  • The type of bipolar condition.
  • Situations that trigger the condition.
  • The individual’s definition of what a bipolar condition is.

The length of bipolar conditions can change without notice. Sometimes, people discover that depressive moods can stay for many months, and mania lasts up to three weeks or even more than four months.

Types of Bipolar States

Manic State

Manic states can stay for more than one week. It hinders the person from carrying out daily routines. During severe conditions, it is unbearable and requires immediate medical attention. During manias, some of these are experienced:

  • A satisfactory feeling and overwhelming excitement.
  • Hostility, uneasiness, and irrational behaviours.
  • A strong sexual feeling.
  • Lack of concentration and a race of thoughts.
  • Strong confidence, vibrancy, and invincibility.
  • Rushed speech that might not be sensible to others.
  • Misuse of drugs, alcohol, and money.
  • Little or no sleep, etc.

Hypomanic State

Hypomanic and manic states are almost the same. They have few notable similarities.

  • It is easily handled compared to mania.
  • It does not last as long as mania does.
  • It does not come with symptoms of insanity.

In essence, hypomania is not as terrible as mania. But, it can result in hazardous and noticeable effects on its victims. Some experiences associated with hypomania include:

  • Over activeness.
  • Little sleep.
  • Excessive spending and many other symptoms are associated with mania.

Of course, there would be after-effects of the condition when it subsides. Many people usually feel ashamed and sad because of their behaviors. Some even make pledges that they cannot live up to. Some vaguely remember all they did during the hypomanic periods.

Hypomanic State

Depressive State

During depressive states, the following feelings are usually experienced:

  • Emotional vulnerabilities like anger, moodiness, tearfulness.
  • Sluggishness and weakness.
  • Low self-confidence and esteem.
  • Worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness.
  • Tension, agitation, and suicidal thoughts.
  • Lack of interest and solitude.

There are claims that the depressive state is more difficult to handle than the previously listed states.

Mixed State

Mixed State

Mixed states can happen as a mixture of mania, depression, and hypomania. This as well is very tough to handle. Some experiences associated with this type of state are:

  • Difficulty to understand and express what the feeling is.
  • Difficulty in deciphering the kind of treatment that should be administered.
  • Difficulty in handling emotional imbalances.
  • Suicidal thoughts and attempts.

Possible Causes of Bipolar Disorder

The actual causes of bipolar sickness are unknown, but there are scientific suggestions based on research. According to studies, it is said that bipolarity in mental health is caused by different circumstances like environmental conditions and physical situations. Social factors are also listed.

Coined from these factors are situations that can lead to bipolar disorder. They are:

  • Physical and sexual abuse.
  • Loss of family and friends.
  • Abandonment and relationship traumas
  • Poverty and other tragic events.
  • Genetic links.

Do Drugs Foster Development of Bipolar Disorder?

No. Drugs cannot create bipolar situations per se, but they can create effects similar to bipolar indications. The same goes for alcohol and other treatments.

Some drugs like antidepressants can cause signs of depression and mania. As a result, doctors can incorrectly term them as bipolar conditions.

Do Drugs Foster Development of Bipolar Disorder

How To Make A Diagnosis

During diagnosis, patients are usually asked questions like:

  • How many episodes do they experience?
  • How frequently do these episodes occur?
  • How long do these episodes last?
  • The number of symptoms they encounter.
  • Effect of these symptoms in their lives.
  • Family background and other details.

For further studies, they may be asked to keep records of their moods so they can be properly studied and helped. They may also be asked if they suffer from other health issues that have similar symptoms to bipolar symptoms.

How Long Diagnosis Lasts

How Long Diagnosis Lasts

Due to the peculiarity of bipolar ailments, medical practitioners often like to assess their patients for a while before making any diagnosis. In some cases, it can take years to diagnose a patient.

Medications For Bipolar Disorder

There are different kinds of medications administered to individuals with bipolar illness. They are given based on the type of state.

Medication for the Depressive State

Medications for this case are sometimes structured. An example is therapy on behavior, thoughts, and feelings.

Medication for Hypomanic and Manic States

Medications in this stage are given based on severities. In this stage, talking treatments might not be administered.

Other therapies are therapies on relationships, interaction with friends, acquaintances, and strangers, emotions, psycho-education, family relationship and interaction, joint psycho-education, etc.

In some situations, electroconvulsive therapy is administered to patients under severe conditions. For example, it is administered if the patient is suffering from long-term terrible depression, mania, and previous treatments have been abortive, or the condition can lead to death.

Some psychiatrists administer psychiatric treatments like neurotransmitters on the brain and antipsychotics. Lithium is a long-term treatment that lasts for a minimum of six months. The prescription must be accurate, and regular checkups must be carried out to ensure that the treatment is right.

In situations where Lithium is ineffective, anticonvulsants like carbamazepine, lamotrigine, or valproate can be administered. Antidepressants are also applicable.

A psychology specialist explaining an action plan for recovery to a troubled teenage boy during an individual therapy session.

How To Help Yourself

You can help yourself by understanding and admitting your moods. Then you build a support group. Your family and friends can also be of assistance. Open up to somebody about your condition and stay optimistic.