People’s moods can change back and forth depending on the situation they are facing in life. Life can be challenging sometimes and that can have an impact on our mood. Usually, positive situations make us happy and negative situations make us sad. For example, if a student gets an “A” in exams, he will be happy and continue to work hard while if a student gets an “F” in exams, he will feel sad and may go through an unhappy mood.
According to medlineplus.gov, Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).
When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood shifts to mania or hypomania (less extreme than mania), you may feel euphoric, full of energy, or unusually irritable. These mood swings can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior, and the ability to think clearly.
Some people rarely get mood swings while others get it several times within a year. Some people may experience some emotional symptoms between episodes.
Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
There are several types of bipolar and related disorders. They may include mania or hypomania and depression.
- Bipolar I disorder. You’ve had at least one manic episode that may be preceded or followed by hypomanic or major depressive episodes. In some cases, mania may trigger a break from reality (psychosis).
- Bipolar II disorder. You’ve had at least one major depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode, but you’ve never had a manic episode.
- Cyclothymic disorder. You’ve had at least two years — or one year in children and teenagers — of many periods of hypomania symptoms and periods of depressive symptoms (though less severe than major depression).
- Other types. These include, for example, bipolar and related disorders induced by certain drugs or alcohol or due to a medical condition, such as Cushing’s disease, multiple sclerosis or stroke.
The exact cause of the bipolar disorder is unknown, but several factors may be involved, such as:
- Biological differences. People with bipolar disorder appear to have physical changes in their brains. The significance of these changes is still uncertain but may eventually help pinpoint causes.
- Genetics. Bipolar disorder is more common in people who have a first-degree relative, such as a sibling or parent, with the condition. Researchers are trying to find genes that may be involved in causing bipolar disorder.
Factors that may increase the risk of developing bipolar disorder or act as a trigger for the first episode include:
- Having a first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, with bipolar disorder
- Periods of high stress, such as the death of a loved one or other traumatic event
- Drug or alcohol abuse
Left untreated, bipolar disorder can result in serious problems that affect every area of your life, such as:
- Problems related to drug and alcohol use
- Suicide or suicide attempts
- Legal or financial problems
- Damaged relationships
- Poor work or school performance
Bipolar disorder cannot be prevented but getting treatment at the earliest sign of a mental health disorder can help prevent it or other mental health conditions from worsening.
If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, some strategies can help prevent minor symptoms from becoming full-blown episodes of mania or depression:
- Pay attention to warning signs.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol.
- Take your medications exactly as directed.
If you are experiencing any signs of bipolar disorder or you know someone experiencing these signs, come and hear something from the mental health advocates at the minds matter mental health campaign. There will be non-profit organizations from the area offering free resources and services. Register here: https://mindsmatter.blacgirlhealthfoundation.org
“This article is brought to you in partnership with Dauphin County Library System, and National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program.”