Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mental Health month - Bipolar


Bipolar disorder is a condition in which people go back and forth between periods of a very good or irritable mood and depression The "mood swings" between mania and depression can be very quick. 
Causes, incidence and risk factors
Bipolar disorder affects men and women equally. It usually starts between ages 15 - 25. The exact cause is unknown, but it occurs more often in relatives of people with bipolar disorder.
Types of bipolar disorder:
  • People with bipolar disorder type I have had at least one manic episode and periods of Major depression. In the past, bipolar disorder type I was called manic depression.
  • People with bipolar disorder type II have never had full mania. Instead they experience periods of high energy levels and impulsiveness that are not as extreme as mania (called hypomania). These periods alternate with episodes of depression.
A mild form of bipolar disorder called cyclothymia  involves less severe mood swings. People with this form alternate between hypomania and mild depression. People with bipolar disorder type II or cyclothymia may be wrongly diagnosed as having depression.



Symptoms


The manic phase may last from days to months. It can include the following symptoms:
  • Easily distracted
  • Little need for sleep
  • Poor judgment
  • Poor temper control
  • Reckless behavior and lack of self control 
  Binge eating, drinking, and/or drug use
    • Poor judgment
    • Sex with many partners (promiscuity)
    • Spending sprees
  • Very elevated mood 
    • Excess activity (hyperactivity)
    • Increased energy
    • Racing thoughts
    • Talking a lot 
    • Very high self-esteem (false beliefs about self or abilities)
  • Very involved in activities
  • Very upset (agitated or irritated) 
These symptoms of mania occur with bipolar disorder I. In people with bipolar disorder II, the symptoms of mania are similar but less intense.
The depressed phase of both types of bipolar disorder includes the following symptoms:
  • Daily low mood or sadness
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Eating problems 
    • Loss of appetite and weight loss
    • Overeating and weight gain
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Feeling worthless, hopeless, or guilty
  • Loss of pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Thoughts of death and suicide
  • Trouble getting to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Pulling away from friends or activities that were once enjoyed
Signs and tests 

Many factors are involved in diagnosing bipolar disorder. The health care provider may do some or all of the following:
  • Ask about your family medical history, such as whether anyone has or had bipolar disorder
  • Ask about your recent mood swings and for how long you've had them
  • Perform a thorough examination to look for illnesses that may be causing the symptoms
  • Run laboratory tests to check for thyriod problems or drug levels
  • Talk to your family members about your behavior
  • Take a medical history, including any medical problems you have and any medications you take
  • Watch your behavior and mood

Treatment
Periods of depression or mania return in most patients, even with treatment. The main goals of treatment are to:
  • Avoid moving from one phase to another
  • Avoid the need for a hospital stay
  • Help the patient function as well as possible between episodes
  • Prevent self-injury and suicide
  • Make the episodes less frequent and severe
The health care provider will first try to find out what may have triggered the mood episode. The provider may also look for any medical or emotional problems that might affect treatment.
The following drugs, called mood stabilizers, are usually used first:
Other antiseizure drugs may also be tried.
Other drugs used to treat bipolar disorder include:
  • Antipsychotic drugs and anti-anxiety drugs (benzodiazepines) for mood problems
  • Antidepressant medications can be added to treat depression. People with bipolar disorder are more likely to have manic or hypomanic episodes if they are put on antidepressants. Because of this, antidepressants are only used in people who also take a mood stabilizer.

    Complications
  • Stopping medication or taking it the wrong way can cause your symptoms to come back, and lead to the following complications:
  • Alcohol and/or drug abuse
  • Problems with relationships, work, and finances
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
This illness is hard to treat. Patients, their friends, and family must know the risks of not treating bipolar disorder.
So in the end if you or someone you love has Bipolar Just remember that there are always people who can help and know what you are going thru ! 

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