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Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, causes severe mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).

About

When you are depressed, you might feel sad or even hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in activities you enjoy. When your mood starts to shift in the direction, you can feel euphoric and full of energy. Mood changes can occur only a few times a year or as often as several times a week.

Symptoms

Diagnostic criteria for bipolar and related disorders are based on the specific type of disorder:
  • Bipolar I disorder. You've experienced at least one manic episode. The manic episode experienced might be followed by hypomanic or extreme depressive episodes. Mania symptoms can cause significant impairment in your life and may need hospitalization or trigger a break from reality (psychosis).
  • Bipolar II disorder. You've experienced at least one major depressive episode lasting about two weeks and at least one hypomanic episode around four days, but you've never experienced a manic episode. Major depressive episodes or the unpredictable changes in mood and behavior may cause distress or difficulty in areas of your life.
  • Cyclothymic disorder. You've experienced at least two years. During that time, symptoms occur at least half the time and may seem to never go away for more than two months. Symptoms can cause significant distress in important areas of your life.
  • Other types. Bipolar and related disorders due to other medical conditions, such as Cushing's disease, multiple sclerosis or stroke. Another type is called substance and medication-induced bipolar and related disorder.

Causes

The causes of bipolar disorder is unknown, although several factors may play a role in the disorder, such as:

  • Biological differences. Bipolar disorder appears to have physical changes occur in the brains. The significance of these changes is still uncertain but may eventually help pinpoint causes.
  • Neurotransmitters. An imbalance in naturally occurring brain chemicals called neurotransmitters seems to play a important role in bipolar disorder and other mood disorders.
  • Inherited traits. 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.
 

Treatment

Depending on your needs, treatment options include;

  • Initial treatment
  • Continued treatment
  • Day treatment programs
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Hospitalization
Medications that are used for treatment include;
  • Mood stabilizers
  • Antipsychotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Antidepressant-antipsychotic
  • Anti-anxiety medications
Psychotherapy is also known to help people who have bipolar disorder. Types of psychotherapies include;
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Psychoeducation
  • Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy
  • Other therapies