People with bipolar disorder will experience severe changes in behavior, thinking, energy, and mood. The condition is more than just a good or bad mood;
Bipolar disorder or manic-depressive mood disorder is a mental health condition that requires medical attention. This can lead to severe mood swings, lack of sleep, low energy, inability to think rationally, and also behavioral changes. Sometimes a person may feel happy and full of energy for a few days and other times they may feel hopeless, sad, depressed, lazy and irritated for a few days/months.
Types, signs and symptoms:
Bipolar I Disorder: This includes episodes of mania and depression. Symptoms of mania are overspending, excessive talking, increased energy, grandiose thoughts, decreased need for sleep, and jumping from one idea to another.
Bipolar II Disorder: You will have a major depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode (periods of milder manic episodes, including high, elated, or irritated moods).
Cyclothymic Disorder or Cyclothymia: A mild form of bipolar disorder in which episodes of hypomania and mild depression may persist for at least two years.
Other common red flags of mania in a bipolar patient are restlessness, poor judgment, impulsiveness, loss of appetite, very easily distracted, high libido, engaging in reckless behaviors and realization of unrealistic plans. During depressive episodes, a person will be forgetful, sad, speak slowly, have low libido, lose interest in activities they enjoy, have trouble sleeping and staying focused, and have low energy. Bipolar and related issues can also be associated with alcohol use, substance abuse, and conditions such as strokes.
A person with bipolar disorder will be offered medication based on their symptoms:
- Mood stabilizers: These will help improve your mood. Take only after consulting your doctor.
- Antidepressants during the depressive phase: These can also help to stabilize the mood and you will be relaxed. Anxiolytics or sleeping pills that can help you calm down and sleep peacefully.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): can help you deal with stress and other negative triggers.
- For better mental health, you need to adhere to certain lifestyle changes, such as exercising daily, eating a balanced diet, managing stress through meditation, eating and sleeping on time, and avoid alcohol and drug abuse.
- Being aware of your condition, having knowledge about the symptoms of the different phases helps in early treatment and prevention of complications. Adhering to the medication protocol generally helps achieve a stable mood for longer. Medications do not last forever in most cases.
Can bipolar disorder cause pregnancy complications?
Many women with bipolar disorder have healthy pregnancies. But some medications used to manage this disorder can affect the baby in a few cases. Bipolar women should talk to a mental health expert before getting pregnant. Learn about the medication you are taking and discuss its side effects with the doctor. Tell your doctor about the design of plans ahead of time so medications can be adjusted. If one parent has bipolar disorder, there is a 10% chance that their child will develop the disorder, but keep in mind that the overall lifetime prevalence of bipolar spectrum disorder is approximately 3%.
(With contributions from Dr Sonal Anand, Psychiatrist, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road)