Bipolar Disorder

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Bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression or manic-depressive illness) is a mental condition signified by shifts in mood, activity levels, concentration, energy, and overall ability to perform routine tasks. People with this disorder may experience extreme emotional states for extended periods, commonly referred to as manic episodes. A manic episode may last a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months. The emotional state during this episode may be characterized as depressive or manic/hypomanic.

It is worth mentioning that mood fluctuations that last a few hours do not fall into the category of bipolar mood disorder. Also, these fluctuations do not accompany extreme mood variations, which are a typical sign of bipolar disorder.

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

While the exact reason for bipolar disorder remains unknown, many experts believe that this mental disorder is more likely to occur due to some factors, such as:

  • Biological differences: According to some reports, people may develop bipolar disorder due to physical brain changes. No data regarding how significant this change must be to cause bipolar disorder is available as yet. However, experts suggest that accurate diagnoses of these changes may help track causes.
  • Genetics: People who have a first-degree relative (parent or sibling) with bipolar disorder are more likely to have this condition. Research to find genes that may be involved in causing this mental condition is underway.

Other risk factors that may lead to bipolar disorder include drug or alcohol abuse and extended durations of mental stress.

Bipolar/Manic Disorder Symptoms

Bipolar disorder is identifiable through depression and mania/hypomania. These symptoms later lead to:

  • Unpredictable behavioral or poor mood stability
  • Increased stress
  • Mood swings
  • Racing thoughts
  • Difficulty in life
  • Reduced attention
  • Irritability or extreme agitation
  • Extreme happiness
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Rapid speech
  • Hyperactivity
  • Reduced concentration
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Loss of interest in once-favorite activities

Types of Bipolar Disorder

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, bipolar disorder can be classified into four types. Here is a brief overview of all those types.

  • Bipolar I: This bipolar disorder is the most common among all other types. This condition is symptomatic of one or two manic episodes with or without depressive episodes. The manic episode in this condition lasts a week or longer and is generally severe enough to necessitate hospitalization.
  • Bipolar II: This disorder causes mood shifts between depressive episodes and less severe hypomanic episodes.
  • Cyclothymic disorder: This mental condition is characterized by mood shifts between hypomanic and depressive episodes. These mood shifts may persist for two years or longer.
  • Rapid cycling: With this bipolar disorder, the patient experiences more than four episodes of hypomania, mania, and depression over the course of a year.

Bipolar Mood Disorder Diagnosis

The procedure for diagnosing bipolar disorder may involve the following measures:

  • Physical exam: Your doctor may run some lab tests to identify any medical problems responsible for your bipolar disorder symptoms.
  • Psychiatric assessment: You may be referred to a psychiatrist, who will try to diagnose your conditions by talking about your feelings, thoughts, and other behavioral patterns. They may give you a questionnaire to help you self-assess your psychological state.
  • Mood charting: The doctor may ask you to take note of your mood, sleep routine, and other things. This helps them collect valuable information for the effective diagnosis of your condition.
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Bipolar Disorder Treatment

A medical doctor specializing in diagnosing and treating mental health problems, also known as a psychiatrist, provides bipolar disorder treatment. Since bipolar disorder persists for a lifetime, its treatment mainly aims at managing symptoms.

The following protocols are used for treating bipolar disorder.

  • Medications: Your doctor will look into the symptoms and other factors related to your bipolar disorder to suggest suitable medicines. The most common drugs used for treating bipolar disorder are mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, antidepressants, antidepressant-antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety medications.
  • Psychotherapy: During this therapy, you discuss your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that you think are the cause of the problem. Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, can help you overcome the psychological issues that hold you back from doing well in your life and career.
  • Lifestyle changes: You can manage your bipolar disorder symptoms through simple yet effective lifestyle changes, such as regular sleep, a healthy diet, daily workout, and avoiding stress.
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Bipolar Disorder FAQs

What is the most common treatment for bipolar disorder?

The standard protocol for treating bipolar disorder mainly includes mood-stabilizing and atypical antipsychotic drugs along with psychotherapy. The most commonly used medications in this regard are valproic acid and lithium carbonate.

Can bipolar disorder be cured permanently?

There is no cure for bipolar disorder. However, patients can manage their symptoms effectively with prescribed drugs and regular therapeutic sessions. Hence, they can live a productive life with fewer instances of the symptoms resurging.

Does bipolar worsen with age?

Yes, bipolar disorder can worsen with age if left untreated.

Is bipolar a serious illness?

Yes, bipolar disorder is a severe mental illness due to the magnitude of its short- and long-term consequences. Aside from being a mental condition, bipolar disorder also accompanies several physical health problems. For instance, this condition is generally characterized by reduced appetite, leading to nutritional deficiency and subsequent physiological conditions.

How successful is the bipolar treatment?

Bipolar disorder is a treatable condition even though no cure is available to eliminate its root cause. According to the National Advisory Mental Health Council, the success rate of bipolar treatment is around 80%.

Schedule an Appointment

Bipolar disorder starts as a mental health condition and may later transform into a life-threatening ailment, affecting a patient’s psychology and physiology. Fortunately, timely help can solve this problem for good. At EuroMed Clinic Dubai, we extend a helping hand to bipolar disorder patients through our highly qualified psychiatrists and therapists. To book a consultation, please fill out the form below.

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    Dr. Bahjat Balbous is a DHA-licensed psychiatrist having more than 25 years of experience. He uses the latest Neurofeedback therapy in treating ADHD, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and other related disorders.

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