SYMPTOMS OF BIPOLAR
A symptom refers to any feeling of illness or physical or mental change that is caused by a particular illness. Symptoms of bipolar disorder can elicit changes in the patient’s mood and behavior. They however differ depending on the type of bipolar that one is suffering from. The various types of bipolar and their respective symptoms include:
- Bipolar I disorder
In this disorder, the patient has ever experienced at least one manic episode that may be followed by hypomanic or major depressive episodes. In some cases, mania may make the patient to completely escape from reality-a condition referred to as psychosis.
- Bipolar II disorder
In this, the patient may have had at least one major depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode but no manic episodes.
- Cyclothymic disorder
It is identified by many episodes of hypomania during a year during the patient’s childhood or teenage years and periods of depressive symptoms. The depressive symptoms are less severe compared to those of a major depression.
THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN MANIA AND HYPOMANIA
Mania and hypomania are two totally distinct episodes even though they may show same symptoms.
Mania tends to be more severe than hypomania and it can cause serious problems at work, school or in social relationships.
Mania can easily trigger psychosis- a break from reality and normally requires medical attention.
Both manic and hypomanic episodes include these symptoms:
Hyper-activity and increased energy levels
Euphoria- this means that the patient experiences extreme happiness, excitement or self confidence
lack of sleep, a condition known as insomnia
Wrong judgement such as exposing oneself to sexual risks or being tricked into making foolish investments
MAJOR DEPRESSIVE EPISODE
A major depressive episode encompasses symptoms that can lead to noticeable difficulties at work, school or home and in social relationships.
It can show the following symptoms:
Feeling extremely down, disillusioned, worthless or empty
Noticeable or significant weight loss or weight gain
Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
Feeling restless that is unable to stay still or calm.
Extreme fatigue- feeling tired
Inability to make decisions
Suicidal ideation that is having thoughts about, planning or attempting suicide
Insomnia (lack of sleep) or oversleeping
These symptoms are however hard to identify among children and adolescents given the normal challenges attached to their developmental stages. The most common signs of bipolar disorder in children and teens may include severe mood swings that are different from normal mood swings.
CAUSES OF BIPOLAR
The exact cause of bipolar is still at large but several factors which may play a key role have been singled out. These are:
- Genetics- it is believed that bipolar disorder may be inherited. This is because cases of bipolar are common among patients whose close relatives -brothers, sisters or parents have got a history of this condition.
- Biological differences in bipolar patients- people with bipolar disorder tend to show physical changes in their brain structures although there is more research being carried out to ascertain the this assertion.
RISK FACTORS THAT MAY TRIGGER BIPOLAR
Family history of bipolar – a person whose close relatives for example parents or siblings have ever been diagnosed with bipolar condition is at a higher risk of suffering from this condition.
Extreme stress or shocking events such as the death of a loved one can trigger bipolar disorders.
Drug and alcohol abuse can also trigger bipolar disease.
BIPOLAR RELATED COMPLICATIONS
If left unattended, bipolar can cause serious physical, health, and emotional challenges such as:
Indulging in alcohol and abusing drugs
Attempting suicide or committing it
Criminal offences leading to legal complications
Poor social relationships
Under-performance at work, home or school