Bipolar Disorder – What it is, Types, and Causes
In 2017, one in seven Indians were affected by some kind of mental health condition with varying severity. An astonishing 197.3 million people suffered from mental illnesses, and bipolar disorder constitutes 6.9% of the statistics. Despite the continuous surge in the prevalence of mental illnesses and their detrimental impacts on the day-to-day lives of people, the world population does not possess the required knowledge to combat mental conditions.
Due to the lack of information, people often confuse the mood disorder with anger issues. However, the mental condition (formerly known as manic depression) is a mood disorder causing unusual and unpredicted shifts in moods, energy, and ability to perform even daily tasks. People suffering from bipolar disorder experience high and low moods known as mania and depression. Although everyone experiences high and low moods from time to time, the shift in moods as experienced by people with bipolar disorder differs exceedingly.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, when a person with bipolar disorder is going through mania or an elevated mood, they might find themselves to be more talkative, sociable, and diligent. They might also have decreased sleep, loss of appetite, racing thoughts, and need to perform risky things like excessive drinking. Sometimes, people even feel that they are immensely talented, powerful, or important, and they might lose their connection with reality and rationality. On the contrary, when a person with bipolar disorder is undergoing a depressive episode, they might feel sad, anxious, and fatigued to perform even daily chores. Additionally, people during a depressive episode might have increased appetite, trouble concentrating and decreased interest. They might as well develop suicidal thoughts.
Types of Bipolar Disorder
Three types of bipolar disorder hinder the lives of those suffering from it:
Bipolar I Disorder: It is defined by severe manic episodes lasting for 7 days. With the manic episodes, there exist depressive episodes as well that last up to 2 weeks. The depressive episode and manic episode, in Bipolar I Disorder can co-exist at the same time as well.
Bipolar II Disorder: In this type, the person goes through depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes that are not as severe as that of the previous type.
Cyclothymia: In this type, the person feels hypomanic and depressive symptoms that last for a period of two years in adults and one year in children and adolescents. However, it is important to note that the person experiences hypomanic and depressive symptoms and not episodes.
What are the Causes?
Several factors can cause bipolar disorder, however, the actual cause of the mental condition stays unknown. It is believed that biological, environmental, and genetic factors can be the causes of the disease.
Biological and Genetic Factors: Research demonstrates that the chemical imbalance in the brain may be a cause of developing bipolar disorder. Neurotransmitters including serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine are responsible for the brain’s functions. An imbalance in these chemicals can pose a higher risk of developing a mental condition. Furthermore, bipolar disorder running in families can additionally be a significant threat for the children to develop it. Besides, data also suggest that children with high academic attainment are at a greater risk of bipolar disorder than those with poor or mediocre grades.
Environmental Factors: Apart from biological factors, environmental events can also lead to mood disorders. Experiencing mean life events can be triggers for developing bipolar disorder in the future. The continuous use of antidepressants in youth can be a significant reason that can result in bipolar disorder. The explanation is that antidepressants can result in hypomanic behavior among individuals. Furthermore, experiencing lifelong sexual or physical violence can also be a major threat to worse symptoms of bipolar condition. Substance abuse or misuse are some other reasons that can lead to the development of mood disorders.
Living with bipolar disorder can be debilitating. If you or your loved one suffers from the mental condition, then you must take professional help. Mental illnesses do not just disappear over time. Advanced medical treatments can help improve the symptoms.