Bipolar Affective Disorder

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder as the name suggests have mood changes ranging from the depressive pole to the manic pole of human emotions. People with these extreme mood swings may experience a manic episode which involves racing thoughts, rapid speech and extremely high energy. While, at other times they may experience a depressive episode which involves low moods, a lack of interest and pleasure in things they once found enjoyable.  It is also common for people with bipolar to experience extreme anxiety, agitation or panic attacks. The fluctuation of high and low moods can severely impact the ability of a person to function in everyday life.

What are the types of Bipolar?

There are two commonly known types of Bipolar disorder – type I & II. Bipolar I disorder involves manic episodes and most people with this type of bipolar also experience depression. While, Bipolar II disorder experience hypomania (sub-threshold mania) and depression. More frequent type of bipolarity is that of frequent changes in mood of either pole technically known as “cyclothymia”. It is sometimes hard to differentiate from a personality variant of  mood swings commonly known as borderline personality disorder. Doctors will use these different types of classifications to provide the right diagnosis and treatment for an individual.

What causes Bipolar?

Genetics play and important role in the development of bipolar disorder. Clinically, those with childhood ADD are more likely to develop Bipolar which requires medical intervention. There are many other contributing factors For instance, stress, lack of sleep and drugs can increase the likelihood of developing the disorder.

Who gets Bipolar?

Approximately 1 in 100 people have bipolar disorder and it’s seen in both males as well as females in all countries around the world. People with type I bipolar disorder see symptoms of the mental illness in their late teens. While, people with type II bipolar disorder see their symptoms emerge later in their late 20s.

What are the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?

The symptoms of bipolar disorder consist of extreme high and low moods. However, some people experience different combinations of the mood swings. For example, some mostly experience episodes of mania/hypomania, while others mostly experience depression. It is also possible for people to experience a mixture of mania and depression with or without anxiety symptoms. Some develop OCD like cleaning and organising when they are in manic phase whereas others might develop psychosis.

How is bipolar disorder diagnosed?

Diagnosis of bipolar disorder is made by clinical assessment and interview. There are no specific laboratory tests to diagnose bipolar.

What is the treatment for Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is usually treated using a combination of medical and psychological approaches. Medications are effective in treating an acute episode of mania or depression and also to prevent further episodes of  mood disorder from happening. The initial step is to determine the treatment goals and suitability of the medications for an individual. A mood stabiliser such as Lithium, Valproate, Lamotrigine or Quetiapine might be an essential component of treatment. Need for ongoing prophylaxis is then assessed based on prognosis and side effects.

What is recovery like for Bipolar Disorder?

There is no cure for bipolar disorder but with the right treatment the disorder’s symptoms can be controlled for extended periods of time. People with bipolar disorder can still live full-filling lives and have successful careers. People with minor forms of bipolarity often tend be entrepreneurial or creative and hence “bipolarity” as a trait is generally considered adaptive.

We at Mindoc offer specialised assessment and treatment of severe Bipolar disorder. We can tailor treatment to your needs and help in reducing the risks of further episodes.