Bipolar disorder in psychiatry is a medical diagnosis which refers to mania (mixed states or hypomania) alternated with euthymic or depressed mood (clinical depression) within a specific duration of time. Compared to ups and downs experienced by normal people, a person affected by a bipolar disorder can have extreme swings of moods which can last for a few minutes or even months. Changes in moods are often associated with disruption and distress with high suicidal tendencies. There are also instances linking bipolar disorder to extreme functioning. Most creative talents are attributing bipolar disorder on their creativity. |
A bipolar disorder is categorized either as Type I or Type II. In Type I, a person may experience a full-blown mania. In Type II, the "highs" of a person never exceed the hypomania stage unless it was triggered by the mania medications. During manic periods, psychosis may occur. Rapid cycling is also possible. When talking about bipolar disorder, severity and problems connected with moods have its own variations. Thus, a bipolar spectrum disorder concept is employed more often which includes cyclothymia.
Depressive disorders are not new, in fact, for many years people suffered from it without getting any treatment. Millions of people at present are not even aware that they have the disorder. And those that are already aware of it don’t want to accept such fact because they think it's quite embarrassing. Like other illnesses, depressive disorders are divided into types. People are familiar with major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder.
A person suffers from major depression if he or she exhibits symptoms of sad mood, inability to work, eat, sleep, and enjoy. The patient's lives are greatly affected. Dysthymia is less severe compared to major depression. Long term symptoms can be noted and some even have major depression episodes. Bipolar disorder involves depression or mania cycles. And though it can't be cured, the patients can still control and stabilize their episodes through treatments or medications.
Depressive disorders have many symptoms. And when a bipolar patient is in a cycle of depression, all depressive disorder symptoms can be experienced. However, if the person is in the cycle of mania, he will only experience symptoms associated with the cycle.
Here is a list of the depression symptoms felt by bipolar patients:
• Persistently anxious, sad, 'empty mood'
• Loss of pleasure and interest in activities or hobbies once enjoyed by the individual
• Feelings of pessimism, hopelessness, guilt, helplessness, and worthlessness
• Oversleeping or insomnia
• Overeating that leads to weight gain
• Decreased appetite that leads to losing weight
• Thinks about death and suicide
• Decreased energy and fatigue
• Irritability and restlessness
• Can't make decisions, unable to concentrate or remember things
• Physical symptoms like chronic pain, headache, and digestive disorders
The following symptoms are not all felt by a bipolar patient. Some of them may experience only few of the symptoms while others may experience many. Each individual exhibits varying degrees of symptom severity.
In order to get the appropriate treatment, you must undergo a complete psychological and physical evaluation. This is necessary in order to determine the type of depressive illness that he or she is suffering. Bipolar depression symptoms may be caused by certain medical conditions or medications. Through a physician's interview, laboratory tests, and physical examination, the possibilities can be ruled out.
A diagnostic evaluation will look into the patient's history of symptoms and the physician will ask all sorts of questions like when the symptoms begun, how long it lasts, how severe, and if the symptoms already occurred. You will also be asked if you were previously treated and what medications were given to you. The doctor must also not forget to ask if the bipolar patient used drugs or alcohol, or if he or she ever thought about suicide and death. Questions pertaining to the medical history of family members should not be forgotten.
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Bipolar depression symptoms can also affect the mental status of an individual. The evaluation can determine if an individual's thought pattern, speech, and memory is already affected. Mental disorders don’t require laboratory tests such as x-ray or blood tests. Powerful scans like MRI, CT, PET, and SPECT can't detect the brain changes of a bipolar patient and that of other mental illnesses.
Only the doctor can properly evaluate a bipolar patient's state. He can also aid the patient in getting the right treatment or medication necessary to control episodes. The symptoms need not frighten the patient's family or friends. Although the symptoms may seem quite normal for the individual, it still needs to be treated. It can be very alarming for other people because they might think that you’re insane, especially if you're already doing extreme things.
Don’t hesitate to consult your doctor. Check out the major symptoms of bipolar, and if you exhibit a few of the symptoms, perhaps you're suffering from bipolar.
Copyright © Anne-Marie Ronsen
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