No sooner did the happy days say goodbye that the sad days started knocking on the door. And that’s the harsh reality that many have to live with as they are affected by Bipolar Disorder. It is a mental disorder that causes bouts of depression followed by a period of elevated mood. A vicious cycle of sad and happy days that one is unable to cope with.
When happiness overcomes the affected individual then it is characterized by unending enthusiasm, less sleep, more conversations and in some it actually leads to a phase of enhanced creativity. But when this is followed by the sad phase, then one is engulfed in an immense feeling of depression, coupled with limited social interaction and poor eye contact being made with others.
The happy phases are known as the manic phases and they can last anywhere between a week to six months, if left untreated. During this phase one often tends to implement poorly thought out decisions, which might have a negative impact in the long term. And during the depressing phase one acquires a negative approach towards life so much so that their chances of getting suicidal increases. However, psychiatrists reiterate that only when the intensity of these symptoms are such that they disrupt daily life activities, then medical intervention should be considered.
Like many other mental disorders, even in Bipolar disorder the causes can be genetic or environmental. In some cases the hereditary factor has a role to play, while in others environmental factors like abuse in childhood, long term stress due to certain reasons or substance abuse can trigger this. The onset of this disorder is usually seen around the age of 25, so there are chances that kith and kin often overlook the symptoms as those of early adulthood. Roughly around 3 per cent of the population is affected with this disorder globally, and psychiatrists emphasize on the need to come out of the stigma and report the problem so that treatment can be started on the affected individuals at the earliest.
Treatment options for Bipolar Disorder include, psychotherapy aimed at reducing the core symptoms, recognizing episode triggers, identifying the pre-onset symptoms before full-blown recurrence, and working on the factors that lead to maintenance of remission. Counseling, including family focused therapy is also administered because that is crucial to managing the disorder better. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is also recommended along with some medications like anti-depressants.
It’s a psychological disorder, but it requires psychosocial management as well. But management is key. Medical intervention has to be sought, otherwise the affected individual might end up harming himself or herself or other family members or friends given their poor sense of judgment during the manic and depressive phases. So drop the stigma, and seek help if any of the symptoms seem familiar.