Did you Know?
Bipolar disorder (formally known as manic depression) is a mood disorder which causes unusual shifts in a person's energy and ability to function.
Bipolar disorder is a biochemical condition that results in an imbalance of the neurotransmitters in the brain.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by mild to severe mood swings, high-to-low, mania to depression, restlessness to listlessness.
Bipolar disorder is found among all ages, races, ethnic groups and social classes
Bipolar disorder affects 1% of Canadians ages 15 and over and about 1 in 50 adults over 25 years. Hospitalization rates for bipolar disorder in general hospitals are increasing among women and men between 15 and 24 years of age.
Individuals with mood disorders are at high risk of suicide.
There is Hope.
With early diagnosis, intervention and treatment, people can recover and led fulfilling lives.
Employment and support strategies are available.
A bipolar peer support group is available.
The exact cause of bipolar disorder is relatively unknown. It is likely caused by a combination of biological and psychological factors, since there is a dynamic relationship between body and mind.
Biological: Researchers have discovered a high incidence of diagnosed bipolar individuals who have other family members with the disease. They have also fond that bipolar disorder is a results of an organic brain malfunction and that endocrine disorders have often been associated with mood changes.
Psychological: Certain stress factors may predispose individuals to mood disorders. A combination of personality traits in alternating patterns may be a cause of bipolar disorder as are 'learned helplessness' and 'excessive defense mechanisms' (strategies used to deal with stress).
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Types of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar I: This is occasionally referred to as the 'classic' form of the illness. The individual has experienced at least one manic episode and has also experienced depression. These are usually recurring episodes. The person may have experienced hallucinations or delusions in either a manic or depressive episode.
Bipolar II: The individual experiences depression and hypomania, which is milder than mania. Individuals with Bipolar II do not experience psychotic symptoms.
Cyclothymic Disorder is a chronic, milder version of bipolar disorder and lasts for a least 2 years, in which the individual experiences both mild lows and highs, which last for a few days, as opposed to weeks. Cycles of depression and mania are shorter and less intense.
Rapid Cycler: The individual alternates between highs and lows within a short period of time.
Mixed State: The symptoms involve both mania and depression occurring at the same time or alternating frequently during the day. Mixed state presents the greatest risk of suicide.
Manic symptoms in bipolar disorder include:
Treatment involves a combination of medication and psychosocial treatments. The medications are known as mood stabilizers. Psychosocial treatments could involve psychotherapy, education, and support groups.
Treatment for bipolar disorder needs to be continuous, even though there may be long periods of stability between episodes.