Bipolar Disorder - Causes, Symptoms, Types, and Treatment

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar affects about 3% of the American population today, and it is a mental condition taken seriously globally.

Learning more about bipolar disorders can help you deal with them effectively.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

A sharp fluctuation in mood characterizes this mental health condition. This ranges from very low and demoralizing to a high or mania spirit.

Bipolar disorder also affects energy levels. While people usually have mood swings, this is more intense.

It also disrupts the daily activities of the person.

How Does Someone Suffering From Bipolar Disorder Behave?

A person who has bipolar disorder will have a lot of mood swings. They might also experience some form of psychosis, including hallucinations and delusions.

These symptoms are so severe that they can affect the daily duties of the person. People with bipolar disorder will feel restless when energetic and hopeless when low.

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

The exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown. However, certain factors can contribute to its development. They are

  • Hormone Imbalance – Imbalances in neurotransmitters in the brain can cause instability. These imbalances increase the chances of having bipolar disorder.
  • Genes – Family history and other genetic factors can cause bipolar disorder
  • Stress and other triggers – Excessive stress and traumatic experiences can lead to bipolar disorder. Traumatic experiences include accidents, loss of a job, abuse, or divorce. These triggers usually apply to more vulnerable people.
What are the Types of Bipolar Disorder?

There are three types of bipolar disorders, and these are bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymia.

Bipolar I

People suffering from bipolar I have usually experienced just one or two mania episodes. When diagnosing bipolar I, ruling out schizophrenia is essential.

Some patients might experience hypomanic episodes after or before the mania episodes. However, this will be less severe than MDD.

The risk factor for men and women developing bipolar disorder is pretty equal.

Bipolar II

A generally depressive state characterizes bipolar II. You might also experience one or two hypomania episodes.

Major depressive episodes can last for more than 14 days, while hypomania episodes generally last for 5-6 days.

Women are more likely to have bipolar II.


Cyclothymia is usually classified as different from bipolar disorder. However, they share a lot of similar traits.

People suffering from cyclothymia experience most depressive and hypomania episodes. These episodes are usually longer than other types but lesser in severity.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

As earlier stated, bipolar disorder comes with mania and depressive tendencies. The symptoms are also in this order.

Mania Symptoms
  • Overly energetic
  • Increased libido
  • Talkative
  • Reckless and impulsive behavior
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • High self-esteem or overconfidence
  • Overly sociable
  • Prone to aggression
  • An abundance of ideas. Some of these ideas can be weird
  • Overly happy or cheerful
Depressive Symptoms
  • Extreme sadness or grief
  • Low sex drive
  • Dramatic changes in weight
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Excessive worry or anxiety
  • Low productivity
  • More sensitive to noise or smell.
Who is More Likely to Have Bipolar Disorder?
  • Family History – People who have a sibling or parent with bipolar disorder are at greater risk.
  • Traumatic Experiences – People who experience incredibly stressful situations are more likely to develop bipolar disorder. This also applies to traumatic experiences.
  • Intake of Illicit Drugs or Substances – People who take mind-altering drugs or substances are at a greater risk of developing bipolar.
  • Other Mental Health Conditions – People who suffer from depression, anxiety, and other related mental health issues have higher odds of developing bipolar disorder.
Bipolar Disorder in Men vs. Women

There is no real difference in the number of men and women with bipolar disorder. However, the type of bipolar and its symptoms might differ.

For example, females are more likely to develop bipolar II than males. Bipolar is also more likely to develop bipolar during their 30s or late 20s.

Women also have it more challenging because of their hormones. They experience a lot of hormonal changes during menstruation or pregnancy. These changes increase the chances of a relapse.

Men are more likely to have a diagnosis earlier in their lives, and they might also be more violent or aggressive during their episodes. Males are also more likely to develop bipolar I.

Substance abuse affects both males and females. However, males with bipolar are more likely to abuse drugs and other substances.

Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder

All diagnosis of bipolar disorder follows the guidelines outlined in DSM-5. For a doctor to diagnose you with bipolar I, you must have experienced symptoms for at least a week.

For a diagnosis of bipolar II, the patient must have shown symptoms of hypomania and depression (1 cycle).

Before any diagnosis, your doctor might ask you some questions about your symptoms. They might also ask you for blood and urine tests to rule out other possible causes.

Doctors can face some challenges when diagnosing bipolar disorder. These challenges include

  • It’s easy to misdiagnose this condition as depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia due to shared symptoms.
  • People might not believe something is wrong. This is true if the person experiences only mania episodes.

If you are experiencing some symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

Likely Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

Also known as talk therapy, this changes the thoughts and habits of the patient. A popular form of treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy.

This therapy aims at replacing negative thought patterns with positive ones. It also provides a safe place for patients to learn to manage their symptoms better.

Other forms of therapy include

  • Social rhythm therapy
  • Electro-convulsive therapy

If you’re looking to start therapy for your condition, you should check out Golden Gate Recovery. Armed with a team of passionate mental health experts, they make your recovery their priority.

  • Benzodiazepines – This drug treats symptoms of anxiety. Because of its addictive nature, short-term use is more appropriate.
  • Anti-psychotics – These are drugs used to treat hallucinations and delusions. A good example is Olanzapine.
  • Mood Stabilizers – These drugs aim to manage and regulate the patient’s mood. A good example is Lithobid.
Natural Remedies

Natural remedies such as improving your sleeping patterns and performing light exercises can work wonders.

Some persons have also seen improvements after taking supplements such as omega-3 and Rhodiola Rosea. However, please ask for your doctor’s recommendation before taking these supplements.

Can Bipolar Disorder Be Cured?

There is no known cure for bipolar disorder. However, medications and therapy can help you manage the symptoms.

Can Bipolar Disorder Be Prevented?

Since no one knows the exact cause of bipolar disorder, there’s no precise way to prevent it.

So, you can not prevent bipolar.

Contacting Your Doctor

Early intervention is the best way to handle bipolar disorder. Contact your doctor immediately if you think you have bipolar.

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