• Maya Kale

Bipolar Disorder

Updated: Sep 11, 2021

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder according to the DSM manual of mental disorders. This is a common disorder, where the patient faces episodes of mania, depression, elevated mood, unusual thought patterns etc. When an individual has this mood disorder, it often results in them having limited functioning, which takes place in and can affect their personal and professional lives. It is said that individuals who have bipolar disorder often have other coexisting medical problems, such as - thyroid dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc. The prevalence rate of this disorder is 5% across the world.

The image on the left is an illustration of a common metaphor used to describe this disorder. It can be compared to files on a neat shelf suddenly flung into disarray and chaos. Click on the image to learn more.

What are the causes of bipolar disorder?

The exact cause for this disorder is still unknown, but there are factors which contribute to this, such as:

Biological differences - People who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder have physical differences in their brain, compared to those individuals who do not have this particular disorder.

Genetics - Bipolar disorder is more commonly found when the individual has a first-degree relative who has already been diagnosed with this disorder.

What are the preventions that could take place when an individual is faced with this disorder?

There is no exact prevention to bipolar disorder, but some measures can be taken to stabilize the condition and to make the living standards for the individual better. Some of them are:

1. Identify warning signs -

as more episodes occur, the individual can pay attention to certain triggers and try to address these issues to prevent further episodes from taking place. Keeping friends and family in the notice of these episodes is extremely crucial since they can be of help to get the individual out of the particular manic episode they would be facing.

2. Avoid drugs and alcohol -

Using drugs and alcohol can often cause addiction, which is unhealthy for those who face bipolar disorder, as these increase the chances for the symptoms to recur more and more often.

3. Take medication when required -

Taking medication when required, and not missing a single dosage can help to stabilize the condition the individual is in. The medication suppresses symptoms and does its job in making the individual feel better.

How can one help an individual with bipolar disorder?

  • Educate yourself

By knowing more about the disorder, when a manic episode takes place, others will be able to swiftly react in an appropriate manner, without causing more problems.

  • Listen

It is not necessary to provide the individual who is facing bipolar disorder with knowledgeable and “right” answers, instead just sitting and listening to them can make a large impact and difference to the individual, as they may want to talk about the issues they would be facing. By attentively listening, and not providing an argument back, it would be extremely helpful for the individual to cope with this disorder.

  • Be patient

Bipolar disorder is a disorder which takes place over a course of an entire lifetime, and there is no particular cure; there are only ways to maintain and stabilize this disorder in order to help the individual have a satisfying life. It is imperative to understand that losing patience is not going to make the situation better. Whereas being supportive and understanding the position the individual is in makes a large difference to their lives.

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