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Bipolar Disorder

Mood disorders are mental disorders characterized by disturbance in one’s mood. The mood disturbance can be mild and may include depression, mania, or hypomania, or any combination of these.

Bipolar disorder is a type of mood disorder. It involves swings in mood from elation to depression with no identifiable external cause. A person having bipolar disorder experiences swings from depression to mania. During the manic phase of this disorder, the patient may show unnecessary, unwarranted excitement. They may also show poor judgment and recklessness and may be argumentative. A manic person may speak rapidly, have unrealistic ideas, and jump from subject to subject. They possibly cannot sit still for very long. These symptoms are major characteristics of bipolar disorder for a specific period of time lasting for a few months. Hospitalization can often be necessary to keep the person from harming themselves and others. The other side of the bipolar coin is the depressive episode. Bipolar depressed patients often sleep more than usual and are lethargic. Distinguishing it from major depression, they usually has trouble sleeping and is agitated. During bipolar depressive episodes, a patient may also show irritability and withdrawal.

What causes mood disorders is not well known. Our brain naturally produces chemicals called endorphins that elicits positive moods. Other chemicals in the brain, called neurotransmitters, regulate endorphins. Studies show that mood disorders are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Unwanted incidents in life can also add to a depressed mood. Also, genetic factors could be a prospect in causing bipolar disorder. Since it is related to depression, a gene may be responsible for the occurrence of the disorder. And this gene may be triggered by the environment, such as serious life-changing events. Evidence suggests that environmental factors play an important role in the development and course of bipolar disorder, and that individual psychosocial variables may interact with genetic dispositions.

There are long-term studies that people who develop bipolar disorder have shown subtle early traits of sub-threshold cyclical mood abnormalities, full major depressive episodes, and possibly ADHD with mood fluctuation . Hypersensitivity and irritability can also appear. There is some disagreement whether the experiences are chronic. A history of stimulant utilize in childhood is found in large numbers of bipolar patients and has been found to be a reason of an earlier inception of bipolar disorder, worse clinical course, independent of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Bipolar disorder is often treated with mood stabilizer medications, and sometimes other psychiatric drugs. Psychotherapy also has a function, often when there has been some recovery of stability. In serious cases in which there is a risk of harm to oneself or others involuntary commitment may be used; these cases usually entail severe manic episodes with depressive episodes with suicidal intention.

Making a diagnosis of bipolar disorder is quite a complicated case. The reason is due to the fact that the pattern of highs and lows varies in every patient. For some people, mania or depression can last for weeks or months, even for years. For other people, bipolar disorder takes the form of frequent and dramatic mood shifts.

According to a clinical psychiatrist named Michael Aronson, MD, there are discoveries in bipolar disorder that shows that there is a wide range of symptoms and mood changes in this disorder. It’s not always dramatic mood swings. There are people who get along fine. The manic periods can be very, very productive. They think things are going great. The menace comes when the mania grows much worse. Changes can be very dramatic, with catastrophic results. People can get involved in reckless behavior, spend a lot of money, there may be sexual promiscuity, sexual risks. The depressed phases can be equally dangerous: A person may have frequent thoughts of suicide.

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