Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder, formerly known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that is characterized by shifts in mood, activity levels and energy. These shifts are unusual and may be drastic. It’s important to differentiate bipolar disorder from the normal ups and downs associated with stress and change in life as these can be attributed to external circumstances, whereas bipolar disorder is a chemical imbalance in the brain. In fact, research suggests that this chemical imbalance can run in families and may be inherited in some cases.

Someone who suffers from bipolar disorder may exhibit any of the following behaviors while in a manic state: irritability, intense happiness or a “high,” talking a lot or talking very quickly, a lack of need for sleep, extreme shopping or other extreme behaviors, restlessness, impulsive or high-risk behavior, or delusions of grandeur (“I’m king or queen of the world”). Conversely, when patients are in a depressed state, they may be extremely sad or hopeless, sleep a lot, lose interest in things they used to enjoy (whether people or activities), have difficulty focusing on tasks, shift their eating habits, avoid social situations. and in extreme cases, contemplate or plan out a suicide attempt. Because the condition can be so extreme and life altering, it is important to seek the help of a medical professional in order to properly diagnose and treat bipolar disorder.

Once diagnosed, treatment often includes a combination of medication and psychotherapy. The following types of medications maybe used to treat bipolar disorder but nothing can actually cure the disorder: mood stabilizers or anticonvulsants (Lithium, Depakote®, Lamictal®, Trileptal®), atypical antipsychotics (Zyprexa®, Abilify®, Seroquel®, Risperdal®, Geodon®) and antidepressants (Prozac®, Paxil®, Zoloft®). Depending on the patient’s specific diagnosis, different medications or combinations of medications may be prescribed.

Whether you have already been diagnosed or you are researching in order to learn more, WebPsychology provides resources to help you learn more about the disorder, its causes, symptoms and treatments.

The above summary by WebPsychology.