Bipolar Disorder - The 11 Most Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Diaries (Part 18): Bipolar Disorder – The 11 Most Frequently Asked Questions

bipolar disorder
Contributed by: Rachana Arya

 

Introduction

Bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depressive disorder or manic depression) is a relatively common but serious form of mental health condition. People with bipolar disorder experience extreme mood swings ranging from euphoric highs to depressive lows that typically occur during distinct periods of days to weeks. It also causes unusual changes in a person’s energy and ability to function.

Here’s what you should know about this mental illness:

 

FAQ #1: How do you know when a person suffers from bipolar disorder?

There is one problem with bipolar disorder: It is a multi-faceted disease and more complicated than a simple checklist of symptoms that you can find online for an official diagnosis. Multiple visits over a long period are required to demonstrate a pattern of behaviour.

The symptoms of bipolar illness are categorized into:

 

 

Some of the seven key signs of mania are:

 

    • Being excessively happy or “high” for extended periods
    • Having decreased need for sleep
    • Speaking quickly, typically with racing ideas
    • Having a restless or impetuous sensation
    • Becoming easily distracted
    • Acting hyperactively
    • Having over-confidence in one’s abilities to the point of danger
    • Engaging in reckless behaviour

 

Some of the seven key signs of depression are:

 

    • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
    • Feeling sad for long periods 
    • Withdrawing from friends and family
    • Problems with memory and concentration
    • A significant change in appetite
    • Severe fatigue or lack of energy
    • Suicidal ideation or attempt, or preoccupation with death

 

FAQ #2: Can bipolar disorder be treated?

While bipolar disorder can be difficult to diagnose, it is treatable once it is identified.

 

FAQ #3: Is bipolar disorder hereditary?

Just like most psychiatric conditions, the causes of bipolar disorder are not well known. However, researchers have discovered that genetics are a substantial factor in disease manifestation. This means that adults who have relatives with this condition have a tenfold increased risk of having the disorder. This shows that the illness may have a hereditary component.

 

FAQ #4: Should I have my doctor regularly screen me for the disorder if my parent has bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder indeed runs in families. Having first degree relatives with bipolar disorder, (mother, father, siblings, and children) can increase the risk of developing bipolar disorder or act as a trigger for the first episode. Hence, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor periodically, to keep an eye out on the onset of bipolar disorder. 

 

FAQ #5: Can stress trigger bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is frequently triggered by a stressful experience at work or in your personal life. A major life change, such as the death of a loved one or a physical injury, might also set off the symptoms. Controlling stress in one’s life is usually beneficial for those with bipolar disorder.

 

FAQ #6: Can bipolar disorder go away by itself?

Bipolar disorder, if left untreated, can lead to major problems that can influence every aspect of your life, including:

 

    • Addiction to drugs and alcohol 
    • Suicide or attempted suicide
    • Financial or legal issues
    • Damaged relationships 
    • Poor performance at the job or in school

 

FAQ #7: Can bipolar disorder be cured?

Although there is no cure for bipolar disorder, most people with this condition can control the illness with the help of psychotherapy and the right combination of mood stabilizers and other bipolar medicines. When behavioural therapy is used in conjunction with medicines, they have shown to be effective at preventing relapses and reducing the severity of the patient’s symptoms.

 

FAQ #8: Does bipolar disorder get worse as you get older?

If left untreated, bipolar disorder tends to get worse with age. As time passes, a person may have more severe and intense episodes than when the symptoms first emerged.

 

FAQ #9: Does bipolar disorder cause harm to the brain?

People with bipolar disorder may suffer progressive brain damage with each manic or depressive episode. Bipolar episodes cause a reduction in brain growth and, potentially, intelligence.

 

FAQ #10: Does bipolar disorder have an impact on sleep?

Bipolar disorder is characterised by sleep disturbances that can wreak havoc on a person’s mood and decision-making abilities. According to the diagnostic criteria, manic periods may have a reduced need for sleep, whereas depression episodes may manifest insomnia or hypersomnia.

 

FAQ #11: Is there a cure for bipolar in Ayurveda?

Ayurveda offers a multitude of holistic tools for approaching this psychological disease. Combined with meditation and other yogic practices, Ayurveda works on modifications in lifestyle, diet, and herbs to suit the specific individual.

Some herb choices for tonics to treat bipolar disorder are:

 

    • Ashwagandha
    • Brahmi
    • Shatavari
    • Ginseng
    • Kappikacchu
    • Haritaki 
    • Bhringaraj  

 

Final thoughts

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition and it can be a real challenge for both you and your loved ones — so it is important to consider your own needs as well as theirs. It’s important to remember that most people with bipolar illness can manage their condition and live healthy, happy lives with the right treatment, coping skills, and support.

 

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