Bipolar disorder, otherwise known as manic depression causes extreme mood swings, fluctuations in energy and functioning. The symptoms may vary over the course of a person’s life, and they may be subtle or dramatic. It is a mental illness that affects both sexes, and it is usually life-long. There are recurring bouts of mania and depression that can last for months in some cases. People who suffer from bipolar disorder usually require treatment for life.
What are the symptoms and triggers?
Mania is when the person feels elated and happy or irritable and depressed. The person will have wild, racing thoughts, increased talking, an accelerated speech rate, exhibit sexual indiscretion and taking risks to name but a few.
Depression symptoms are a loss in energy, long periods of sadness, a feeling of total hopelessness and feelings of guilt, worry and anxiety.
There is a very strong link to genetics; professional mental health care professionals have traced the disorder back into families. There appears to be evidence that bipolar disorder can be affected to some degree at least by alcohol and drug abuse. It is believed by most that bipolar disorder is a number of different factors, all interacting to create a chemical imbalance in the brain. When one is faced with a particularly stressful event, it may interact with some underlying vulnerability which in turn, produces the disorder.
It is also possible that bipolar attacks can be caused from anti-depressant medication. Research seems to indicate that these anti-depressants trigger a switch to mania, manic episodes are also caused by sleep disorders, which tend to depress and cause wild mood swings.
Who is affected?
Bipolar disorder is being found more and more in young adults. Many times the illness is misdiagnosed as many people only seek assistance to fight their depressive stage and forget the mania. Under these circumstances, it is easy to diagnose the person as having a fit of depression.
It can be a very destructive disorder, often leading to suicide. It is a disorder that can tear families apart. Some sufferer’s think that it is just who they are and that any diagnosis is wrong. If they accept anti-depressants they can lead to bigger problems by triggering a manic episode.
There is no age group, which is insulated from the disorder. The average age for the onset of the disease is 19 years of age. Twenty-five years ago the average age at on-set was 32. People with bipolar disorder are candidates for suicide, the rate of suicide between suffers and non-sufferers is 20:1. This may be because they have a great deal of energy that comes from mood switching, as they have time to think out the act as part of the disorder.
Bipolar disorder can be a dreadful mental illness, which id left unattended can lead to death. The professionals at University Behavioral Health, El Paso know the disorder well and are capable of offering treatment.