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Bipolar Disorder

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What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a mental disorder characterized by mood swings between depression and mania that last from a day to a week. While the majority of patients exhibit no symptoms in between, some may exhibit a “mixed affective state,” or both mania and depression that occur concurrently.

The patient would experience persistent sadness, irritability or anger, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, excessive or inappropriate guilt, hopelessness, sleeping too much or too little, changes in appetite and/or weight, fatigue, problems concentrating, self-loathing or feelings of worthlessness, and thoughts of death or suicide during the depressive phase.

For the maniac phase, which can range from euphoria to delirium, the patient exhibits increased self-esteem or grandiosity, racing thoughts, pressured speech that is difficult to interrupt, decreased need for sleep, disinhibited social behaviour, increased goal-oriented activities and impaired judgement, which can lead to the exhibition of impulsive or high-risk behaviours, such as hypersexuality or excessive spending. The less severe maniac phase is commonly called a hypomanic episode.

Anxiety, substance abuse, personality disorders, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are all common co-occurring psychiatric conditions for patients with bipolar disorder that can add to the burden of illness and worsen the prognosis. Certain medical conditions are also common in patients with bipolar disorder including metabolic syndrome, migraine headaches, obesity, and Type II diabetes.

What is the difference between occasional shifts and bipolar disorder?

People’s mood swings are common, as they can be sad one day and overjoyed the next. Thus, if your mood swings from extremely happy to extremely depressed on a regular basis, your behaviour becomes unpredictable for a few days or longer, or your mood changes interfere with your daily life, all of these are symptoms of mental health issues that require immediate medical attention. As bipolar disorder causes mood swings that are much more intense and last much longer, similar to spending an entire day on a rollercoaster.

Type of bipolar disorders

According to the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 guidelines, bipolar disorders are diagnosed into three major types, which include

  • Bipolar I: For the patient of Bipolar I, their maniac episode lasts for at least 7 days or aggressive maniac symptoms that require immediate hospital care, followed by the depressive episode that lasts longer than 2 weeks. Bipolar I also includes patients with mixed conditions and patients who suffer from “rapid cycling” with four or more episodes of mania and depression within a year.
  • Bipolar II: Patients with Bipolar II also suffer from cyclical mania and depression episodes, but they are less severe than manic in Bipolar I.
  • Cyclothymic disorder: Patients with Cyclothymic disorder or cyclothymia also suffer from recurrent hypomanic and depressive symptoms. However, both are not intense or long enough to qualify as hypomanic or depressive episodes.

A patient who suffers from some symptoms but did not match the three categories mentioned above may be diagnosed as Bipolar Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (Bipolar-NOS) or Subthreshold Bipolar Disorder.

Dealing with Bipolar disorders

Despite the fact that the cause and mechanism of bipolar disorder are unknown, scientists discovered that a number of genes are linked to an increased risk of the disorder and that various gene-environment interactions may play a role in predisposing individuals to developing the disorder. Meanwhile, medical research has revealed that psychosocial factors play an important role in the development and progression of bipolar disorder, and that individual psychosocial variables may interact with genetic dispositions. Recent life events and interpersonal relationships, like unipolar depression, are likely to contribute to the onset and recurrence of bipolar mood episodes.

As a result, bipolar disorder is a severe and lifelong disorder that necessitates long-term treatment to prevent recurrent episodes of mania and depression. Medication, including a combination of antidepressants and mood stabilizers, has been used to prevent both mania and depression, as has psychotherapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT), and family-focused therapy to help patients regain control of their mood and emotions.

Other alternative treatments for patients with bipolar disorder include Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) – a brain stimulation procedure that can help relieve severe symptoms of bipolar disorder, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) – a brain stimulation through magnetic waves to relieve depression, and Light therapy for the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Structured activities, regular and vigorous exercise, a life chart to help recognize mood swings, social support, and patience are all important for long-term treatment that helps control side effects from the disorder and maintain a regular daily life.

Let us help to deal with your Bipolar disorder

If you suffer from intense or chronic mood swings, the Psychiatry Center of Phyathai 1 International can accurately evaluate the state of your mental health and provide a treatment plan if necessary, using the comprehensive approach of both medications and psychotherapy treatment for the control of mood swings and rehabilitation of your mental health. The Psychiatry Center of Phyathai 1 International also provides treatment for other types of mental issues including depression, anxiety disorder, sleep disorder, and addiction treatment.

If you consider receiving a mental evaluation for yourself or your family, we recommend consulting with our specialist at the Psychiatry Center of Phyathai 1 International, open daily from 8 am to 8 pm. To ensure the fastest procedure time, We recommend taking a reservation by phone at number (+66)2-201-4600 ext.2148 or by E-mail at [email protected].

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