What is bipolar disorder? It is a condition in which you will have episodes of high and low moods and in between the episodes you will be normal or partly normal. It is also known as manic depressive disorder.
Generally, it can be described as a condition where one of these two episodes prevails: manic periods and depression periods. In most cases, the most notable change in person’s behavior is the depression.
Hypomanic episodes may go unnoticed by the friends and family members. Why? Because you will be active and jolly and energetic. Everyone will think that you are feeling better and the symptoms will not be that severe to cause functional impairment.
Epidemiological studies show that women suffer from this disease more often than men. The women between 15 and 40 are the so called “risk group” for developing bipolar disorder. That is why they need to be cautious of the disease onset.
The symptoms in men manifest earlier and they are more severe. It is estimated that 1% of the population tends to show some of the symptoms, specific for bipolar disorder.
When answering the question what is bipolar disorder? It is essential to mention in detail the different mood phases you may pass through.
The Manic Phase
In the manic phase every thing will be 'high', your mood, your energy, your life and most importantly You. But this is abnormally high and that is where things go wrong. It becomes a disease.
You will feel energetic, wanting to do so many things. You will be active rather over active. Your mind will be flooding with thoughts and ideas and you will be talking too much. You will have a pressured speech, wanting to say it all as the stream of thoughts is racing through your mind. The thoughts will be random and you will be jumping from one idea to the other, it is called flight of ideas.
The down side is this during this phase your judgment is impaired. You will not be able to make out that you are behaving abnormally. You will think that you are fine. You can involve yourself in risky behaviors like gambling at very high stakes, making foolish business investments or doing aimless luxurious shopping.
Your sleep will decrease tremendously. After sleeping for only three or four hours you will feel fresh and energetic again. Your sexual desire will increase and you can engage in risky sexual encounters.
The Depressive Phase
In this phase everything will be 'down', your mood, your energy, your life and most importantly You.
Everything will appear dull to you. There will be no charm in the life. You will feel sad and depressed. You will find no words to speak. You may cry. You may not want to come out of your bed. No energy to do anything. You may think yourself as a complete failure in life and a burden on others.
Suicidal thoughts can come into your mind. If suicidal thoughts are coming to your mind, please seek medical help. Consult your doctor.Learn about self harm in bipolar disorder here.
As the time passes, depressive episodes become common and longer lasting in bipolar disorder. But with treatment and healthy habits you can overcome the disease.
During these periods the patient feels insecure and unhealthy. Suicidal thoughts are very specific about the depressive periods. The feeling experienced in bipolar depression are similar to those experienced in the unipolar depression but the treatment is different. Learn about bipolar depression treatment here.
The Hypomanic Phase
The symptoms that you experience in the hypomanic phase are similar to those of manic phase only in lesser intensity and duration. If the symptoms are not severe enough to cause impairment in your life and they last for about four days, it is called hypomania. Learn more about symptoms of bipolar disorder here.
Role of Genetics
Genetic play important part in the reorganization of the bipolar disorder. There are many candidates for genes, which are connected with this disease.However, so far it is not found that a singe gene could cause bipolar disorder. It is more likely that a set of genes are involved in development of the disorder.
Tryptophan hydroxylase gene has a major role in the development of the disorder. It is one of the most important parts of the metabolism of serotonin and it is said that serotonin plays really important part in regulating human emotions and behavior. Learn about causes of bipolar disorder here.Increased levels of serotonin are found in happy people and decreased levels of serotonin are found in sad and depressed people.Learn about bipolar disorder treatment here.