A person with bipolar disorder will experience changes in mood, energy, and activity levels that can make day-to-day living difficult.
Bipolar disorder can cause severe disruption to a person’s life, but the impact varies between individuals. With appropriate treatment and support, many people with this condition live a full and productive life.
On average, a person will receive a diagnosis around the age of 25 years, but symptoms can appear during the teenage years or later in life. It affects males and females equally.
A person with bipolar disorder may experience “highs” and “lows” in quick succession.
The National Institute of Mental Health describe the main symptoms of bipolar disorder as alternating episodes of high and low mood. Changes in energy levels, sleep patterns, ability to focus, and other features can dramatically impact a person’s behavior, work, relationships, and other aspects of life.
Most people experience mood changes at some time, but those related to bipolar disorder are more intense than regular mood changes, and other symptoms can occur. Some people experience psychosis, which can include delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia.
Between episodes, the person’s mood may be stable for months or years, especially if they are following a treatment plan.
Treatment enables many people with bipolar disorder to work, study, and live a full and productive life. However, when treatment helps a person feel better, they may stop taking their medication. Then, the symptoms can return.
Some aspects of bipolar disorder can make a person feel good. During an elevated mood, they may find they are more sociable, talkative, and creative.
However, an elevated mood is unlikely to persist. Even if it does, it may be hard to sustain attention or follow through with plans. This can make it difficult to follow a project through to the end.
SYMPTOMS OF BIPOLAR MOOD DISORDER
According to the International Bipolar Association, symptoms vary between individuals. For some people, an episode can last for several months or years. Others may experience “highs” and “lows” at the same time or in quick succession.
In “rapid cycling” bipolar disorder, the person will have four or more episodes within a year.
MANIA OR HYPOMANIA
Hypomania and mania are elevated moods. Mania is more intense than hypomania.
Symptoms can include:
- impaired judgment
- feeing wired
- sleeping little but not feeling tired
- a sense of distraction or boredom
- missing work or school
- underperforming at work or school
- feeling able to do anything
- being sociable and forthcoming, sometimes aggressively so
- engaging in risky behavior
- increased libido
- feeling exhilarated or euphoric
- having high levels of self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-importance
- talking a lot and rapidly
- jumping from one topic to another in conversation
- having “racing” thoughts that come and go quickly, and bizarre ideas that the person may act upon
- denying or not realizing that anything is wrong
Some people with bipolar disorder may spend a lot of money, use recreational drugs, consume alcohol, and participate in dangerous and inappropriate activities.
During an episode of bipolar depression, a person may experience:
- a feeling of gloom, despair, and hopelessness
- extreme sadness
- insomnia and sleeping problems
- anxiety about minor issues
- pain or physical problems that do not respond to treatment
- a sense of guilt, which may be misplaced
- eating more or eating less
- weight loss or weight gain
- extreme tiredness, fatigue, and listlessness
- an inability to enjoy activities or interests that usually give pleasure
- difficulty focusing and remembering
- sensitivity to noises, smells, and other things that others may not notice
- an inability to face going to work or school, possibly leading to underperformance
In severe cases, the individual may think about ending their life, and they may act on those thoughts.
- Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
- Listen to the person without judgment.
- Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
- Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.
If a “high” or “low” episode is very intense, the person may experience psychosis. They may have trouble differentiating between fantasy and reality.
TYPES OF BIPOLAR MOOD DISORDER
A person may receive a diagnosis of one of three broad types of bipolar disorder.
BIPOLAR I DISORDER
For a diagnosis of bipolar I disorder:
- The individual must have experienced at least one manic episode.
- The person may have had a previous major depressive episode.
- The doctor must rule out other disorders, such as schizophrenia and delusional disorder.
BIPOLAR II DISORDER
Bipolar II disorder involves periods of hypomania, but depression is often the dominant state.
For a diagnosis of bipolar II disorder, a person must have had:
- one or more episodes of depression
- at least one hypomanic episode
- no other diagnosis to explain the mood shifts
A person with hypomania may feel good and function well, but their mood will not be stable, and there is a risk that depression will follow.
The National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom note that cyclothymia has similar features to bipolar disorder, but the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,It involves hypomania and depression, but the changes are less intense.
A medical professional will diagnose bipolar disorder using criteria set out in the DSM-5.
The National Institue of Mental Health (NIMH) explain that in order to receive a diagnosis of bipolar I disorder, a person must have had symptoms for at least 7 days, or less if symptoms were severe enough to need hospitalization. They may also have had a depressive episode lasting at least 2 weeks.
To receive a diagnosis of bipolar II, a person will have experienced at least one cycle of hypomania and depression.
A doctor may carry out a physical examination and some diagnostic tests, including blood and urine tests, to help rule out other causes.
Other complications that may occur with bipolar disorder are:
- use of drugs or alcohol to cope with symptoms
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- anxiety disorder
- attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
TREATMENT OF BIPOLAR MOOD DISORDER
Treatment aims to stabilize the person’s mood and reduce the severity of symptoms. The goal is to help the person function effectively in daily life.
Treatment involves a combination of therapies, including:
- physical intervention
- lifestyle remedies
PSYCHOTHERAPY AND COUNSELING
Psychotherapy can help relieve symptoms and equip a person to manage bipolar disorder.
Through cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) and other approaches, the individual can learn to:
- recognize and take steps to manage key triggers, such as stress
- identify early symptoms of an episode and take steps to manage it
- work on factors that help maintain a stable mood for as long as possible
- engage the help of family members, teachers, and colleagues
These steps can help a person maintain positive relationships at home and work. For children and teens with bipolar disorder, a doctor may recommend family therapy.
Some lifestyle choices can help maintain a stable mood and manage symptoms. They include:
- maintaining a regular routine
- following a healthful and varied diet
- establishing a regular sleep pattern and taking steps to prevent sleep disturbance
- getting regular exercise
Some people use supplements, but it is essential to discuss this with a doctor first. Some alternative remedies can interact with the drugs used for bipolar disorder. They may make symptoms worse.
HOMOEOPATHIC TREATMENT FOR BIPOLAR MOOD DISORDER
The bipolar mood disorder can be effectively managed with homeopathy, especially in the early stages. At Life Force, Dr Shah is treating several patients with Bipolar Disorder and mostly half of the patients have had a good improvement. Homeopathic medicine helps in stabilizing mood, reduce the tantrums in intensity and in frequency also.The patient becomes more communicative, the need for E.C.T/antidepressant/anti psychotic medicine reduces and excitability comes down. The condition requires patience and slowly and steadily, definite improvement can be observed.
It must be noted that those patients who are on heavy anti-depression medicines for over two years, are not good candidates for homeopathic treatment.
Ignatia Amara: Homeopathic medicine for bipolar disorder in depressive phase
Ignatia Amara is a homeopathic medicine used for depressive phase of bipolar disorder. Persons who need prescribtion for Ignatia Amara suffer episodes of sadness, hopelessness, unhappiness and weepiness. Other symptoms include a desire for loneliness, brooding in solitude and getting offended easily. A history of grief, disappointments, loss of loved ones or broken relationships are said to be at the root of such cases. Rapidly altering moods – from sadness to happiness, weeping to laughing – are other unique symptoms to look out for while prescribing Ignatia Amara.
Lachesis Muta and Veratrum Album: Best Homeopathic medicine for bipolar disorder in manic phase
Lachesis Muta and Veratrum Album are good homeopathic medicines for bipolar disorder in its manic phase. Symptoms guiding use of Lachesis Muta are increased mental activity, excitement, irritability, restlessness, violent behaviour, need to do everything rapidly and loud bursts of anger. Other symptoms are excessive talkativeness, mania for work and shopping. Homeopathic medicine Veratrum Album is most useful in case of violent mania with shrieking, desire to cut or tear things. A plethora of laughing, scolding and running from place to place are other symptoms such persons show. This violent mania alternates with silence.
Aurum Metallicum: Homeopathic medicine for bipolar disorder with extreme hopelessness and suicidal thoughts
Aurum Metallicum is an excellent homeopathic medicine for bipolar disorder in which the major symptoms are extreme hopelessness with thoughts of suicide. Persons prescribed with homeopathic medicine Aurum Metallicum will be sad and feel that life is a burden. Their self-esteem is low and they are severely critical of themselves. They long for death with constant thoughts of suicide.
Staphysagria: Wonderful Homeopathic medicine for bipolar disorder with sudden bursts of anger
In case of bipolar disorder where persons suffer from sudden bursts of anger, homeopathic medicine Staphysagria is the best prescription. Such persons will have a tendency to suppress anger, but will be given into sudden fits of rage during which they are likely to throw or break things. Poor self-confidence, self-pity, reproaching oneself, getting offended easily and feelings of worthlessness are seen. Case analysis will reveal a history of some sort of humiliation, guilt, physical/sexual abuse.
Medorrhinum: Top Homeopathic medicine for bipolar disorder with severe mood swings
Medorrhinum is the most useful, natural and safe homeopathic medicine for bipolar disorder with extreme mood changes. Hurriedness, anxiety, restlessness, impatience and abruptness are some other guiding symptoms for its prescription. Other accompanying symptoms are rudeness, excitement and high sex drive. These are generally followed by a depressive phase, where symptoms such as sadness, gloominess, tearfulness and hopelessness are seen.e.t.c