The easiest way to describe Bi-Polar is as someone who swings between manic and depressive episodes. They can last for days up to weeks depending. There's rapid cyclers (those that swing between moods several times a day), Bi-Polar 1 (more manic episodes), Bi-Polar 2 (more depressive episodes), and Bi-Polar NOS (not otherwise specified, so uncertain of which category they fit in).
If anyone is curious about anything with the bi-polar, don't hesitate to ask me.
The rest of the conversation will be moved to be private.
Post by ButterflyLady on Aug 14, 2014 20:40:27 GMT -5
I wanted to add to this informational thread about Bipolar so I did some research about it and now have images to add too Anyone who wants to discuss it needs to go to the thread about it in the Health section (not viewable to guests)
Bipolar disorder, also known by its older name “manic depression,” is a mental disorder that is characterized by constantly changing moods. A person with bipolar disorder experiences alternating “highs” (what clinicians call “mania“) and “lows” (also known as depression). Both the manic and depressive periods can be brief, from just a few hours to a few days, or longer, lasting up to several weeks or even months. The periods of mania and depression range from person to person — many people may only experience very brief periods of these intense moods, and may not even be aware that they have bipolar disorder.
A manic episode is characterized by extreme happiness, hyperactivity, little need for sleep and racing thoughts, which may lead to rapid speech. A depressive episode is characterized by extreme sadness, a lack of energy or interest in things, an inability to enjoy normally pleasurable activities and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. On average, someone with bipolar disorder may have up to three years of normal mood between episodes of mania or depression.
Bipolar disorder is recurrent, meaning that more than 90% of the individuals who have a single manic episode will go on to experience future episodes. Roughly 70% of manic episodes in bipolar disorder occur immediately before or after a depressive episode. Treatment seeks to reduce the feelings of mania and depression associated with the disorder, and restore balance to the person’s mood.
Those with bipolar disorder often describe their experience as being on an emotional roller coaster. Cycling up and down between strong emotions can keep a person from having anything approaching a “normal” life. The emotions, thoughts and behavior of a person with bipolar disorder are often experienced as beyond one’s control. Friends, co-workers and family may sometimes intervene to try and help protect their interests and health. This makes the condition exhausting not only for the sufferer, but for those in contact with her or him as well.
Bipolar cycling can either be rapid, or more slowly over time. Those who experience rapid cycling can go between depression and mania as often as a few times a week (some even cycle within the same day). Most people with bipolar disorder are of the slow cycling type — they experience long periods of being up (“high” or manic phase) and of being down (“low” or depressive phase). Researchers do not yet understand why some people cycle more quickly than others.
Living with bipolar disorder can be challenging in maintaining a regular lifestyle. Manic episodes can lead to family conflict or financial problems, especially when the person with bipolar disorder appears to behave erratically and irresponsibly without reason. During the manic phase, people often become impulsive and act aggressively. This can result in high-risk behavior, such as repeated intoxication, extravagant spending and risky sexual behavior.
During severe manic or depressed episodes, some people with bipolar disorder may have symptoms that overwhelm their ability to deal with everyday life, and even reality. This inability to distinguish reality from unreality results in psychotic symptoms such as hearing voices, paranoia, visual hallucinations, and false beliefs of special powers or identity. They may have distressing periods of great sadness alternating with euphoric optimism (a “natural high”) and/or rage that is not typical of the person during periods of wellness. These abrupt shifts of mood interfere with reason, logic and perception to such a drastic degree that those affected may be unaware of the need for help. However, if left untreated, bipolar disorder can seriously affect nearly every aspect of a person’s life.
Identifying the first episode of mania or depression and receiving early treatment is essential to managing bipolar disorder. In most cases, a depressive episode occurs before a manic episode, and many patients are treated initially as if they have major depression. Usually, the first recognized episode of bipolar disorder is a manic episode. Once a manic episode occurs, it becomes clearer that the person is suffering from an illness characterized by alternating moods. Because of this difficulty with diagnosis, family history of similar illness or episodes is particularly important. People who first seek treatment as a result of a depressed episode may continue to be treated as someone with unipolar depression until a manic episode develops. Ironically, treatment of depressed bipolar patients with antidepressants can trigger a manic episode in some patients.
Post by ButterflyLady on Aug 14, 2014 21:10:36 GMT -5
The Causes of Bipolar
The cause of bipolar disorder is not entirely known. Genetic, neurochemical and environmental factors probably interact at many levels to play a role in the onset and progression of bipolar disorder. The current thinking is that this is a predominantly biological disorder that occurs in a specific part of the brain and is due to a malfunction of the neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain). As a biological disorder, it may lie dormant and be activated spontaneously or it may be triggered by stressors in life.
Although, no one is quite sure about the exact causes of bipolar disorder, researchers have found these important clues:
Genetic factors in Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder tends to be familial, meaning that it “runs in families.” About half the people with bipolar disorder have a family member with a mood disorder, such as depression.
A person who has one parent with bipolar disorder has a 15 to 25 percent chance of having the condition.
A person who has a non-identical twin with the illness has a 25 percent chance of illness, the same risk as if both parents have bipolar disorder.
A person who has an identical twin (having exactly the same genetic material) with bipolar disorder has an even greater risk of developing the illness about an eightfold greater risk than a nonidentical twin.
Studies of adopted twins (where a child whose biological parent had the illness is raised in an adoptive family untouched by the illness) has helped researchers learn more about the genetic causes vs. environmental and life events causes.
Neurochemical Factors in Bipolar Disorder Bipolar disorder is primarily a biological disorder that occurs in a specific area of the brain and is due to the dysfunction of certain neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers, in the brain. These chemicals may involve neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, serotonin and probably many others. As a biological disorder, it may lie dormant and be activated on its own or it may be triggered by external factors such as psychological stress and social circumstances.
Environmental Factors in Bipolar Disorder
A life event may trigger a mood episode in a person with a genetic disposition for bipolar disorder.
Even without clear genetic factors, altered health habits, alcohol or drug abuse, or hormonal problems can trigger an episode.
Among those at risk for the illness, bipolar disorder is appearing at increasingly early ages. This apparent increase in earlier occurrences may be due to underdiagnosis of the disorder in the past. This change in the age of onset may be a result of social and environmental factors that are not yet understood.
Although substance abuse is not considered a cause of bipolar disorder, it can worsen the illness by interfering with recovery. Use of alcohol or tranquilizers may induce a more severe depressive phase.
What is Medication-triggered Mania? Medications such as antidepressants can trigger a manic episode in people who are susceptible to bipolar disorder. Therefore, a depressive episode must be treated carefully in those people who have had manic episodes. Because a depressive episode can turn into a manic episode when an antidepressant medication is taken, an antimanic drug is also recommended to prevent a manic episode. The antimanic drug creates a “ceiling,” partially protecting the person from antidepressant-induced mania.
Certain other medications can produce a “high” that resembles mania. Appetite suppressants, for example, may trigger increased energy, decreased need for sleep and increased talkativeness. After stopping the medication, however, the person returns to his normal mood.
Substances that can cause a manic-like episode include:
Illicit drugs such as cocaine, “designer drugs” such as Ecstasy and amphetamines.
Excessive doses of certain over-the-counter drugs, including appetite suppressants and cold preparations.
Nonpsychiatric medications, such as medicine for thyroid problems and corticosteroids like prednisone.
Excessive caffeine (moderate amounts of caffeine are fine).
If a person is vulnerable to bipolar disorder, stress, frequent use of stimulants or alcohol, and lack of sleep may prompt onset of the disorder. Certain medications also may set off a depressive or manic episode. If you have a family history of bipolar disorder, notify your physician so as to help avoid the risk of a medication-induced manic episode.