What is bipolar disorder?
In literature, characters with bipolar disorder are sometimes described with behaviors like calm and storm. There are good days of peace and bad days with a heaviness that builds and falls.
To understand this better, it is a mental health condition where there is an extreme shift from having high energy to feeling very low. Living with bipolar disorder is a back and forth between feeling jubilant (masayang-masaya) to feeling terribly sad (napaka-lungkot).
This up and down swing can be attributed to the changes in any or all of these:
- ability to function
The intense highs and lows are mania and depression respectively. Relevant to these terms, did you know that this condition was formerly called manic depressive illness or manic depression in 1851 before it was changed officially to bipolar disorder in 1980 to minimize, if not remove, the stigma in this mental illness.
These extreme shifts can have a significant impact on a person’s day-to-day activities. Having said that, awareness is better and it is the key to maintaining a healthy and active life.
Be empowered and let MedChoice Pharma help you realize the best options you may consider in case you know someone or have a family member challenged by this condition. “Kalinga at Galing sa Kalusugang Pangkaisipan”
What are the possible causes and its symptoms?
Different factors are determined to be the cause of bipolar disorder, but it is largely related to genetics. Although it is frequently inherited, no specific gene causes this disease. It can be influenced by different genes depending on each person. But there are other factors to be considered, including:
- environmental factors
- personal history
- life-changing experiences
- brain chemistry
- other mental conditions
- substance abuse
Through the help of a healthcare professional and careful observation, there can be a better understanding of these factors.
Check for various symptoms that may occur during a manic or depressive episode.
During a manic phase, you may:
- feel very happy and inspired
- have lots of energy
- have difficulty sleeping or have insomnia
- talk quickly
- easily annoyed or agitated
- get easily distracted
- hypersensitive to stimuli
- obsess over things
Depending on the degree of these symptoms, mania can be categorized into three stages, Hypomania (the first and mild stage), Acute Mania (the second stage), and Delirious Mania (the most severe stage).
To others, these manic episodes can be a gift, helping a person function more effectively. On the other hand, extreme mania can be a curse. This final stage of mania can lead to psychosis, where someone may lose touch of reality leading to experience hallucinations and delusions.
In contrast, the symptoms of a depressive episode may lead to:
- feelings of emptiness
- loss of interest
- loss of pleasure
This other end of the spectrum also has different stages. Depressive episodes start from distress (the first and mild stage), as it progresses, it can lead to a depressive disorder (the moderate stage), and lastly it can become a recurrent depressive disorder (the severe stage).
Between these ups and downs, there is also a mixed state. It is a state that includes both manic and depressive symptoms. This is where a person affected may feel both high and low at the same time. It is a state where one can be both agitated and upset.
These stages may develop quickly leading to rapid cycling that literally changes mood quickly over a span of time and can feel like multiple highs and lows. Otherwise, it can develop slowly and may last for as short as a few days or as long as few to several weeks and in other cases even months. These cycles, whether they are rapid or not, have no definitive duration.
Get diagnosed professionally.
It is important to get diagnosed professionally and avoid jumping to conclusions. Know that part of diagnosing bipolar disorder consists of a complete physical exam, medical tests, and a mental health evaluation.
Bipolar disorder may be diagnosed in kids as early as five (5) or six (6) years old and those during their late adolescence and typically in early adulthood or 20s. Although rarely, it may also be diagnosed around the age of 40.
Treatment and medication
Treatment may depend on a person’s symptoms. Less severe symptoms may not require medication and lean more into other forms of interventions such as the help of peer groups and therapy.
More severe symptoms require medications like MedChoice Pharma’s Depamax. This is valproic acid, an anticonvulsant drug used to treat the acute manic phase of bipolar disorder. This is only available through prescription and can be taken with or without food. The doctor’s prescription may vary depending on the age of the person affected by bipolar disorder. The dose is different for children and is worked out through factoring in the patient’s weight.
Aside from medication, a combination of different treatments may be implemented. It depends on the accurate and expert diagnosis to determine the right help or intervention needed such as a psychiatrist, a psychologist, or in other cases, as well as a social worker.
Any degree of impact, there is a counter treatment that aims to help the patient achieve his/her best life possible. Leading an active and productive life is still within reach, most especially with MedChoice Pharma helping Filipinos to have “Better choice. Better lives.”
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Do you need to know more about Depamax? Visit our website and learn about its other uses and possible side effects.
National Institute of Mental Health (2023,February) Bipolar Disorder https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder
NHS.UK (2023, January), Overview – Bipolar Disorder https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/bipolar-disorder/overview/
My Cleveland Clinic (2021, September) Hypomania https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21774-hypomania
Medical New Today (2022, November) What to know about the stages of depression https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/stages-of-depression#symptoms
Mind (2022, February) Bipolar Disorder. https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/bipolar-disorder/causes-of-bipolar/
The Recovery Village (2023, May) Mania https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/mania/
Very Well Mind (2022, June) Why Did Manic Depression Become Bipolar Disorder?The History and Reasons Behind the Change. https://www.verywellmind.com/why-did-manic-depression-become-bipolar-disorder-379822
NHW.UK (2021, September) Valproic acid. https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/valproic-acid/