Do you suffer from bipolar disorder?

vijigermany

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Do you suffer from bipolar disorder

What do Catherine Zeta Jones, Demi Lovato, Sting, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Russell Brand, Stephen Fry, Mel Gibson, Macy Gray, Sinead O'Connor, Ozzy Osbourne and Sidney Sheldon have in common?

They suffer from a form of mental illness classified as a mood disorder more popularly known as Bipolar Disorder.

Clinical psychologist, Seema Hingorany says that while we all have our ups and downs, and off days, if you're suffering from bipolar disorder, these peaks and valleys are more severe. "Also known as manic depression, it causes shifts in a person's mood, energy, and ability to function. The symptoms can result in damaged relationships, difficulty in working or going to school. There are periods of normal mood as well, but left untreated, people with bipolar continue to experience these shifts in mood," says Hingorany.

Clinical psychologist Chetna Duggal says, "During an episode, a person experiences disturbances in mood and activity levels and between two episodes is able to function normally with no disturbances. When the person experiences feelings of extreme happiness and elevation along with increased energy levels it is termed as a manic episode (in a milder form termed as hypomania) and when the person experiences low mood and decreased energy the episode is termed as a depressive episode. In cases where there is a mix or quick shift between mania, hypomania and depression it is termed a mixed episode," says Duggal.

How does it affect one?
During a manic episode, a person might impulsively quit a job, charge up huge amounts on credit cards, or feel rested after sleeping two hours. During a depressive episode, the same person might be too tired to get out of bed and full of self-loathing and hopelessness over being unemployed and in debt. What causes Bipolar cannot be said with certainty. The disorder is said to be caused by an interaction of biological, genetic and psychosocial factors. Stress, family history and neurochemical factors are some of the causes.

Symptoms
Clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, Varkha Chulani says the manic phase can last for days, often months. "Symptoms include agitation, irritation, delusions of grandeur, little need for sleep, elevated mood, increased energy, reckless behaviour, sexual promiscuity, tendency to be easily distracted and spending sprees. Relationships become problematic as does professional ability. The person becomes erratic, undependable and indulges in destructive behaviour. They have difficulty concentrating, suffer from weight loss due to low appetite or weight gain due to over eating, listlessness, thoughts of death or suicide. There is withdrawal from friends, family and activities that were once enjoyed," says Varkha.

Treatment
Mood stabilisers are the first option. Antipsychotic drugs are also used with anti-anxiety and anti-depressants. Electro-convulsive Therapy (ECT) may be used to treat the manic or depressive phase if drugs have little effect. Psychotherapy for patient and caregivers helps managing the disorder, reducing stress and preventing future episodes. It's important to educate yourself about the illness, communicate with doctors and therapists, have a strong support system, make healthy lifestyle choices, and stick to your treatment plan.
 

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