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Bipolar

Bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) is characterised by severe mood swings that contrast between overactive and excitable to extreme depression. Everyone, from time to time will experience mood swings and changes in behavior. With Bipolar disorder these changes become severe and intolerable and can affect not only the patient but everyone around them.Signs and symptoms

  1. Dramatic mood swings, from very high, to very low. These can happen from hour to hour, day to day or over a period of weeks or months.
  2. Changes in energy from being capable of complete over-exertion without feeling tired or worn out, to having no energy at all and wanting to sleep all the time.
  3. Racing thoughts and talking very fast, jumping from one topic to another without cohesion.
  4. Being easily distracted
  5. Unrealistic belief in the ability to do tasks. Taking on unachievable goals.
  6. Engaging in high-risk behaviors, such as over-spending or impulsive sexual encounters.

Bipolar is divided into four different categories:

Bipolar 1 and 2: With bipolar 1, the patient will primarily experience manic episodes with fewer depressive elements. In bipolar 2, the patient will have the reverse, so more periods of severe depression punctuated with only a few short episodes of hypomania.

Cycolthymic: This is where the patient will have short periods of both hyper behavior and depression that come at regular, recognised intervals that can be easier to spot and control.

Rapid Cycling: A condition in which the patient will experience four or more episodes of either depression or mania during the course of a calendar year which are indeterminate in length. Sometimes they can be seasonal.

Mixed States: This is characterised by periods of depression and mania which come at the same time.

 

Treatment

A combination of drug and talking therapy is considered the norm. Medications such as Lithium or anti-convulsant drugs like Depakote are sometimes given, though this is dependent on each individual case.

In severe cases, hospital inpatient treatment may be given to help stabilise and normalise behaviors, but for many outpatient treatment with regular psychiatry appointments and monitoring of symptoms is all that is required.

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