This article is particularly helpful to educators and parents concerned. We all have signs of bipolar disorder varying only in degrees. Learn how to spot this disorder yourself. Read on.
Bipolar disorder is a severe mental disturbance, an affective psychosis characterized by mood swings from elation to depression. Victims are mostly introverts who are emotionally sensitive and get carried away by their emotions, either from habit or in an effort to hide anxiety and shyness. During the manic stage the behavior takes on a very extroverted form like obsession and fanaticism, sometimes colored by religious elements.
The disorder rarely runs in families, but if it does, females are more affected than males. You may be the last one to know that you are suffering from it because everyone has both elated and depressed moods, but in normal cases, this should last only for a few hours, not for days, weeks, months, or years.
There’s nothing wrong with being very happy, but when this glorious feeling shifts to a depressive behavior over time, consider the condition as a red flag. Living with the victim would be an unhappy experience. He is a potent threat to family and society.
One possible cause of bipolar disorder is hormonal imbalance. Two chemicals in the brain (serotonin and norepinephrine) may be responsible for the mood swings. Serotonin in its low level may trigger mood imbalance. An instability of norepinephine directs the mood swing. Low levels are related to depression; high levels are linked to mania. The problem may be traced to external tensions, unconventional attitudes, and abnormal patterns of breeding or upbringing.
Symptoms and Dangers
People in manic or severe cases tend to be hyperactive, from talking too much at high speed to working fast as if they have just begun. It would seem that in an effort to hide something, they do things fast and non-stop because they are confused and disoriented. Picture to yourself a raving maniac and you have an idea of what extreme cases show: hallucinations, delusions, screaming, lashing out obscenities and curses, restless pacing to and fro, vigorous singing, and the like.
A victim of bipolar disorder usually acts in an uncontrollable and unpredictably violent or aggressive way. A severe depressive state alternates with mania. Symptoms are extreme feelings of despair and profound fatigue; also undernourishment because they often lack the time and the will to eat or simply forget to eat— certainly, a glide way to health problems. In many cases the sufferer is emotionless as evidenced by a blank gaze. Suicide may be his only option. Victims generally pose no real danger to others but to themselves.
Treatment and Perspectives
Psychiatric treatment without hospitalization would be a fine idea, but love and understanding tops all treatment. Ensuring the victim that you love taking care of him and treating him as a normal person greatly diminish mania and depression. This is shown by administering the drug yourself and taking care of his food and favorite personal belongings because he is likely to forget these things.
Moods are often treated separately: tricyclic antidepressants for depression; sedatives and tranquilizers for mania. Lithium carbonate is most popularly used to balance the disturbance. An Indian shrub known as Rauwolfia serpentina which contains reserpine reduces the presence of the hormones in the brain that are said to influence mood. Reserpine acts as mood controller but does not cure bipolar disorder. It is said to have caused depression among 15 cases studied. ###