“It’s a disorder NOT a decision.” Bipolar Illness is a health issue that creates imbalanced mood changes with a certain amount of time and strength of each emotion. Some may call the mood changes mood switches or even an episode. This mental disorder can influence the person who may have been diagnosed and whomever cares for that person. It usually starts in children or young adults and can have effects on their mental and physical health, educational/occupational functioning, and interpersonal relationships for the rest of their lives.
Those who are diagnosed with BD usually have mood changes that are portrayed as manic, hypomania and depressive. A manic episode usually goes like this, feeling bad about oneself, little to no sleep, overthinking, and risk-taking activities. A hypomania occurrence may look like enhanced energy, irritability, mood irritation, and some of the same symptoms as mania. A depressive episode may look like lost interests, weight loss/gain, fatigue, worthlessness, lack of focus, and suicidal tendencies. There’re two types of BD one that is called Bipolar Disorder 1 and the other that is Bipolar disorder 2. BD 1 is where there is at least one mania and depressive disorder as BD 2 there is at least one Hypomania and depressive episode. There are certain times that doctors must consider a patient a red flag due to rapid cycling. Rapid cycling is more than four mood changes in less than a year; if a patient is going through rapid cycling then they usually are hospitalized.
To be correctly diagnosed it is smart to go to a primary doctor, psychiatrist, or psychologist. When diagnosed, accurately the doctor may prescribe medications such as a mood stabilizer. A mood stabilizer is a psychiatric medication usually used to help mood shifts found in Bipolar disorder as well as Schizophrenia. On top of the medication one should do physical examinations and lab tests, the reason for this is to make sure one’s immune system is able to handle all the medication. Psychiatric medication can sometimes hurt the immune system. To make sure everything is going well it is a smart idea to ask family members or friends who are around that person how their symptoms are and if anything is good or bad.
The best way to treat BD is by Pharmacological treatment which is a therapy of medications. In addition, to the pharmacological treatment, one will also need maintenance treatment, which is the goal to stop large amounts of mood changes. Some of the medications one may need to take is Lithium, this medication helps reduce suicidal thoughts and is used to not only help bipolar disorder but major depressive disorder. Lithium does require a lot of blood work because it can cause progressive renal insufficiency and thyroid toxicity. Known side effects to Lithium is tremors as well as gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. A more commonly used medication is sodium valproate which is a mood stabilizer. Not only does one need a mood stabilizer but also an antidepressant which treats major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders. In which they both are included with Bipolar Disorder.
Bipolar disorder impacts the persons’ day heavily it can ruin family relationships, intimate relationships, work life, and education. The best thing for someone who suffers BD is peer support. Support groups is a good way to talk and express what that person may be feeling and hear what others may say on how to get help or work on what is going on in their life. If you are a family member who has someone in your life that suffers from BD do not judge them just be there to try and help because the person who goes through the battle also doesn’t understand why they have mood changes and frequently as they do.
There are a ton of challenges a person with BD goes through and one of the main reasons why is because they do not understand why they have what they have. When one goes through a manic episode and does a risk-taking action the next day, they will not understand why they had done that or what really made them do it. If the person is in a depressive episode and they just start crying out of nowhere it may embarrass them because they are not quite sure on why it is happening and what exactly made them cry. When that happens just be sure to be there for that person make sure they know that they do not need to be embarrassed about what happened instead they can be comfortable and understand that no one is judging them for being themselves.
There are many people in this world who suffer from BD but, they keep themselves quiet because when mental health is brought up people decide to run away. Why does mental health make others uncomfortable? Well I believe it is because they may suffer from it and they are surprised when others are so comfortable with sharing what goes on instead of trying to hide it because they don’t want people to see their true selves. If you are someone who has a mental disorder, please speak up and do not ever be afraid of telling people about who you really are instead stand strong and be confident with it !!!
All together bipolar disorder is not a decision it is something one just cannot handle. It is a medical issue that brings several mood changes to a person and can cause a lot of havoc in that persons’ life. As a person who has Bipolar disorder, I want to bring the awareness towards this medical illness and give everyone the information they deserve to understand what BD really is, and BD is not a bad thing instead it can be the most beautiful thing if you let it.
- Esposito, Joseph. Philip G. Janicak. “An update on the diagnosis and treatment of Bipolar Disorder, Part 1: Mania” Psychiatric Treatment. vol.1, no.1 2015, pp 29- 34 https://libcat.sanjac.edu.
- McCormick, Ursula .” Diagnosis and treatment of patients with bipolar disorder: A review for advanced practice nurses” Clinical nurse specialist. vol. 1, no. 1,2015 pp 530-542. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5034840/.