Bipolar disorder is also called bipolar mood disorder, manic-depressive illness, manic depression, bipolar affective disorder and manic-depressive disorder. People with the disorder experience unusual shifting of energy, mood, behavior and the ability to function normally. These mood swings are from high periods of mania to low episodes of depression. The disorder can be either mild or severe and the mood swings can be frequent or infrequent. Depending on the symptoms manifested by the person affected, the disorders can be diagnosed according to its different types such as bipolar disorder 1, bipolar disorder 2, cyclothymic disorder and bipolar disorder not otherwise specified.
# 1 Bipolar Disorder 1
Most people suffering from this type of disorder, sometimes called bipolar 1 disorder, experience both the mania and depression. This type of disorder is distinguished from disorder 2 in terms of the duration and severity of the manic phase, which could last anywhere from weeks to a couple of months.
# 2 Bipolar Disorder 2
People with this type of disorder suffer from periods of severe depression that is occasionally accompanied with episodes of mild mania known as hypomania. No delusions are experienced in bipolar disorder 2 but there is still impaired mental functioning.
# 3 Cyclothymic Disorder
People with cyclothymic disorder experience alternate attacks of mild depression and hypomania. It lasts longer than the disorders 1 and 2 with no break in the manifestation of symptoms but is not as severe.
# 4 Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (NOS)
This type includes those symptoms and features that don't meet any of the categories of bipolar disorder, such as very rapid alternation between depressive symptoms and manic symptoms, recurrent episodes of hypomanic phase without depression, and hypomanic episodes that are associated with chronic depression.
Of all the types of disorders, bipolar 1 disorder is the most severe type. If left untreated, it will possibly have a high rate of recurrence. It has an estimated rate of about 15% death risk by suicide. Also, it is considered as the third leading cause of death among people aged fifteen to twenty-four years old. It tends to run in families and is a lifelong disorder. Aside from being a hereditary disorder, other factors that can cause this type of disorder are certain illnesses such as hyperthyroidism, brain tumor, and multiple sclerosis, and certain environmental factors such as giving birth, stressful life events, sleep deprivation, stimulants, electroconvulsive therapy, antipsychotic medication and antidepressant medication.
Since disorder 1 involves both the manic and depression phases, the symptoms are just the common ones such as unusual happiness and sadness, grandiose delusions, change in eating and sleep patterns, pressured speech and suicidal attempts.
Bipolar 1 Treatments
Most commonly used medications used to control the symptoms of this type of disorder are anti-psychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers. Other medications may also be prescribed to help manage restlessness, anxiety, and insomnia. Psychotherapy is also the treatment of choice in some cases.
Having a bipolar disorder, especially bipolar disorder 1 is something that should not be taken for granted since it can really lead to death due to suicide if left untreated. Prompt treatment should be sought once the symptoms occur.