Bipolar Disorder Symptoms and Causes 2

Among many neurological diseases, “bipolar disorder” is one that it’s taking its toll.
Bipolar disorder is also called "Manic Depressive Disorder" and it is a serious mental illness which should be addressed thoroughly from the beginning. It generally occurs during a person's late teenage or early adult years. Some people may develop the symptoms during childhood but these symptoms can be easily mistaken as separate problems rather than a part of a larger problem. Like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is also a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout a person's life.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder patients might experience state of intense emotion which occurs in distinct periods called "mood episodes". Suddenly they will be overly joyful or over-excited and at the very next moment there can be an attack of utter depression and frustration. The state of over-excitement is called as "manic episode" and the state of depression is called "depressive episode". There can also be a "mixed state" which is a combination of both. Each state can continue for several weeks and the patients might also be explosive or irritable during this period. The mood swings in people with BD can be associated with hyper-activity, extreme change in sleeping habit and behavior. Sometimes the symptoms of BD are so severe that the person cannot function normally at work, school or home, which can result into damaged relationship, poor job or school performance.

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

The cause of Bipolar Disorder is not yet confirmedly established. Although researchers say that the children with a parent or sibling, who has bipolar disorder are four to six times more likely to develop the illness, compared with children who do not have a family history of bipolar disorder. However, it is not yet confirmed that most children with a family history of bipolar disorder will develop the illness. Studies of identical twins have shown that the twin of a person with bipolar illness does not always develop the disorder. This is important because identical twins share all of the same genes. The study results suggest that besides genes environmental factors are also at work.

Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder

To have a proper diagnosis of bipolar disorder, people with such symptoms should talk to a doctor/psychiatrist as soon as he/she experiences it. The doctor may conduct a physical examination or mental health evaluation, lab test or an interview. Till date there is no confirmatory test (like, blood test or brain scan) for BD, but the examinations mentioned above can rule out other contributing factors such as stroke or brain tumor.

Difficulties in Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis

Often with BD, some other illnesses co-exist which can be severe at times.

* Most common is "Substance Abuse". Patients of BD sometimes try to treat themselves with alcohol or drug. However, substance abuse actually may trigger or prolong the symptoms of BD instead of curing it which can result into the person drinking too much.

* Anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social phobia, also exist simultaneously among people with bipolar disorder.

* BD patients also have higher risk of thyroid disease, migraine headaches, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other physical illnesses. These diseases may cause symptoms of mania or depression. They may also result from treatment for bipolar disorder.

All these diseases can make the diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder very difficult.

Bipolar disorder usually lasts a lifetime. Episodes of mania and depression can relapse over time. Between episodes, many people with bipolar disorder are free of symptoms, but some people may have lingering symptoms. Proper diagnosis and treatment helps people with bipolar disorder lead healthy and productive lives. In most cases, treatment can help reduce the frequency and severity of episodes.

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