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Bipolar disorder is a mental illness. Its other name is manic depression. The disease manifests itself in sharp and strong fluctuations in mood, energy level. The uplift is quickly replaced by a breakdown and extreme depression. Symptoms are severe enough and distinctly different from normal mood swings.
Cycles can last for weeks or even months, and mood swings are so powerful that they make it impossible to lead a normal life. Under the influence of an impulse in a manic stage, a person can unexpectedly quit his job, take an unnecessary large loan, or fully relax after a couple of hours of sleep.
But during the depressive period, extreme fatigue is noted, which does not allow getting out of bed, self-hatred, a feeling of hopelessness. This makes the disease mysterious, giving rise to a series of myths around it.
Myths about bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder is incurable; people with it will never be able to live fully. There are many examples of people with bipolar disorder having successful careers, getting married, building relationships with others and enjoying life. Bipolar disorder complicates the situation, but choosing the right treatment, developing healthy skills and abilities will help you cope with difficulties. Social connections are also important to provide support in difficult times. You can manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder by making sure you live a fulfilling life.
People with bipolar disorder are constantly changing from one extreme to the other - mania gives way to depression. Some people do have distinct phases of depression and manic behavior. But most often the depression phase prevails, it is longer in time. And manic traits in behavior sometimes appear so insignificantly that this phase may go unnoticed. Sometimes a person can go through periods of prolonged calm, when there are no symptoms at all.
Bipolar disorder only affects a person's mood. This disease has a direct impact on energy levels, judgment, memory, ability to concentrate, appetite, sexual desire, self-esteem, sleep patterns. Bipolar disorder causes anxiety, increased anxiety. Because of this, dependence on certain drugs can develop, and not always drugs. The disorder can be accompanied by diseases such as migraine, diabetes, problems with the cardiovascular system, high blood pressure.
Bipolar disorder can only be cured with medication. Medication is indeed the primary tool in the fight against bipolar disorder. However, talking therapy and the self-help mindset also play an important role. The person learns to control the symptoms that appear. This can include exercising, maintaining good sleep, and eating a balanced diet. The patient learns to monitor his mood, avoiding stress and surrounding himself with people who are able to support in difficult times. And it can take years to find the right combination of drugs that work. It is not yet known what the side effects will be.
People with bipolar disorder can change their mood multiple times over several hours. People who experience dramatic mood swings for several hours are diagnosed with bipolar disorder. However, in the case of this disease, symptoms and mood last for several days. This is much more serious than just a change of mood. Bipolar disorder directly affects a person's functional ability. And the cycles themselves come 2-4 times a year.
People in the manic stage experience happiness due to the surge of energy. In such episodes, people, on the contrary, become irritable and aggressive, it is easy to make them angry. Excessive energy does not allow you to sleep, makes you quickly move from meter to place. You can even talk about hyperactivity. It even comes to the point that people have mental problems - they begin to eat everything, hear someone's invisible voices.
Bipolar disorder is easy to diagnose. Erroneous diagnoses in this case are often made. Sometimes patients turn to doctors, already roughly representing their diagnosis. But it can take months and extensive testing to confirm it. And even then this is only the tip of the iceberg.
A quick test can help diagnose bipolar disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health says bipolar disorder spreads in the family. So if there is already a relative with this disease, then the chances of getting it are about 10%. There are no other criteria, let alone quick ones, for detecting bipolar disorder. Scientists are only trying to detect genetic mutations associated with the disorder in saliva samples. But this is a difficult and rare test that has not yet become widespread.
People with bipolar disorder are mentally unstable. During a manic episode, people with bipolar disorder exhibit shortsightedness and strange behavior. Man feels himself to be the conqueror of the world, acting recklessly. A feeling of hopelessness comes into the depressive interval, forcing one to think about suicide. However, the patients themselves note that there are periods with less symptoms. Then there is a normal mood, completely neutral and not associated with depression.
People with bipolar personality disorder are geniuses. In movies and shows, you can find characters that bipolar disorder makes geniuses. However, not every person with this disorder has an exorbitant level of intelligence. Those with higher IQs and those with lower than average IQs have roughly the same chance of being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Such data are provided by the journal "Molecular Psychiatry".
Bipolar disorder characterizes serial killers and maniacs. This disease is not a "stamp" of maniacs and serial killers. These criminals usually have antisocial personality disorder or psychopathy. Studies have shown that bipolar disorder is extremely rare in this category of maniacs.
There is only one type of bipolar disorder. Experts distinguish two types of bipolar disorder, and there is also cyclothymia, bipolar disorder with frequent phase changes. Sometimes the presence of mania is noted, and in other cases - hypomania, less severe in its manifestations. The first type of disorder requires at least one manic episode, but without the onset of depression. The second type is diagnosed when a person has had prolonged depression and at least one episode of hypomania.
Bipolar disorder is a rare condition. This disease is not so rare. It's just that he's rarely diagnosed. In advanced countries, the disorder can occur in 2-4% of the population. For the United States, this is 5.7 million people. So the problem cannot be hushed up and ignored.
Children are not affected by bipolar disorder. Symptoms of the disease can be noted from the age of six. Complications can even lead to suicide attempts.
Bipolar disorder is relatively new. The German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin officially described the disease more than a hundred years ago. He called it manic-depressive psychosis. And for the first time this disorder was mentioned in the III century. Then it was believed that it is caused by bad blood, and the disease itself was called black bile. In the 19th century, the disorder was called a double form of insanity or circular insanity. It is known that it was present in many famous historical figures, in whose work and biography traces of the disease can be found.