Mood swings or changes in mood are a common phenomenal among human beings and at any given time, a person may generally perceive to have either a good mood or a bad mood. While many people may think that this is a normal phenomenal, which would require less attention, extreme cases or rapid and consistent changes in mood may actually result from a mental disorder.
Bipolar disorder as the name suggests, is a mental condition in which a person undergoes extreme and abnormal changes in moods, which can be manifests into two “bi”
manic episodes or depressive episodes. During each of these states, a person experiences an outburst of emotions and the energy levels become lower than normal or higher, and this affects their ability to do normal activities of the day. In Manic episode, also known as “high” the person experiences an increase in energy and they all of a sudden become extremely happy than usual. In Depressive state, “low state” a person has prolonged period of sadness and less energy to do certain things such as going to work or school. In extreme cases, individuals begin to have suicidal thoughts which they cannot control.
There are generally two main causes of Bipolar disorder:
- Genetic Factors- Bipolar has been associated with a defective gene in the human genome, which can be passed on from one family member to another.
- Biological traits- Bipolar may result from alteration in the levels of certain biological substances in the brain or in the body. These include; brain chemicals and neurotransmitters such as dopamine.
- Environmental factors: Certain occurrences in life such as loss of a loved one, stress, physical and emotional abuse or other traumatic events may be a cause of bipolar disorder.
Diagnosis of bipolar disorder does not involve specific classical procedures or assays, but rather it involves a number of behavioral and mood assessment techniques aimed at predicting the mood cycle in an individual.
Physical examinations are done by a physician on the individual, to rule out any underlying cause of the symptoms.
Psychiatric assessment involves asking questions to individuals or telling them to fill up questionnaires, in an attempt to understand their feelings, thoughts, and behaviour.
Mood Assessment, also known as mood charting involves the use of a chart, whereby the individual records their moods and their sleeping behaviour on a daily basis. All these procedures are compared with a standard for bipolar detection recorded in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
Treatment of bipolar disorders involves the use of medications and other techniques that normalize the mood cycle and prevents the patient from developing suicidal thoughts.
Medications- Mood Stabilizers like Lithium (Lithobid) are useful in maintaining a conducive mood for the individuals.
–Antipsychotics- Used to treat the Maniac phase of bipolar. Includes
olanzapine (Zyprexa) and risperidone (Risperdal)
–Antidepressants– Used for the depressive state in the individual with bipolar.
Other therapies- Electroconvulsive therapy and Transcranial magnetic stimulation
The following behaviour change and remedies can be used to prevent bipolar episodes:
- Avoid excessive alcohol and other substances of abuse
- Maintain regular sleep patterns
- Avoid medication whose side effects may lead to maniac or depressive states.
- Take part in recreational activities that may reduce stress
- Eat a well-balanced diet and increase intake of Omega 3 and Vitamin D
- Avoid eating of processed foods