Bipolar disorder means that you have different periods when you are manic and depressed. Between periods, you can often function exactly as usual and are completely symptom-free. Bipolar disorder is a complex illness that can cause extensive mental health problems if left untreated. But by seeking help, the problems can often be alleviated through treatment.
What is bipolar disorder?
The definition of bipolar disorder is that your mood swings sharply between two opposite poles, usually between mania and depression. Often mania and depression come in different periods, but sometimes both occur at the same time, which can cause severe mental problems. Between the periods, you can feel good and have a very functional everyday life.
Bipolar disorder is caused and influenced by heredity and environment. If you have a genetic relative who has the disorder, there is an increased risk that you will also get it because bipolar disorder is often inherited.
The disease can also be triggered by things that happen in life. For example, it could be that you are under a lot of stress or have gone through a difficult event such as a separation of some kind, a relationship that has ended or a death. Even more common changes such as starting a new job, having a child or moving can have an impact. Life and its vicissitudes can affect us all in different ways.
Once you’ve developed bipolar disorder, your periods of illness may be triggered without any clear external cause, although many circumstances affect the illness in the long term.
Many people with mental illness get better and recover over time. It is important to find a balance in your everyday life and to learn to manage your symptoms and problems. For those who suffer from bipolar disorder, it may be important to continue with drug treatment even when you feel well. Very important actually.
Different forms of bipolar disorder
There are different types of bipolar disorder. Bipolar type 1, formerly known as manic-depressive illness, is the most well-known variant of the illness. Which symptoms you have can vary and change over the course of your life. Some who have bipolar disorder have no symptoms at all between periods, while some experience symptoms such as being very close to feelings of low mood and anxiety. There are different treatments for the different ailments.
Bipolar disorder type 1
Means that you have severe depressions and strong manias. Both conditions can lead to you needing hospital care.
In severe depression, thoughts of harming oneself or ending one’s life may arise.
In severe mania, the risk of psychosis increases because you can become so overactive that you have difficulty sleeping. You may also become aggressive and therefore risk harming yourself or others.
Between the various periods of illness, some may be depressed, have anxiety and difficulty sleeping, while some may feel well and live as usual with a working treatment.
Bipolar disorder type 2
Means that you have similar symptoms to bipolar disorder type 1. You have periods of depression that alternate with periods of hypomania, where you have increased energy and a reduced need for sleep. You don’t experience the same strong and intense symptoms of mania as you do with bipolar 1, so it can be harder to detect your illness, although it’s just as important so you can get the right treatment.
Heavy commuting and mixed conditions
Means that you may have one or more periods of mixed states, also called mixed episodes or mixed states. Then you can have several symptoms at the same time and they can vary greatly between conditions during the same day. It can be really stressful to be hyperactive and restless one moment and feel abysmal despair and hopelessness the next.
This is a disease that challenges and demands a lot from both you who have the disease and your loved ones. Be careful, patient and kind but firm.