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Being Bipolar

“Bipolar is like being on a roller coaster ride. Sometimes you can predict drop offs and others you just have to hang on because the next turn sends you into an unexpected spiral.

Sometimes you are laughing and throwing your hands in the air and then other times you are clinging, simply holding on for dear life screaming it at the top of your lungs.”

What is bipolar disorder?

Manic depression, another term used for bipolar disorder, is a kind of mental illness that includes a variety of mood changes ranging from severely high moods and severely low moods as well, these mood changes affect the daily living of an individual in terms of sleep, thought pattern, energy, and behaviour patterns.

Individuals with bipolar disorder have long spans in which they feel extremely overjoyed and energised or other phases of feeling down, slow, sad, sluggish and hopeless.

The time span between these mood changes can feel usually normal. The high and lows of bipolar disorder can be termed as two “poles” of mood, thus the name “bipolar” disorder.

“Mania”, a term that is used to describe the times when an individual with bipolar disorder feels extreme excitement and confidence in themselves. Feelings of irritability, impulsivity or incautious decision making are common. Fifty percent of the population with bipolar disorder also have delusions which are unshakable beliefs or hallucinations which are false feelings relating to sensory organs.

“Hypomania”, used to describe a milder level of symptoms of mania, one does not have delusions and hallucinations when facing the hypomanic state, high symptoms do not interfere with their everyday life.

The term “depressive” aims to describe the occurrence of feeling sad or depressed.

Symptoms are the same as those for major depressive disorder or “clinical depression”, a state without manic or hypomanic episodes.

Most often it is seen that bipolar patients experience depressive symptoms more than mania and hypomania.

Case to understand Bipolar Disorder:

Patient Background:

Mr. A is a 35-year-old male of Indian descent, working as a software engineer in a multinational company. He is married and has two children. Mr. A's family history reveals that his paternal aunt had a history of bipolar disorder. He has no other significant medical or psychiatric history.

Presenting Concern:

Mr. A's wife brings him to the clinic with concerns about his mood swings and erratic behaviour over the past six months. She reports that he experiences intense periods of elevated mood, increased energy, and irritability, followed by extended periods of profound sadness, low energy, and withdrawal. She noticed a decrease in his productivity at work, strained relationships with colleagues, and financial impulsivity during his elevated phases. Mr. A himself acknowledges that these mood fluctuations are causing distress and interfering with his daily functioning.

Manic Episode:

Mr. A describes experiencing manic episodes lasting approximately one to two weeks every few months. During these episodes, he reports feeling euphoric, overly confident, and having racing thoughts. He sleeps very little, yet his energy remains high. He engages in excessive goal-directed activities, such as working late into the night, starting multiple projects simultaneously, and making impulsive decisions, including significant financial investments without thorough consideration. He also exhibits irritability and experiences difficulty concentrating, leading to conflicts at work and strained relationships with his spouse.

Depressive Episode:

Following the manic episodes, Mr. A experiences prolonged depressive episodes lasting several weeks. During these phases, he feels persistently sad, lacks energy, and struggles with feelings of worthlessness and guilt. His motivation diminishes, and he withdraws from social activities and isolates himself from family and friends. Mr. A reports difficulty concentrating, disrupted sleep patterns, and occasional suicidal thoughts.

Assessment and Diagnosis:

The clinical assessment involves a detailed interview with Mr. A to gather information about the frequency, duration, and intensity of mood episodes. The Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) criteria are used to aid the diagnosis. Mr. A's symptoms meet the criteria for bipolar disorder, specifically Bipolar I Disorder, characterised by recurrent episodes of mania and major depressive episodes.

Do we know any famous personalities who have bipolar disorder?

Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez spent most of her life in the spotlight, she is a singer, an actress and a producer, which can be extremely challenging mentally. She has been very open about her anxiety and depression and in 2020 she even revealed her diagnosis of being bipolar.

Sir Issac Newton

Issac Newton is one of the greatest scientists who had invented calculus and gave the world the theory of gravity. The individuals who gave the world the third law of motion “ Every action has an equal and opposite reaction” might have suffered from serious bouts of bipolar coupled with Psychotic tendencies.

Chris Brown

Despite being commercially successful and being a star, Chris struggled with mental health issues and addiction. In 2013, a magazine reported that he was raped as a child at the age of 8 by a local girl who was 14 or 15 at that time. After a few more incidents he was diagnosed with Bipollar II Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Yo Yo Honey Singh

One of the first Indian celebrities with bipolar disorder, to admit it publicly.

This Indian song writer stood up strong and openly told the world that he had bipolar disorder and that it was scary.

With this we understand what bipolar disorder really is and we also understand that people can be diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, so if you feel you know someone and you think you want to help them, contact us at psychoflakes.

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