Have You Ever Heard of Bipolar Disorder? The Psychological Trauma of Bipolar Disorder

Are you sometimes so restless that it seems you are high on energy or hyperactive, then you wake up the next day and suddenly your mood is so low you don’t feel as happy as before? Do you sleep less at night and catch up on sleep during the day, or is your sleep pattern so awkward that you think you are turning into an insomniac? How is your concentration? Can you stay fixed on a subject long enough to remember, or do your thoughts race from one thing: conversation, movie, book, and imagination so fast that it could compare to the speed of light.

Well, if your answer to these questions is yes, you just may probably be suffering from bipolar depressive disorder. This is a mental disease that commonly presents symptoms in the late teens and early 20’s. It is a mood disorder where there are unusual mood changes between extreme elation or happiness and severe depression. A bipolar person can experience altering moods in seconds, minutes, hours, or days. This usually is a cycle, and the person will find himself in much psychological distress because he or she would hardly understand why his moods and emotions are at different extremes of highs and lows.

Similar to other mental illnesses, bipolar disorder cannot be identified physiologically. What that means is that there are no tests that can pinpoint the disorder. Diagnosis is made through symptoms, course of illness, and family history. In the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM – IV) adopted by the American Association of Psychiatrist, the essential feature of bipolar affective disorder is the occurrence of at least one episode of mania – usually but not necessarily – accompanied by at least one depressive episode. Thus, any previously well person suffering from a first episode of mania (or hypomania), would be classed as suffering from this disorder. If a previously well person suffered from one or more depressive episodes, he or she is not classed thus till an episode of mania occurs.

Symptoms of depression include loss of interest in daily activities, sleeping too much or inability to sleep, inability to concentrate, loss of interest in studies, anxiety, thoughts of death and suicide, confusion, seclusion, irritable mood, and fatigue.

On the other hand, symptoms of mania include euphoric mood, racing thoughts, restlessness, increased energy, and others. Hypomania is a mood state characterized by persistent and pervasive elevated or irritable mood. In some cases, people experience hyper-sexuality with extreme increased sexual urge or activity. Someone in this state craves sexual pleasure, and in some cases may do this through unconventional means. (Homosexuality and sadomasochism are not uncommon).

Your sexual urge is on hyper-drive, but you are not expected to live a risky sex life. Try to bring your urge under control and seek healthy relationships, and it would help if you told your partner about your condition to bring about an understanding of your needs.

Anyone with bipolar depressive disorder necessarily needs counseling and care; and the condition can be managed successfully, but that person must see a doctor, be diagnosed and from then on take control his or her life.

Can You Cure Your Depression Just by Eating the Right Food?

Is depression caused by environment, genetics, existing mental health issues or biological factors? Currently, biochemists are making the connection between hormones, diet, physiological well-being and depression.

Our brain generates and stores our emotions. One part of the brain called the hippocampus is responsible for storing unemotional facts, such as where you live and your social security number. Another part of the brain called the hypothalamus is the commander of your hormonal communications and it decides what gland should release what hormones, at what level and at what particular time.

The central processing unit for your emotions and will power operate in concert with the hypothalamus if you were in say, a heated argument. Your physical reaction stems from the hormones produced in the hypothalamus and your body will react to this emotional stress by raising your heart rate, inducing sweating and raising your blood pressure.

The range of emotions we are capable of producing are vast, but the hormones controlling them are not. There are two primary hormones called eicosanoids and cytokines that our brains produce to deal with a variety of emotional situations.

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil helps control both hormones, giving you the ability to deal with your emotions more efficiently.

Depressed individuals also have depressed immune systems as do chronic stress patients. Laughter has been shown to reduce inflammation and boost the immune system. The saying “laughter is the best medicine” may not be the simple feel good saying we thought; it may hold actual medical value.

There is a connection between the brain and the body and it is hard not to notice the ease at which patterns can develop that can keep a person in a depressed state. Without breaking these chain reactions through diet or medication it can be seriously difficult to think your way out of depression.

There are new and exciting discoveries to give people suffering with depression the chance to improve without prescription medications and the side effects. Our brains do a good job making hormones to deal with stress, but too much of those hormones leads to inflammation which leads to sickness and so on.

Diet, exercise, supplements and stress management are the promising keys to breaking this puzzle wide open. Supplementing your diet with high doses of fish oil lowers the levels of the inflammatory hormones, which can aid your depression and overall health. Fish oil can also help increase serotonin, which is “the happy hormone.”

The depression cycle will also make the brain tell you to eat all the wrong things for a few quick moments of happiness. Keep your insulin levels stable by not eating sugary foods, but instead eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains. If you submit to these cravings you start the vicious cycle all over again.

Finding the right foods and supplements to stop these cycles and give depression sufferers the chance to feel good again is a worthwhile pursuit.

Fighting these natural reactions with synthetic drugs may work in the short term but the chance to change the cycles of your brain and body naturally can be a long term fix that can lead to a longer, healthier life.

Bipolar Disorder – After the Diagnosis

Now that you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, what is the next step? Well, by now, you should have been told the importance of the medication prescribed and why you must use it as well as visit your health care professional regularly. But it would be of much help for you to understand what the disorder is all about as that knowledge will enable you cope and manage your life effectively.

You should understand that what you know about bipolar disorder will help you; your relationships and your doctor ensure a stable and comfortable life for you. Lest to say, the more you know, the more you will be able to handle the complications associated with bipolar disorder, and the truth is: life with it can be very complex. It can totally devastate your life if you are afflicted with it.

Your relationships will definitely be affected as friends and loved ones will have to come to terms with your condition. You might not be able to control the highs and lows, but they can be managed; and you will be pleased to know that life doesn’t have to be so difficult for you, your friends, and loved ones.

The first step to managing bipolar disorder is to accept that you have it, and try to live your life around it. The stigma that is associated with mental disorders isn’t as high as it used to be; more and more people are speaking about having one form of disorder or the other. You certainly are not alone – but must come to a point where you stop your denials of your state, remove the doubts, and submit yourself to treatment.

You should have an understanding of words like manic episodes, hypomanic episodes, cyclothymanic disorder, rapid – cycling bipolar disorder, all related to this condition. They may all sound strange and unfamiliar; no one will go about telling people: “I don’t feel well today, I think I am having a cyclothymanic episode.” would they? Whatever knowledge you gain about bipolar disorder will ultimately help you regain control of your life.

Bipolar disorder normally comes in cycles – and by now you may have a little sense of the pattern your cycles follow. Patterns in some cases follow a hypomanic episode – manic episode – depressive episode, moving on to a normal mood state. Someone having an hypomanic episode usually doesn’t seek treatment because this is a state of good feeling (high), but unfortunately, it doesn’t last as depression often follows. This is characteristic of bipolar I disorder

Bipolar II disorder, on the other hand, doesn’t normally result in mania. In this condition the depression can last for a long time, sometimes months.

Recovery from depression is up to the person: you simply must desire to recover. Bipolar disorder has the highest successful suicide rate and attempted suicide rate amongst mental disorders.

Someone going through successive moods of highs and lows can find this disturbing and a strain on his or her psychological fitness.

However, it can be managed and managed well. The greatest help will come from taking the medication as prescribed. If you forget your medication, it might help to set a timer or reminder on your computer.

Keep side effects at bay by talking to your doctor. Ask about ways to control side effects as the medication can make you sleepy or jittery. Most people with bipolar disorder need extra sleep – 8 to 10 or even 12 hours a day.

You can live a successful life even with bipolar disorder; you can regain control. It’s in your hands.