“Which of my feelings are real? Which of the me’sis me? The wild, impulsive, chaotic, energetic, and crazy one?Or the shy, withdrawn, desperate, suicidal, doomed, and tired one? Probably a bit of both, hopefully much that is neither.” ― Kay Redfield Jamison.
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness comprising of severe mood swings ranging from euphoric x hyperactive- mania- to low x lethargic- depression. A lower severity level of mania i.e. hypomania is also present which is more common than mania. Bipolar disorder results from chemical imbalances in the brain. The chemicals responsible for controlling the brain’s functions are called neurotransmitters; For example the happy neurotransmitters: Dopamine (reward system) and Serotonin (mood stabilizer). Brain imaging of bipolar individuals have differences in the brain regions that control inhibition and emotion.
There are 4 types in Bipolar disorder:
- Bipolar Type I
- Bipolar Type II
- Cyclothymic Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder Otherwise Not Specified
The differences between these are: 1) intensity of episodes (particular mood statelastingfor hours orfew days is called an episode) and 2) the presence of mania as well as mixed episodes (mixed episode is the presence of depression intertwined with hypomania- together).
Like many other disorders bipolar is different in genders. Men are more likely to get diagnosed in an early age whereas women are more likely to be misdiagnosed. Women are more likely to have bipolar type II and mania is harder to detect in men. Men are less likely to seek out treatment and women’s cycle of moods depends highly on her reproductive system. Not just these technical facts, bipolar is observed differently in genders.
Bipolar Disorder is a serious disease and needs treatment throughout lifetime. According to WHO it is the 6th leading cause of disability. Life expectance of a bipolar individual is reduced by nine to twenty years. Untreated bipolar may result in frequent and intense episodes. 60% of bipolar people attempt suicide at least once in their lifetime. It can be managed through medicine, talk therapy, lifestyle change, having a positive environment and healthy support system.