Thursday, December 10, 2015

Bipolar disorder

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder, is a type of brain disorder, characterized by severe mood swings. It was formerly termed as manic depression. It is a type of mental illness wherein the affected individuals experience different manic episodes portrayed by high and low mood levels.

What causes bipolar disorder?

The exact cause of bipolar disorder still remains a mystery. However, several factors that are known to increase the risk of developing this mental illness include the following:
·         Structural changes in the brain: It is found that, individuals with bipolar disorder have certain physical changes in the brain, that causes extreme mood swings.
·    Genetic: Bipolar disorder is thought to run in families and individuals with a first degree relative are known to fall easy prey to the condition.
·         Imbalance in brain chemicals: An imbalance in brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters plays a vital role in the development of bipolar disorder.

What are the different types of bipolar disorder?

There are 4 different types of bipolar disorder, namely:
  1. Bipolar I disorder
  2. Bipolar II disorder
  3. Cyclothymic disorder
  4. Bipolar disorder not otherwise specified

How does bipolar disorder spreads?

Bipolar disorder is not a contagious disease and therefore does not spread from one person to another.

What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?

Symptoms of bipolar disorder can be broadly categorized under 2 categories based on the mood swings:
Symptoms of manic episode include:
  •  Extremely happy mood
  • Severe irritability
  • Fast speech
  • Restlessness
  • Impulsive behaviour
  • Hyperactive behaviour
  • Too little sleep

Symptoms of depressive episode include:
  • Prolonged period of sadness and low mood levels
  • Lack of interest in social activities, gatherings and meeting friends
  • Tiredness
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Suicidal attempt
  • Difficulty in concentration and decision making power is impaired
  • Problems in thinking
  • Drastic change in eating and sleeping pattern

What is the treatment of bipolar disorder?

It is not possible to cure bipolar disorder; however, with an appropriate treatment regime, the condition can be effectively managed. The various methods used for treating bipolar disorder include the following:
  • Medications: Various medications such as mood stabilizers, antidepressants, anti – anxiety medications, antipsychotics, and a combination of antidepressant and antipsychotic are recommended depending on the condition of the individual.
  • Psychotherapy: Individuals suffering from bipolar disorder are often given psychotherapy treatment along with medications. Some of the components of psychotherapy treatment include cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal and social rhythm therapy, family – focused therapy and psychoeducation.

In addition to the above mentioned treatment methods, individuals with bipolar disorder are also given electroconvulsive treatment if the situation demands. They may also require sleep medications and herbal supplements.

How can bipolar disorder be prevented?

It is almost impossible to prevent bipolar disorder. However, paying close attention to the early signs and symptoms and noticing development of any unusual behavioral pattern can help in slowing down the progression of the disease.

Diet and lifestyle changes in bipolar disorder?

The following lifestyle and dietary changes are recommended for individuals with bipolar disorder.
  • Getting regular sleep is essential.
  • Avoiding alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs are a must.
  • Exercising regularly and staying active can help improve your mood levels. Exercising helps release “happy hormones: which eventually enlightens the mood and brings down the anxiety and depression levels.

What is Ayurvedic treatment of bipolar disorder?

The various herbs that are used for treatment of bipolar disorder include ashwagandha, shankapushpi, ginseng, shatavari, kappikachu, jyotishmati, skull cap, nutmeg, oat straw, ginkgo, jatamamsi, gotu kola, valerian root and St. John’s wort.

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