Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
For individuals with bipolar disorder, the ups and downs we all experience in life are much more extreme. For someone experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder, they are plagued by mood swings that cycle through manic and depressive episodes. During these manic episodes, these individuals feel euphoric, experiencing an overexcited and usually unrealistic optimism toward situations and life. They may also have elevated levels of energy and sexual desires, less need for sleep, and engage in excessive talking and improper social behaviors.
They also have an impulsivity which could lead to trouble (like spending a life’s savings on a business gamble) or possible physical harm to oneself or another individual (like speeding in a vehicle and crashing). Some individuals with severe symptoms of bipolar disorder may even experience hallucinations and hear things that aren’t there.
The depressive episodes are the opposite extreme, leaving those individuals feeling devoid of energy, lonely, and sad. They may have overwhelming guilt and anxiety from their impulsivities, especially if they got into trouble. They may feel worthless, unmotivated, fatigued, and possibly suicidal.
What are the causes of bipolar disorder? While researchers cannot pinpoint an exact cause, it is likely a combination of genetic, biological, and environmental factors. The biological factor (such as high levels or norepinephrine, low levels of serotonin, and high levels of the neurotransmitter glutamate) may lay the foundations for the disorder to initiate, either spontaneously, or by outside influences.
Genetics seem to be a major clue in determining what causes bipolar disorder; individuals with one or more parents who suffer from bipolar disorder have an increased chance of developing the disorder, as well as individuals with a twin, identical or not. Environmental factors, such as life’s stressful events or difficult childhoods, can trigger symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Treatment for bipolar disorder can be difficult and long term. A mixture of psychotherapy and bipolar medications, such as Lithium, are usually the most successful for individuals to maintain control of their symptoms.
For those who desire more natural bipolar remedies, maintaining a healthy diet with the proper levels of nutrients, combined with regular exercise can help sustain the good health of your brain and body. Also, practicing some form of meditation can assist in developing coping skills for stress. Whatever treatment for bipolar disorder an individual desires, it is important they stay committed to prolonged treatment for a more successful life.