Mood changes are part of everyday life for us all. This state of being is also referred to as bipolar disorder, a disorder associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs.
If you have bipolar disorder, you are likely to experience extreme swings, from low mood (depression) to periods of overactive behavior (mania) – usually with more ‘normal’ phases in-between. This however could be disturbing for people around you.
It is thought that around one in a hundred of us are affected by bipolar disorder. Even so, it is often misunderstood as a mental health problem. This can result in stigma and discrimination, which might make it harder for people to speak openly about what they are going through, as well as seek for help.
What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic depression) is a severe mood disorder. Individuals experience low moods, which might be characterized by depression, feelings of hopelessness, a lack of energy and social withdrawal. At other times, high, manic moods can bring confidence, energy and optimism, as well as a loss of inhibition.
Bipolar disorder can have a significant impact on someone’s life, but it’s important to note that many people who live with it lead productive, creative lives.
Scientists are studying the possible causes of bipolar disorder. Most scientists agree that there is no single cause. Rather, many factors likely act together to produce the illness or increase risk such as Genetics in the family and Brain structure and functioning during child growth connecting between brain regions are important for shaping and coordinating functions such as forming memories, learning, and emotions.
The stigma around bipolar disorder
You never know how someone will react when you declare a mental health problem – especially at my level of management. There’s still that huge misconception that people with complex mental health problems don’t work or are incapable of doing a job that is stressful, mentally challenging or requires to work outside the standard working hours.
Is bipolar a disability?
Mental health problems are common, but nearly nine in ten people who experience them say they face stigma and discrimination as a result.
This stigma and discrimination can be one of the hardest parts of the overall experience because it might mean losing friendships, isolation, exclusion from activities, difficulties in getting and keeping a job, not finding help and a slower recovery.
Equally, stigma can cause us to shy away from the people around us who might need our support. It doesn’t have to be this way.
How Is Bipolar Treated?
Once you have undergone diagnosis your doctor will decide on a treatment program that works best for you. It may include: medication, psychotherapy, substance abuse treatment and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) a procedure in which electric currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure, causing changes in the brain chemistry that can quickly reverse symptoms of certain mental illnesses.
Treatment is usually managed by a licensed psychiatrist, but you may also have a social worker, psychologist, or psychiatric nurse involved in the treatment process.
Treatment for bipolar must be ongoing. When people stop taking their medication or meeting with their doctor, they will likely experience manic and depressive episodes again. However, with the proper treatment, bipolar disorder can be controlled and a person can go on to lead a healthy and productive life.[related_posts]
How can you help?
The aim of the article is to encourage us all to be more equipped about our and others mental health, find out if you have any signs of suffering from bipolar disorder, carryout mental health evaluation on family members, and to start conversations with those who might need our support.
Why not find out how you could start a conversation about mental health?
This article was written by Shadrine Taremwa