Bipolar Mood Disorder: What Is It?

There are different types of psychological problems and bipolar mood disorder is one of the more common conditions.

The disorder was referred to as manic depression several years ago. Today, it is still used synonymously by psychiatrists and other individuals in the mental health sector. Bipolar mood disorder can happen in different ways and the extent can differ among individuals. Overall, it can be controlled or if not, the person will experience difficulty coping with the regular demands and challenges of daily living. Here is an overview.

About Bipolar Mood Disorder

Bipolar mood disorder or BD is a type of personality problem characterized by feelings of either mania or extreme euphoria and depression or extreme sadness.

Even though normal individuals regularly experience these ups and downs in mood, those with the psychological condition will go through the feelings in extreme ways. During moments of depression, the affected person will feel very sad, characterized by extreme emotions of hopelessness, worthless and helplessness. These feelings can escalate to the point of contemplating suicide.

On the other hand, the person will also experience extreme feelings of happiness. The emotion will be characterized by hyperactivity, grandiose feelings and creativity. The condition is called as such because affected individuals will shift between these two extreme states alternatively. There is also a mixed state wherein both happy and sad feelings happen at the same time, although it is not very common.

When Bipolar Mood Disorder Happens

Bipolar mood disorder does not actually happen immediately or the shift between the two extreme feelings does not happen in a matter of minutes or hours.

Mood changes will appear in cycles, usually lasting for weeks or months. Between the mood changes, individuals actually appear and perform just like any average individual. They can have a stable job, start their own family and create meaningful relationships with others.

Once either of the two states set in, the person will start to exhibit feelings of euphoria or depression. This can last several days or weeks then the person will go through the normal state again before shifting to the opposite pole. The mood swings will be closer as the person grows older. Sometimes, the cycle will be completed in just two months or less.

Expectations from Bipolar Mood Disorder

Individuals with bipolar mood disorder will display a variety of traits and characteristics that are connected to their emotions of sadness or happiness. Over time, the mood swings can take a toll on family life, relationships, occupation and normal activities of daily living.

People who are clinically depressed will not be inclined to work or is easily irritated. They might also isolate themselves from others and frequently feel unimportant or worthless. As a result, they can lose their job, friends and other opportunities. Marital problems can set in once this happens since the person is no longer capable of performing duties in the family.

During the manic episode, the person will also experience disturbances in his performance because of his grandiose and overly creative feelings. He might be disruptive in the workplace or the home.

People will see him as uncontrollable and unable to focus and concentrate on particular requirements and details. Over time, individuals with bipolar mood disorder will need to resign from work or contain themselves in the house to avoid ruining relationships. Depression or mania in the extreme sense can lead to suicidal feelings, acts of homicide, aggressive behavior and dangerous acts towards the patient and the people around him.

Beginning of Bipolar Mood Disorder

Majority of individuals with bipolar mood disorder will start showing the symptoms and signs during the end of their teenage years. On the average, affected individuals will start to exhibit unusual traits at 21 years old. There are also others who exhibit the characteristics at an earlier or later stge. Some people are already diagnosed with bipolar mood disorder before they reach 10 years old, while others are only diagnosed when they are 40 years old. Late onset will usually manifest clearer symptoms and the cycles and patterns will be closer to each other.

Both men and women can develop bipolar mood disorder. Over 5 million people in the United States alone are diagnosed with the condition. There seems to be no correlation between the ethnicity of a person and his risk for developing the disorder. Proper and early diagnosis of the condition will greatly help in providing the proper solutions and coping mechanisms that will allow the person to live a normal life. The mental condition is actually treatable, so providing the proper methods and approaches early on will lead to a good prognosis.

Causes of Bipolar Mood Disorder

The true cause of bipolar mood disorder is not fully identified. However, psychologists and psychiatrists have created a number of theories and principles that explain how individuals can develop the behavioral problem. First, patients with the disorder show chemical imbalances in the brain. Neurotransmitters are responsible for the different moods of people.

If there are imbalances in the levels of serotonin, dopamine or norepinephrine, the person will display a variety of traits and mood tendencies. Having low serotonin and norepinephrine levels will lead to depressed feelings, while the opposite will trigger manic feelings.

Bipolar mood disorder is also shown to have genetic tendencies. This means that people can inherit the disorder from their parents or grandparents. The risk is found to be highest among identical twins. Different genetic factors play a role in disease development.

As to the behavioral side of the possible cause, psychiatrists believe that the environment and support system of the individual will mean a lot to his psychological and emotional development. Individuals who experienced trauma, depression or loss at such a young age are found to be most vulnerable to developing the disorder.

The Severity of Bipolar Mood Disorder

Many individuals with bipolar mood disorder actually cope well considering they follow the proper guidelines and recommendations provided by physicians and psychiatrists. There are several therapies and behavioral programs that will let individuals stay aware of their condition so that they can perform the necessary tasks to prevent extreme states. Many people actually live normal lives even with the mood disorder. They can maintain good relationships, become contributive members of the family and society and excel in their work.