Mental health authorities guesstimate that no less than 2 million adults have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depression), a chemical imbalance in the brain causing acute mood swings from weird highs to distressing lows. Even though a diagnosis of bipolar disorder can be terrifying and confusing, it is a manageable condition.
If you or your loved ones have been diagnosed with bipolar illness, the first step in easing fear and uncertainty is educating yourself as well as the affected person. The more you know about the disorder, the easier it will be to manage it.
The National Institute of Mental Health (www.nimh.nih.gov), The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (www.nami.org), and The National Mental Health Association (www.nmha.org) are just a few of the renowned national organizations which provides information, facts and support to anyone and everyone who may be directly or indirectly affected by bipolar disorder.
Below are some vital facts about bipolar disorder provided by these organizations that may ease away some of your concerns and questions surrounding a recent diagnosis of this disease.
- Bipolar disorder affects many people: It’s not just you; there are approx 2 million people diagnosed so far.
- Bipolar disorder has several potential causes: There does not appear to be one single cause for bipolar disorder. Evidence indicates that several components may come into play, all of which influence the chemical balance of some parts of the brain. Various studies on the incident of bipolar disorder in families demonstrate a genetic linkage toward the illness. Other factors may comprise awfully traumatic life events, chronic sickness, alcoholism, and drug abuse.
- Bipolar disorder has mixed symptoms: The most prominent symptoms of bipolar disorder are striking mood swings consisting of exceptionally “high” manic episodes to devastating episodes of depression and then back again with fairly normal moods in between. Behaviors during a hyper episode include keen feelings of euphoria, extreme energy, sleeplessness, extreme irritation and distractibility, and increased violent behavior. Depressive episodes bring about extreme feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, guiltiness, and sometimes thoughts of suicide.
- Bipolar disorder can affect anyone at any age: Manic depression is not discriminatory in who it touches. Women and men are similarly affected, as are children and adolescents (even though a diagnosis in children and teens is tricky to determine)
- Bipolar disorder has successful treatment modalities: Bipolar disorder is effectively treated with medications, called mood stabilizers, to help in controlling fluctuation in moods. The vital thing to understand about bipolar disorder is that it is a life-long, persistent illness requiring ongoing care and support.
- Bipolar disorder has no permanent cure: As of today, there is no known permanent cure for bipolar disorder; though, it is a treatable and manageable condition. With proper medication and care, the affected individual can lead a normal life.
These are just a few of the vital facts related to bipolar disorder. It is not a simple illness, yet it is manageable. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, do not shy away from seeking information and help.