Bipolar disorder ( bipolar affective disorder, manic depressive disorder) is characterized by marked mood swings between mania (mood elevation) and bipolar depression that cause significant personal distress or social dysfunction, and are not caused by drugs or known physical disorders.
This disorder, formerly called manic depression, causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities.
When your mood shifts in the other direction, you may feel euphoric and full of energy. Mood shifts may occur only a few times a year or as often as several times a week.
Mania, a syndrome which is in some ways the reverse of depression, occurs as part of bipolar disorder. The term bipolar disorder implies episodes of both mania and depressive disorder, but the diagnostic category also includes those who, at the time of diagnosis, have suffered
only manic illnesses (most patients with mania eventually develop a depressive disorder). When manic symptoms occur without significant psychosocial impairment,
the syndrome is called hypomania.
The features of mania are;
- elevated mood,
- and poor judgement.
Mania is considerably less common than depressive disorder; it is important that mania is recognized in its early stages because in the later stages the patient becomes increasingly unwilling to accept treatment. Long-term maintenance drug treatment to prevent relapse should be considered in the management of patients with recurrent bipolar illnesses.
Diagnosis Criteria for bipolar disorder:
- Diagnostic criteria for bipolar and related disorders are based on the specific type of disorder:
- Bipolar I disorder: You’ve had at least one manic episode. The manic episode may be preceded by or followed by hypomanic or major depressive episodes. Mania symptoms cause significant impairment in your life and may require hospitalization or trigger a break from reality (psychosis).
- Bipolar II disorder: You’ve had at least one major depressive episode lasting at least two weeks and at least one hypomanic episode lasting at least four days, but you’ve never had a manic episode. Major depressive episodes or the unpredictable changes in mood and behavior can cause distress or difficulty in areas of your life.
- Cyclothymic disorder: You’ve had at least two years — or one year in children and teenagers — of numerous periods of hypomania symptoms (less severe than a hypomanic episode) and periods of depressive symptoms (less severe than a major depressive episode). During that time, symptoms occur at least half the time and never go away for more than two months. Symptoms cause significant distress in important areas of your life.
Criteria for a manic or hypomanic episode:
- The DSM-5 has specific criteria for the diagnosis of manic and hypomanic episodes:
- A manic episode is a distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive or irritable mood that lasts at least one week (or less than a week if hospitalization is necessary). The episode includes persistently increased goal-directed activity or energy.
- A hypomanic episode is a distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive or irritable mood that lasts at least four consecutive days.
Criteria for a major depressive episode:
- The DSM-5 also lists criteria for diagnosis of a major depressive episode:
- Five or more of the symptoms below over a two-week period that represent a change from previous mood and functioning. At least one of the symptoms is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure.
- Symptoms can be based on your own feelings or on the observations of someone else.
- The exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, but several factors may be involved, such as:
- Biological differences. People with bipolar disorder appear to have physical changes in their brains. The significance of these changes is still uncertain but may eventually help pinpoint causes.
- Neurotransmitters. An imbalance in naturally occurring brain chemicals called neurotransmitters seems to play a significant role in bipolar disorder and other mood disorders.
- Inherited traits. Bipolar disorder is more common in people who have a first-degree relative, such as a sibling or parent, with the condition. Researchers are trying to find genes that may be involved in causing bipolar disorder.
- Factors that may increase the risk of developing bipolar disorder or act as a trigger for the first episode include:
- Having a first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, with bipolar disorder
- Periods of high stress
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Major life changes, such as the death of a loved one or other traumatic experiences
Conditions that commonly occur with bipolar disorder:
Such conditions need to be diagnosed and treated because they may worsen existing bipolar disorder or make treatment less successful. They include:
- Anxiety disorders: Examples include social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Some people with PTSD, a trauma- and stressor-related disorder, also have bipolar disorder.
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): ADHD has symptoms that overlap with bipolar disorder. For this reason, bipolar disorder can be difficult to differentiate from ADHD. Sometimes one is mistaken for the other. In some cases, a person may be diagnosed with both conditions.
- Addiction or substance abuse: Many people with bipolar disorder also have alcohol, tobacco or drug problems. Drugs or alcohol may seem to ease symptoms, but they can actually trigger, prolong or worsen depression or mania.
- Physical health problems: People diagnosed with bipolar disorder are more likely to have certain other health problems, such as heart disease, thyroid problems or obesity.
- Left untreated, bipolar disorder can result in serious problems that affect every area of your life. These may include:
- Problems related to drug and alcohol use
- Suicide or suicide attempts
- Legal problems
- Financial problems
- Relationship troubles
- Isolation and loneliness
- Poor work or school performance
- Frequent absences from work or school
Homeopathic remedies for Bipolar Disorder during phases of depression with suicidal thoughts:
Aurum Metallicum is an excellent Homeopathic medicine for treating those cases of depression in Bipolar Disorder where suicidal thoughts predominate and the patient feels hopeless and worthless and has persistent suicidal thoughts.
Natrum Sulphuricum is another Homeopathic remedy of great help for a patient in whom suicidal thoughts are marked and he or she has to apply much self-control to stop themselves from actually committing suicide. Another symptom that calls for the use of Homeopathic medicine Natrum Sulphuricum is gloominess.
When the patient of Bipolar Disorder feels sad even when listening to lively music and has an aversion to talk or be spoken to, Natrum Sulphuricum is a very beneficial Homeopathic remedy.