Bipolar Symptoms

If you want to be supportive of someone with bipolar disease, then it’s time to learn about bipolar symptoms.

Most people usually have mood swings, but for people with bipolar disease, they become so intense that they can impair their ability to function. The main characteristic of this disorder is a cyclical alteration in the frame of mind, with periods of mania, depression and a combination of both.

In bipolar disease, both hypomanic and manic episodes can occur in people with depressive episodes.  Hypomanic periods elate the mood of the person higher than the typical social interactions and activities but don’t reach the level as high as full mania. It has a high level of irritability which separates it from mania and happens for a period of 4 days. It also does not impair the person’s level of functioning. Mania, on the other hand, can interfere with a person’s daily activities. It is an expansive and elevated mood along with Bipolar Disorder Symptoms like ostentation, hyperactivity and failure to recognize reality.

What Happens to a Person with Bipolar Disease?

Serotonin and norepinephrine are two of the neurotransmitters in the body that controls our affect or mood. The levels of neurotransmitters can determine which Bipolar Symptoms will appear. Elevated level of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine on the gaps between neurons (synapse) in the limbic system of the brain results to an unwarranted transmission of neural impulses that can produce the manic episode. As for the depressive episodes, the contributory cause  is the insufficient levels of neurotransmitters that hinder neural transmission.

What are the Risk Factors of having Bipolar Disease?

The specific cause why Bipolar Disease comes about to a normal person is still unknown. Although, there were identified risk factors that people possess which makes them possible candidates of having noticeable Bipolar Symptoms. The main factor is the imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain.

Bipolar Diagnosis makes it evident that this disorder can run from one generation to another. It highly suggests that a person’s genetic make up can put him on a higher risk than others and there are researches about Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis that conform to this theory. The chance of getting the disorder is determined by the degree of the individual’s relationship with a person who has Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. When one of the parents has Bipolar Disease with evident Bipolar Symptoms, the likelihood of any of his children to have the condition is 25% and if two of the parents have the disease, then the children have a 50-70% chance of having the disorder. For monozygotic twins the probability of a twin sibling to have the condition is 70% while for dizygotic twins, the possibility is lessened to 15%.

Exogenic factors can contribute as well to the occurrence of the disorder. The common examples of Exogenic factors are loss of a loved one, faulty family background, traumatic experiences and poverty.

What are the Bipolar Symptoms?

Bipolar Symptoms depend on what episode a patient is suffering from. As said earlier, there are two episodes of this disorder, the manic and the depressive episodes.

Manic periods are indicative of Bipolar Disorder.  It is characterized by elevated moods, euphoria, increased energy, racing thoughts, unrealistic beliefs about one’s abilities. Typically, the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder comprise of pressured speech, societal intrusiveness, flight of ideas (shifting from one topic to another), distractibility, sleeplessness, ostentation, hypersexuality, physical stir and unwarranted participation in gratifying activities without considering its consequences. There is also obvious impairment in social and occupational activities. It can be measured through the Altman Self-Rating Mania Scale and through the Young Mania Rating Scale.

Depressive episodes exhibit a depressive affect or bereavement of concern or pleasure that can last for 2 weeks with an alteration of the person’s level of function. In this period, the patient is using introjection as a form of defense mechanism which is an internalized feeling of hostility that can be self destructive in nature. The accustomed characteristics of this period are sadness, loss of energy, hopelessness, apathy,  guilt,  weight gain, social abandonment, sleeplessness, exhaustion, inappropriate guilt, poor hygiene, poor judgment and difficulty to concentrate. Moreover, there is a decrease in sexual libido, urinary retention, constipation and an increase in suicidal ideations.

What are the Pharmacological Treatments for Bipolar Patients?

The standard pharmacological treatment for Bipolar patients is Lithium. It is a mood stabilizing chemical agent. It’s an oral medication that has a metallic taste and can cause dry mouth and thirst. It should be taken after meals to prevent the person’s loss appetite. During the course of medication, you should also carefully assess for signs of lithium toxicity (See: Toxic shock syndrome) such as nausea, vomiting, anorexia, abdominal cramps, diarrhea and most specifically tremors (late sign). The levels of lithium in the blood should also be monitored, it should be within 0.5-1.5 mEq/L. The management for toxicity is Diamox and Mannitol administration. Anticonvulsants are also given to Bipolar patients such as carbamazepine and valproic acid. In addition, antidepressants are prescribed for this kind of patients like Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil.

Adherence to the prescribed medication of the patient is the key to the management of Bipolar Disease and to prevent the manifestation of Bipolar Symptoms . It will be the responsibility of the individual and his family to put up with this management because the outcome for this sacrifice is momentous –  the patient will be able to function as a normal individual in society.

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