Bipolar Disorder: The Happiness Sadness Divider

Rakibul Hasan

Bipolar disorder is a psychological disorder that causes unusual shift in mood, energy, activity, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Sometimes it called manic depression; bipolar disorder causes high shifts in mental conditions. People who have this disorder may spend weeks feeling like they’re beyond world before plunging into a deep depression. The length of both high and low varies greatly in persons. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in unexpected conditions in relationships, joblessness or less school performance, and even suicide. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.

In 2000 a study by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that prevalence and incidence of bipolar disorder are very similar globally. Age-standardized prevalence per 100,000 ranged from 421.0 in South Asia to 481.7 in Africa and Europe for men and from 450.3 in Africa and Europe to 491.6 in Oceania in women. Disability adjusted life year rates, for example, appear to be higher in under developing countries, where medical coverage are not enough and medications are less available. Within the United States, Asian Americans have significantly lower rates of it than their African and European American counterparts. Late adolescence and early adulthood are the peak years for the onset of this disorder. One study also found that in 10 percent of bipolar cases, the onset of mania had happened after the patient had turned over 50 or more.

There are two types of bipolar disorder as Bipolar-I & Bipolar-II. People with bipolar-I disorder have manic phases for at least one week. Many also have separate depression phases as well. Patients with bipolar-II have major depression, but instead of full manic episodes. They have low-grade hypomanic swings that are less intense and may persist less than week. They may seem fine, even like the ‘life of the party’ though family and friends notice their mood changes.

A person with bipolar disorder may have intense episodes of depression. There are two types of episodes and those are manic and depressive episode. Symptoms of depressive episode or depression include sadness, anxiety, lacks in energy, hopelessness, and trouble concentrating. They may lose interest in activities that they used to enjoy. It’s also seems that gaining or losing  weight, sleep too much or too little, and even think about suicide.

In the primary manic episode, people feel super-charged and think they can do anything. Their self-esteem soars out of control and it’s hard for them to sit still. They talk more and are easily distracted, they may seem insomnia. It often leads to reckless behavior, such as spending sprees, cheating, fast driving, and drug abuses.

When people with bipolar disorder have depression and mania symptoms at the same time, or very close together, this is called a manic or depressive episode with mixed features.  This can show unpredictable behavior, such as taking risks when feeling hopeless and suicidal tendency but energized and agitated.  Mood episodes involving mixed features are especially in women and in people who develop bipolar disorder at a young age

Doctors don’t know exactly what the causes of bipolar disorder are. Current theories say that the disorder may result from a combination of genetic and physiological as well as influenced by environmental- factors. Scientists think that brain circuits involvedin the regulation of mood, energy, thinking, and biological rhythms may function abnormally in people with bipolar disorder, resulting in the mood and other changes associated with the illness.

Bipolar disorder is widely accepted to be the result of chemical imbalances in the brain. The chemicals responsible for controlling the brain’s functions are called neurotransmitters. If there is an imbalance in the levels of one or more neurotransmitters, a person may develop some symptoms of bipolar disorder. For example, there is evidence episodes of mania may occur when levels of noradrenaline are significantly high, and episodes of depression may be the result of noradrenaline when it islow.

A stressful condition often triggers the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Examples of stressful triggers include the breakdown of a relationship, physical, the death of a close family member or loved one.

Bipolar disorder may also be triggered by physical illness, sleep disturbances and other problems in everyday life, such as problems with money.

There are several types of drugs to treat bipolar disorder. They include mood stabilizers that prevent episodes of ups and downs, as well as antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs. When they aren’t in a manic or depressive phase, people usually take maintenance medications to avoid a relapse.

Counseling might be one of the medications and manage their lives. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on changing thoughts and behaviors when mood swings. Interpersonal therapy aims to deal with the strain bipolar disorder puts on personal relationships.

Another treatment is done while you are asleep under general anesthesia, can rapidly improve mood symptoms of bipolar disorder. It’s one of the fastest ways to ease severe symptoms. ECT is often a safe and effective treatment option for severe mood episodes when medications have not led to meaningful symptom improvement.

Rakibul hasan is a under graduate student at department of pharmacy, east west university, Bangladesh. He can be reached at


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