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What Is Bipolar Disorder

Sometimes happiness and despair are two sides of the same coin. Just as depression pulls people into the abyss, their opposite – mania – can drive them to unprecedented heights. They feel great when they get sick and often experience the crash into depression after some time.

Bipolar Disorder Diagnostics & frequency

It is difficult to say how often bipolar mood disorders occur. There are several reasons. On the one hand, the diagnostic criteria were repeatedly changed, which led to the fact that bipolar disorders are more frequently diagnosed today than previously, and even mild forms of treatment meet the diagnostic criteria.

On the other hand, people tend to seek medical help in a depressive phase and are often diagnosed as unipolar depressive.

It can be assumed that about 4 percent of the population suffers from bipolar affective disorder once or more during their lifetime.

When manic and depressive episodes alternate, it is called bipolar disorder. There are two different forms of bipolar disorder.

  • Bipolar I disorder: It’s When both the depressive and the manic phases are fully developed
  • Bipolar II disorder: it is when the depressive phases are fully developed, but the manic phases only appear to a lesser extent.

Common to all affective disorders is that between the depressive or manic phases are experienced without symptoms for a long time, in which the affected feel relatively good.

How To Detect a Mania

Note: at least three of the following symptoms must be met:

  • Reduced need for sleep
  • Increase regarding activity
  • Increase in speaking time
  • Increased self-esteem or ideas of size
  • Limited judgment
  • Mind race or flight of ideas
  • Psychotic Symptoms

Different Models That Explain Bipolar

Different models try to explain the development of the bipolar disorder. It is quite clear that a disease with such different phases can not be reduced to a simple cause. As with most mental illness, genetic, biological and psychosocial causes work together.

Genetic predisposition seems to be higher in bipolar disorders than in unipolar ones.

A certain predisposition to react to burdens with a rapid destabilization of biological rhythms and thus to get out of hand to a certain extent is inherited.

Another biological explanation of mania could be found in a demonstrable overexcitability of those affected.

Psychological explanatory models seek the cause of bipolar disorder more in the way in which affected people experience and evaluate their everyday lives. There are indications that bipolar personalities, even outside of acute phases of the disease, are somewhat staggering between the extremes.

Another psychological explanatory model assumes that people with bipolar disorder are particularly anxious to fulfill social roles and to meet the expectations of others.

How Medication Helps With Bipolar

Drug therapy plays a central role in bipolar disorders. Apart from antidepressants against the depressive phases, so-called phase prophylactics are often used, for. B. lithium. They help to mitigate extreme mood swings and stabilize biological rhythms.

With medication alone, however, the disease can not cope. Affected individuals can do a lot for their coping with the disease by paying attention to their early warning signs, timely countermeasures and observing fixed rhythms and time structures. And professionals can help those affected to find their center, keeping a safe distance from the extremes of mania and depression.

Helpful Handling

Regulated processes, even rhythms, adequate sleep, and balanced requirements can protect against derailment into mania. However, many people, especially those with bipolar illness, equate midlife, regularity, and balance with boredom.

In stable phases, people with bipolar disorders sometimes feel that they are not making the most of their potential, not making enough of themselves and their lives. They have the impression that they only use their possibilities in mania. In mania, they have experienced extreme resilience, can do a great deal in no time, and need little sleep. Satisfying oneself with less workload and allowing enough time for sleep is difficult for them.

Skilled workers should, therefore, work with those affected to assess a moderate household with their resources as a positive, desirable target state. If it is always only a matter of avoiding crises and manic episodes, then this is not very desirable and motivating for those affected in the long term. On the other hand, if one’s center is associated with positive feelings such as balance, lightness, zest for life, and confidence, it appears as a desirable goal.

One’s center can be defined as the state in which one feels in equilibrium. This state of affairs can be recognized among others at the following points:

  • You feel safe.
  • The condition uses less energy than mania.
  • The feelings are more pleasant, less extreme.
  • The experience is more complete: even negative feelings are perceived, not only positive ones.
  • You are more with yourself and feel a sense of inner peace.
  • You do not misjudge yourself so much, make fewer mistakes and do not forget so much, but can finish things.

How To Handle Bipolar with Self-Help

Crisis plan and early warning signs

Particularly useful here is a crisis plan, in which those affected note their early warning signs as concretely as possible, as well as relief and support options with which they can react to the first signs of the crisis. (…) You can use the following criteria to distinguish normal mood swings from incipient mania:

  • Normal mood swings fade away after some time, at the latest after several days.
  • For normal emotional fluctuations, clear triggers are visible.
  • Normal mood swings usually disappear when you take care to reduce stress.

Ways to Establish Structure and Rhythm In Life With Bipolar

  • Those affected should closely monitor their sleep and, for example, keep a sleeping diary.
  • The medication should be quickly adjusted in consultation with the doctor.
  • Concerned people should understand and regulate their physical condition, this means taking rest breaks, making sure that you eat and drink regularly, etc.
  • It is helpful to protect yourself from overstimulation, eg. For example, by restricting television and Internet consumption, canceling appointments, withdrawing and pursuing quiet activities such as walks or relaxation exercises.
  • Good planning of activities also gives support and structure. This often succeeds with a daily or weekly plan.
  • It only brings new problems when sufferers neglect their duties. In conjunction with a daily or weekly schedule, a so-called A / B list is helpful: tasks are subdivided into duties that have to be done (A) and into pleasant things (B). Those affected should try to complete the A-Tasks first and then treat themselves to the B-Tasks.
  • Impulsive actions, especially uncontrolled spending, can cause many problems in mania. On the other hand, the 24-hour rule can help. Concerned people conclude a kind of agreement with themselves: If they feel the strong urge to do something, for example, to buy something, they will only have to wait 24 hours before they can put their plans into action. This rule should best be recorded in writing by the person concerned.
  • Those affected should avoid alcohol and drugs. When a new crisis announces, sufferers should not hesitate to go to the doctor or, if necessary, to a clinic.
  • For those affected, firm rhythms and structures are a chance to avert the onset of a manic episode. It helps to have those affected supported by others, such as professionals or relatives who go through the daily or weekly schedule, remind them of the 24-hour rule, or create the A / B list with them.

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