Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms and treatment

Written by: Dr. Rafael Fernández García-Andrade
Edited by: Top Doctors®

Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness that causes major changes in mood. These changes range from deep sadness , to a state of intense euphoria , or to mixed states in which excitement mixes with feelings of deep sadness.

They are, therefore, pathological moods that can last for several weeks or months and go well beyond the typical "normal" mood swings (ie those changes that are reactive to life situations such as being very sad when a vital traumatic event happens or be very happy when we pass an exam or get a job).

Psychiatrists use the word "depression" to describe the phases of deep psychic depression observed in bipolar disorder and the word "mania" to describe the phases of euphoria.

There is also a milder form of mania called "hypomania". But it is important to note that a person affected by Bipolar Disorder is not always in a state of "mania" or "depression". Moreover, the usual thing is that he is in a state of normality that we call "eutimia . "


Symptomatology of Bipolar Disorder

The symptoms that are presented will depend on the mood in which the person suffering from bipolar disorder. So, in a depressive episode (for a minimum period of two weeks), there is a depressed mood, a loss of interest in things or an inability to enjoy things that were previously pleasurable.  

On the contrary, a manic episode presents a mood of euphoria, with exaggerated self-esteem, accelerated speech, decreased need for sleep, hyperactivity and increased energy. The problem is that consequently there may also be an increase in high-risk activities, reckless behavior, excessive spending of money and even hostile behavior.

The good news is that once diagnosed bipolar disorder, all these negative consequences can be remedied.


Bipolar Disorder Treatment

The treatment of bipolar disorder is based on four pillars, which in order of importance are: medication, psychoeducation, psychotherapy and, to a lesser extent, self-help .

Thus, medication is a necessary condition for the treatment and stabilization of bipolar disorder. It is understandable that many people are very anxious to take drugs that act on the brain.

However, it is important to understand that bipolar disorder is a disorder of the brain, which is where medication should act to get results. Drugs for bipolar disorder work by correcting mistakes in how the brain regulates mood and thinking.


Prevention Bipolar Disorder

Today, we still can not prevent a person from having bipolar disorder. The causes of bipolar disorder are not always clear. Several factors could contribute to the onset of bipolar disorder. On the one hand would be the genes (since it is a hereditary disease). And on the other, an abnormality in the structure and function of the brain.

Scientists are trying to get more information about the disorder through research that may help doctors predict whether a person will suffer from bipolar disorder. Someday, they may also be able to help doctors prevent the disease in some people.

What we can largely prevent in a person diagnosed with bipolar disorder is the occurrence of episodes of mental decompensation (ie, depression and mania). For this it is necessary to make an appropriate treatment.


*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection
Dr. Rafael Fernández García-Andrade

By Dr. Rafael Fernández García-Andrade

Featured psychiatrist with extensive experience in this specialty. He is an expert in clinical and psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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