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What is bipolar disorder

What is bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depressive disorder, is a serious type of mental illness that alternates between manic and depressive episodes.

Manic episodes and depressive episodes are the two main features of bipolar disorder.

When a manic episode occurs, the main manifestations are:

  1. High State of Mind: Extremely High Also easily irritated.
  2. Thoughtful: Individuals think more often than they express themselves verbally and can change topics quickly. Sometimes it is difficult to express ideas because they fill the mind.
  3. Increased activity: The individual becomes extremely talkative, rapid in speech, and exaggerates the content of words.
  4. Increased self-esteem, accompanied by impulsive behavior.
  5. Reduced need for sleep: works long hours efficiently without feeling tired and requires little or no sleep

And when the depressive episode occurs, they show depressive manifestations such as depressed mood, loss of interest and reduced activity.

The symptoms of depressive episodes in bipolar disorder are often similar to those of monophasic depression and are clinically almost indistinguishable. And it is only when they are depressed that they are thinking of seeking help. It is because most patients seek medical attention during the depressive phase that bipolar disorder can easily be misdiagnosed as depression.

Therefore, when you notice your friends or loved ones having symptoms of depression, it is also important to pay attention to whether she/he has been experiencing symptoms of (mild) mania.

The most painful thing for people with bipolar disorder is that their depression and mania alternate, and you may see them at one time being particularly high, seem as if they are the masters of the earth. At other times they are so depressed that they don't want to go on living.

A person with bipolar disorder once said, “Some people have to do everything they can just to stay alive, and that's me.”

Some misconceptions about biphasic

People who have experienced pain often have a better understanding of the pain of others. People who have not experienced it often have misconceptions and myths about mental illness. Especially with a word like “bipolar disorder”, which literally gives people's imagination huge room to play, misinterpretation of it is often polarized.

1. Bipolar is not just a normal up and down of mood
Many people take bipolar disorder lightly, thinking that it may be a state of “happiness and sadness”, or even that people may arbitrarily apply the label “bipolar” to others and to themselves.

This is very unfair to those who really suffer from bipolar disorder, just as we used to belittle depression and think that depressed people just need to be “positive”.

People with bipolar disorder are always walking between heaven and hell, and this sense of soaring and falling in accompanies them through days and nights of struggle. As normal people, we would actively go on a jumping machine for excitement, but what if you were to imagine spending your whole life on a jumping machine? This may be the painful situation of the bipolar patients.

2. Biphasic is not a preference for genius

It has been thought that bipolar disorder is a “genius disease”, the price humans pay in exchange for intelligence and creativity. Many anecdotal and biography records also show a consistent trend, as if people with mental disorders such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia seem to be geniuses with a unique worldview.

American psychiatric researcher Kay Redfield Jamison, in his book" Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament”, listed a series of celebrities who may suffer from bipolar disorder, among which writers, artists and composers account for the majority, and the rich imagination and creativity are the silver lining left in the darkness of their illness.

Bipolar disorder is a very serious mental illness, and the pain is enough to knock a person down. The "genius bipolar person" advertised by these media is a kind of survivorship bias. Although the ability to create incomparable art sounds extremely attractive, but bipolar is never worth pursuing.

3. The button to switch emotions does not exist

Many people think that it is amazing that people with bipolar disorder can switch between mania and depression. Some people with bipolar disorder are also vaguely aware that they have found a “switch” and can choose to switch on the manic state at any time.

Exactly, there is no real “toggle switch”, but when the patient is engaged in certain activities, the level of hormone secretion in the brain affects the neural activity, thus triggering the manic state, which is actually a switching process.

Under normal circumstances, patients cannot anticipate what their next state will be like. Mood swings are not under their complete “control”.

The Road to Healing for Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that is difficult to fully heal, and patients who recover with medication also have a high rate of relapse within a year of stopping the medication.

In addition to taking medication to alleviate pain, psychotherapy plays an important supporting role in the recovery period.

The likelihood of relapse is greatly reduced if the patient receives psychological counseling or therapy in conjunction with medication to maintain emotional stability. Mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy have been shown to be effective in the treatment of bipolar disorder.

The family environment and social tolerance are important factors in alleviating the condition.

Bipolar patients can be in a constant state of alternating mania and depression, which is a heartbreaking and headache for family, partners and friends, and their up and down, “incomprehensible” state can consume the care and patience of those around them.

However, the family environment and social environment tolerance in which one lives is an important factor in remission. Social support from loved ones as well as acceptance and companionship will provide a good healing environment and is a valid predictor of emotional stability afterwards. Finally, may every soul have someone to snuggle with and not be alone.



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