Do you suffer from extreme mood swings? Are you like, on the top of the world one week and highly depressed the next? Do you feel you can do nothing wrong this week and are consumed by bouts of self doubt, maybe leading to suicidal tendencies, the next week? These mood swings can be extreme or mild, but if you feel that these occur, then you are suffering from bipolar disorder. The period when there is mood upswing is called mania and when there is downswing, it is called depression. In a third situation, you might have full depression phases, but your manic phase will be less intense and may last for a few days. This is called hypomanic phase. It is advised that you do not ignore the symptoms and consult your doctor immediately when they first occur. Additionally, you must confide in someone close to you about your problem, especially during depression as chances of self-abuse, including suicide in particularly severe bouts, increase manifold. You can even dial NGO help lines during these times by keeping their number handy.
Bipolar disorder can start between the ages 15 to 30 and both men and women are susceptible. It can be hereditary or it can be due to abnormal functioning of brain circuits related to mood, energy, thinking and biological rhythm. If not treated properly, bipolar disorder can badly throw your life out of gear. You may face trouble with coworkers, family members, friends and even the general public if you display irritating behavior in public.
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Bipolar disorder is generally treated with mood stabilizers, antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs. In extreme cases, ECT, where electric current is administered to cause a seizure in the brain, is done. It is a fast and safe way to control severe mood episodes when normal drugs do not help. Also, counseling is advised in the normal course to ease the mood swings and allow the patient lead a normal life.
In any case, symptoms of bipolar disorder should never be ignored and a doctor or a psychiatrist must be consulted as soon as possible.
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