Bipolar disorder – Causes and Symptoms of Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is also called manic depressive disorder that causes mood swings which ranges from depression to mania. This disorder leads to risky behavior, damaged careers and relationships. In extreme conditions, the patient suffers from suicidal tendencies. About 5.7 million adults are living with bipolar disorder in the United States and this affects men and women equally. It also affects people from all the races, socioeconomic groups and all ethnic groups.

Causes of bipolar disorder
There are several factors that cause this disorder. They include:

  • Neurotransmitters: An imbalance in the neurotransmitters seems to play a major role in bipolar disorder.
  • Biological disorder: Physical changes are seen in the brains of those people suffering from bipolar disorder.
  • Hormones: Hormonal imbalance seems to trigger bipolar disorder.
  • Inherited traits: Researchers are finding a gene that may be involved in causing this disorder. It is more common in people who have a blood relative suffering from this condition.
  • Environment: Addiction, stress or any other traumatic events may play a role in bipolar disorder.

Risk Factors
Those factors that may increase the risk of developing this disorder include:

  • Periods of high stress
  • Major changes like death of a loved one
  • Drug or Alcohol abuse
  • Age group between 15 and 30

Other disease conditions that trigger include

  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Physical health problems like obesity and thyroid problems
  • Addiction or substance abuse
  • Anxiety disorder

The symptoms are divided into two phases.They include:

Manic Phase of bipolar disorder
Signs and symptoms can include:

  • Extreme optimism
  • Poor judgement
  • Racing thought
  • Euphoria
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Rapid speech
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Increased physical activity
  • Risky behavior
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Increased drive to perform or achieve goals
  • Frequent absences from school or work
  • Careless or dangerous use of drugs or alcohol
  • Poor performance at school

Depressive phase
Symptoms of depressive phase include:

  • Hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Sleep problems
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Low appetite
  • Poor performances at school
  • Chronic pain without a known cause
  • Feelings of guilt

When to consult your doctor?

If you find any of the symptoms of depression or mania, consult your mental health care provider. Getting treatment from a health care provider can help your symptoms to be under control.

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