Bipolar affective disorder (bipolar depression)

Head | Psychiatry | Bipolar affective disorder (bipolar depression) (Disease)


Bipolar disorder also known as manic-depressive disorder is a psychiatric condition characterized by mood disorders. Episodes of abnormally increase energy levels, cognition, and mood with or without one or more depressive episodes can occur.

The manic phase may last from days to months. It can include the following symptoms: easily distracted; little need for sleep; poor judgment; poor temper control; reckless behavior and lack of self control; very elevated mood. There is a high risk of suicide with bipolar disorder. Periods of depression or mania return in most patients, even with treatment.

Causes and Risk factors

People who have bipolar disorder are at a higher risk of also suffering from substance abuse and other mental health problems. Males may develop bipolar disorder earlier in life compared to females. There are three types of bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder type I have had at least one manic episode and periods of major depression. People with bipolar disorder type II have never had full mania. Instead they experience periods of high energy levels and impulsiveness that are not as extreme as mania, called hypomania. A mild form of bipolar disorder called cyclothymia involves less severe mood swings. People with this form alternate between hypomania and mild depression. Life changes such as childbirth, medications such as antidepressants or steroids, periods of sleeplessness, recreational drug use are triggers that can lead to this disorder.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The main goals of treatment are to: avoid moving from one phase to another, help the patient function as well as possible between episodes, prevent self-injury and suicide and make the episodes less frequent and severe. ...