Bipolar Disorder: Just the Facts

Bipolar Facts

Bipolar disorder, a serious mental disorder that affects about 4% of Americans, can cause extreme mood swings, abrupt changes in energy levels, and distorted decision making. It most commonly develops in the late teen years or early adult years. Many teens who abuse illicit drugs, such as cocaine, and ecstasy are commonly found to develop bipolar disorder. Those with eating disorders are also likely to develop the disorder from the amount of diet supplements and over the counter appetite suppressants taken. Stress is also a major cause of bipolar disorder which tends to develop when the proper amount of sleep and nutrients are not being processed through the body.

Bipolar disorder affects men and women equally but in different ways. Women who suffer from bipolar disorder most likely also experience migraines, obesity, and anxiety and panic disorders. Men who suffer from bipolar disorder usually experience symptoms much earlier than women do but are less likely to seek help until much later on. Men tend to turn towards anger and drugs to deal with mental disorders while women turn to pharmaceutical help. Most importantly it is important to seek help or urge a loved one suffering to seek help before it is too late.

Bipolar disorder has two main phases: mania, and depression. The mania phase commonly encourages those suffering to engage in risky behavior, feeling like they are untouchable and king of the world. In response to their high-energy level, many fall fast into a rock bottom pit. They begin to experience feelings of irritation, confusion, and anger. This quickly turns to the second phase, depression. The depression/online-therapy/depression/ phase is usually the opposite of the mania phase. Symptoms include feelings of anxiety, negativity, and guilt. Many symptoms are similar to those of standard depression.

Bipolar disorder is often genetic. According to Psychcentral.com, If one parent has bipolar disorder, there is a 10 to 15 percent greater chance of their child developing this condition. The risk in a child jumps to 30 to 40 percent chance if both parents have bipolar disorder. The genetic make-up of each person is connected through tons of nerves. These nerves are sent to the brain using chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. Sometimes there is a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes mixed signals, and even more so change towards one’s mood, which is likely to result in depression or bipolar disorder.

Even with the vast amount of research done today on bipolar disorder and with an increased understanding, there is no simple answer as to the exact cause. Research brings us to believe that bipolar disorder is a result of genetic and environmental factors. Life events like loss of a loved one, trauma, unemployment, or child birth can be factors of stress, a major cause of bipolar disorder. Many times what is a stress factor to one person may not be a stress factor to someone else. Do research and find out if any close relatives have been affected by bipolar disorder to know if you could be at risk.

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