What Is Bipolar Disorder – Depression
Bipolar depression disorder (BPD) is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels. BPD is also known as manic-depressive illness. Severe cases can affect someone’s ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.
There are four basic types of it. They involve significant shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels. Moods can range from periods of extreme energized behavior. These mood swings are “manic episodes.” The opposite extreme is sadness, hopeless period known as depressive episodes. The four types of bipolar depression include:
- bipolar I
- bipolar II
- bipolar due to another medical or substance abuse disorder
Bipolar depression occurs when someone diagnosed with bipolar is not experiencing the manic phase of the disease. Instead, patients suffer severe, sometimes psychotic episodes that may cause hallucinations.
During the depressive phase, a person with bipolar experiences feelings of:
- Extreme guilt due to illegal or unethical actions performed during their manic phase
- Hypochondria or believing they are dying from a vague disease
- Anxiety, irritability, and constant worrying
- Overwhelming Fatigue & Hypersomnia
- Sadness and Hopelessness
- Suicidal Ideation
Alternately, symptoms of the manic phase of bipolar include:
- Poor judgment
- Indulging in risky behaviors
- Agitation and aggressiveness
- Rampant insomnia (a person may stay up for days and appear to be under the influence of speed)
- Extreme euphoria and exaggerated sense of optimism
- Racing speech and thoughts that are grandiose and unrealistic
Bipolar individuals in the grip of the manic phase frequently gamble away large sums of money, engage in excessive spending sprees, or suffer from grandiose delusions.
Research has found the most effective treatment for bipolar is a combination of proactive methods including psychotherapy and prescribed medication. Participating in exercise and support groups are also indicated.
Treatment for Bipolar Depression Disorder starts with a complete assessment and evaluation. This phase should be done with a licensed psychiatrist and take at least 1 hour or more.
Patients often need to experiment with a combination of medications before they experience long-term relief of symptoms. Over 50 different kinds of medications exist to help treat bipolar depression disorder.
Diagnostic criteria for rapid cycling bipolar disorder involve the person experiencing four or more episodes of clinical depression, hypomania, mixed states, and mania within 12 months. Mood swings affecting those with rapid cycling bipolar disorder may change quickly, sometimes within a few hours of each other. Other signs of RCBD include uncontrollable outbursts and impulsivity accompanied by anger and hyperactivity.
Clinical diagnosis of bipolar disorder begins with a complete physical exam to rule out the possibility of medical conditions causing behavioral problems. A professional assessment by a psychiatrist is then necessary for properly diagnosing someone with bipolar disorder.
Bipolar depression can occur at any age, even as young as ten. However, the average onset of BPD is around 24 or 25 years of age in both men and women. Over 80 percent of bipolar disorder cases are classified as severe and require strong anti-psychotic medications for controlling symptoms.
Although considered a serious mental illness, bipolar disorder is manageable when the person takes mood-stabilizing medications and regularly attends therapeutic counseling sessions. Famous people with BPD include:
- Richard Dreyfuss
- Patrick Kennedy
- Patty Duke
- Carrie Fisher
- Patty Duke
- Jane Pauley
- Margot Kidder
- Catherine Zeta-Jones
- Ted Turner
- Ernest Hemingway
When people with bipolar disorder use drugs and do not seek professional help for their illness, the consequences can be tragic. Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, and Marilyn Monroe are examples of famous people with bipolar disorder who failed to get the appropriate help for their bipolar depression and mania.