Understanding Bipolar Disorder

December 10, 2018

Bipolar disorder, although a rare disorder, affects men and women equally. Read this blog to find out everything you need to know about bipolar disorder and its types.

Bipolar disorders are typically characterized by mood swings shifting from extreme elevation (called manic episodes by doctors) followed by episodes of depression with periods of normalcy in between causing patients difficulty in carrying out everyday routine at home, work or school.

Although a very rare disease, it affects men and women equally. However, the degree of symptoms and relapse episodes are found to be more common in women due to hormonal fluctuations because of menstruation, pregnancy and menopause.

Bipolar disorders are broadly categorized into 3 types:

Type I People with Type I bipolar disorder go through at least one manic episode which may be preceded or followed by a depressive episode. Both men and women are equally affected by it.

Type II Is characterized by one major depressive episode that could go on up to two weeks and also one or two manic episodes that would last up to four days. Women are more commonly affected by this than men.

Cyclothymia is the third less common type where patients experience short episodes of mania and depression which are much less severe and shorter duration than type I and II. Such cases usually have very short symptom free periods.

It is however very difficult to identify and diagnose bipolar disorders due to its wide range of symptoms. Children and adolescence are also sometimes affected by it and have more profound depressive episodes. In any case, a doctor will have to conduct several tests over a period of time to actually come to a definite diagnosis and early detection may help them (especially young adults and children) lead a more normal lifestyle.

Though not permanently curable, medications (like lithium, anti-depressive and anti-psychotic drugs), behaviour therapy, psychotherapy and lifestyle changes may help relieve or lessen the severity of symptoms and minimize damage. If you are anyone in your family show these signs or symptoms, it would be best to consult a doctor right away!

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Article by Dr. Naveen Nadipelli, MBBS, DPM (Psychiatry),
Consultant Psychiatrist, CallHealth

Have a Question?Consult Dr. Naveen Online.

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