Bipolar depression or bipolar disorder
The bipolar depression is a type of debilitating disorder, and it is very annoying and dangerous. It can wreak havoc on a person’s life.
Despite research on the subject, it is still a pathology difficult to diagnose and treat. And it is precisely for this reason that it is essential for the bipolar person to learn about the symptoms of bipolarism and the causes of his problem.
The bipolar disorder is divided into two phases: the manic phase (spirits high, euphoria, great talkativeness, increased activity, over-involvement) and bipolar depression (low mood, sadness, anxiety, tendency to lose interest in everything).
The first is the one that is probably best known and that calls for more attention, however whoever suffers from this disease or is close to a person who suffers from it, knows that depression has the most negative effects.
Depression is in fact more debilitating than bipolar mania, also because it lasts longer and occurs more frequently.
According to a study conducted by Lewis L. Judd and his colleagues at the University of California, people with bipolarity suffer from the depression phase three times more than the manic phase.
There is also hereditary bipolar depression , that is, had a hereditary transmission.
The phase of depression included in bipolar disorder can heavily affect the affects, relationships between work colleagues and work performance, and in any area of life of a person who is affected by the disorder.
Fortunately, bipolar disorder can be treated by stabilizing the patient’s mood and helping him manage his symptoms.
Unipolar depression and bipolar depression
The depressive phase of bipolar disorder appears similar to “major” or unipolar depression. For this reason, it is not easy to distinguish it from the latter. In any case, those who suffer from bipolar depression complain more often of atypical symptoms than those who suffer from major depression.
These atypical symptoms may include: increased nutrition and sleep, and reduced energy. Also, a person with bipolar disorder often complains that the antidepressant therapy he is following makes his depression worse instead of improving it.
To avoid confusing bipolar depression with unipolar depression, experts should try to get detailed family history of the patient and ask him if he has ever had symptoms of mania or hypomania. Otherwise, the tendency is precisely to treat the patient’s bipolar depression as if it were major depression, that is, only with antidepressants. And this could, among other things, help increase the patient’s manic episodes.
Bipolar depression symptoms
Here are some symptoms that people with bipolar depression experience :
- Feelings of despair;
- Guilt feelings;
- Sense of worthlessness;
- Sense of helplessness;
- Feeling of anguish;
- Difficulty concentrating;
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once considered pleasant and interesting;
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty getting out of bed
- More likely to develop psychotic symptoms
- Greater chances of developing other mental illnesses, such as panic disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder;
- Loss of appetite
- Cramps and digestive problems that cannot be reduced even with treatment;
- Tremors and gasps;
- Weight gain or loss;
- Suicide thoughts;
- More suicide attempts than unipolar depression.
The causes responsible for bipolar depression
Knowing the triggers, or the stressful causes that make the patient more vulnerable to bipolar depression , can help to prevent the relapses that could possibly occur.
These triggers may include lack of sleep, some traumatic events, stress at work, but also uncontrollable stressors, such as the health or death of a friend, partner or relative.
Other factors that negatively influence the possibility of stabilizing bipolar depression are the following:
- The severity of bipolar disorder disease ;
- Luck or failure to find a drug that is effective;
- The help of a support partner;
- A more or less competent doctor.
There is also to consider that severe bipolar depression can not only compromise the patient’s ability to enjoy life, but also interfere with his basic self-care acts. It means that if a person suffering from bipolar depression tries to do everything possible not to feel it, severe bipolar depression could prevent that person from performing those gestures with which he could perhaps succeed (including regular drug intake).
The risk of losing all hope
Despite the help received from family and modern medicine, if the patient suffers from bipolar depression in a very serious way , he could also lose all hope. Not surprisingly, many suicide victims often suffer from bipolar disorder .
A 2000 study carried out by researchers at the University of Johns Hopkins says that around 25-50% of patients suffering from bipolar disorder have attempted to commit suicide at least once.
Treatment of bipolar depression
From Bipolar depression can be cured ? In this regard it must be said that being chronic, bipolar disorder cannot be completely eliminated. However, the patient can learn to manage it.
In order for this to succeed, it is essential that you stabilize your mood, so as to reduce the severity and frequency of both your depressive and manic disorders. In addition, it is equally important that it prevents its possible future relapses.
To treat bipolar depression and bipolar disorder in general, the patient suffering from this pathology must undergo long-term treatment, including through mood stabilizing drugs, antidepressants and antipsychotics.
In this way, he is put in the condition to be able to prevent new manic or depressive episodes more effectively, and can also be more successful in preventing the reappearance of the symptoms that the pathology in question entails.
But medications alone are not enough to keep the symptoms of bipolar disorder at bay . In fact, a therapy that can be as effective as possible includes all the following elements:
- social support
- changes in the patient’s lifestyle.
Not surprisingly, some scientific research has been able to demonstrate that cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy associated with drugs can offer positive results, therefore it can determine an effective stabilization of mood.
What is psychotherapy for in this case? To help the patient in his path of drug therapy, with the aim of increasing the patient’s motivation and correcting his irrational way of thinking. In addition, psychotherapy can also help the patient better cope with daily difficulties, and improve his communication skills. This allows those who follow the therapy to prevent relapses, and overall improve their lifestyle.
Since bipolar disorder is a complex pathology, the main purpose of therapy is to make sure that this disease no longer breaks devastatingly into the patient’s life. How? Through some objectives to be pursued during the therapy itself:
- Learn to recognize the symptoms that could cause the manic or depressive phases to re-emerge;
- Learn how to implement effective prevention and containment strategies.
The first thing to do for the patient who intends to cure bipolar disorder , is precisely to understand the symptoms that could lead him to a manic or depressive episode. In fact, knowing yourself is fundamental, as it is also important to adopt a lifestyle that is as healthy as possible.
For those with bipolar disorder , building a routine is equally important. This routine must also include: taking medications, exercise, healthy diet, good sleep, periodic visits to a specialist.
Awareness of the disease can already help a lot in alleviating the symptoms, at least in part. In addition, the patient aware that the depression he or she may experience will always be part of a passing phase, which sooner or later will disappear, is less pervaded by the sense of anguish.
Regarding the sense of anguish, in times of depression the patient sometimes thinks that it is not a phase, but that his whole life will always be like this. Or, think that such episodes will be forever frequent. It is therefore very important that the bipolar person understand that it is precisely the depression experienced at that moment that leads him to believe that his depressive period will last forever, when in reality this pathology is not a condemnation, and can be kept under control.
As for adopting a healthy lifestyle, it is essential, among other things, that the patient does not take alcohol, drugs and behaviors that can alter his consciousness.
For example, listening to loud music, arguing in a heated way with someone, driving in a reckless way, are some of the activities that can alter the state of consciousness of some patients (but not all of them: it depends from patient to patient).
When the patient enters the full phase of bipolar depression , he experiences a difficult condition to endure, which produces many negative feelings and other types of ailments, which on the whole can often also lead him to attempt suicide.
However, the cure to better manage bipolar disorder exists: the patient, thanks to the help of a specialist, taking medications and a healthy lifestyle, can learn to keep under control and limit both the symptoms of the depressive phase than those of the manic phase, avoiding new relapses. In this way, he will be able to return to live a more peaceful life.