Characterized by extreme mood swings, bipolar disorder may feel a little like riding an emotional roller coaster. Narmin Aliji, MD, with 360 Psychiatry in Santa Monica, California, works with you to help you understand and control the extremes of this complex illness. With the right psychotherapy and medical management, you can regain a normal life. Call today to find out how or book an appointment online.
Bipolar disorder, once called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extremes mood swings. You may be filled with feelings of euphoria followed by a sudden drop in mood that sends you into serious depression. It's those highs and lows that define this illness.
Bipolar disorder is broken down into different categories:
Bipolar I disorder involves at least one manic episode preceded or followed by major depression or a hypomanic episode, which is less severe than a manic state. Bipolar II disorder features at least one major depression and one hypomanic episode but no manic episode. Cyclothymic disorder means the patient has a period lasting at least two years — one year for children — of many hypomania symptoms and periods of depression.
There are three types of episodes associated with this condition:
A manic episode is a feeling of euphoria. Essentially, the patient feels happy, upbeat, and on top of the world, with little impulse control, though they may remain sensitive to disruptions of their mood and tend to be quickly irritable. They may also go days without sleeping.
Hypomania is a less severe form of mania. A person in a hypomanic state feels good but not in an extreme way, out of proportion with life’s conditions. They have more energy than usual but are more in control of their feelings.
The depression that comes with bipolar disease is severe in most cases. The person in a depressive state may refuse to get out of bed. They might binge eat or not eat for days, and there’s an enhanced risk of suicide.
Although medical science doesn’t fully understand bipolar disorder, current theories hold that the disease involves a combination of biological and genetic factors. People with this problem have physical changes to their brains. It’s a disease that runs in families, as well. A person with a first-degree relative, meaning a parent or sibling, with this disorder is at greater risk themselves.