Bipolar: The Swing from One Extreme to the Other
Posted on 10th October 2023 at 15:29
The 10th of October is World Mental Health Day, a day to talk all things mental health and show everyone that mental health matters. World Mental Health Day is also a day to raise awareness and let people know that it is okay not to be okay, and it is okay to ask for help, no matter what you’re going through, no matter how big or small. This year for Mental Health Awareness Day, we thought we should raise awareness about bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, a condition which affects a person’s moods and can swing from one extreme to another.
Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a mental health disorder characterized by periods of depression and periods of raised mood that can last from just mere days to longer periods of weeks or months. If the elevated mood is extreme or related to psychosis, it is called mania, and if it is less severe, it is called hypomania.
During mania, someone will act or feel strangely energetic, with ambitious plans and ideas, very happy, and spending large amounts of money on things they cannot afford or be extremely irritable, talking very quickly and becoming easily annoyed. Often, they will make impulsive decisions that are out of character, with little regard for the consequences of such decisions. There is also often a reduced need for sleep or eating during manic phases as the body and mind is on high alert and overly energetic.
Some people may feel very creative during the manic phase, and view the manic phase of bipolar as a positive experience, famously the artist Vincent Van Gogh is diagnosed posthumously with bipolar and music stars such as Mariah Carey and Bebe Rexha have opened up about their struggle with the disorder. However, some people may experience symptoms of psychosis, psychosis is when people lose contact with reality. During episodes of psychosis, someone’s thoughts and perceptions are disrupted, and they may struggle to identify what is real and what is not. It might involve seeing or hearing things that other people cannot, often known as hallucinations, believing things that are not true or are out of proportion, known as delusions, and it might involve disordered thinking and speaking, where a person’s thoughts and ideas come too quickly, making their speech fast and confusing.
During periods of depression, a person might be lethargic, be in a heightened emotional state and have a negative outlook on life. During the depression phase a person may have extreme feelings of worthlessness and severely low moods, these feelings can often be overwhelming and lead to thoughts of suicide. Before being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it is common that an individual will be diagnosed with clinical depression until they have recognizable manic episodes.
The extreme high and low phases of bipolar disorder are often so severe that they interfere with a person’s day to day life. And while the exact cause of bipolar disorder is not clearly known, it is believed several genetic and environmental factors could play a role, including extreme stress, overwhelming problems, life changing events and genetic and chemical factors. Bipolar disorder is fairly common with around 1 in every 100 people being diagnosed and while it can occur at any age, it often develops between the ages of 15 and 19.
Fortunately, there are several options available for treating bipolar disorder, that can help to make a difference in improving someone’s day to day life, the aim of these treatments is to control the effects of an episode.
The following treatment options are used:
Medicine to prevent episodes of mania and depression- known as mood stabilisers, they are taken each day, often for life
Medicine to treat the main symptoms of depression and mania when they occur
Learning to recognise what the triggers and signs of an episode are
Psychological treatment such as talking therapy, whether one to one or in a group environment, this can provide a safe space to talk and complete activities towards self-improvement
Lifestyle changes such as doing regular exercise, planning activities or hobbies, as well as changes to diet and getting more sleep
Using a combination of different treatment methods is the best way to control bipolar disorder, as well as regular medication and health reviews by healthcare professionals. There are also lots of help and support options available from charities, online forums, and support groups. Although bipolar disorder is a long-term condition, effective treatments for bipolar disorder, along with self-help techniques, can limit its impact on your everyday life.
How can we help?
Academy Care, are a domiciliary care company, providing support to individuals whom for reasons of ill health or disability, could benefit from long or short-term domiciliary care services in the comfort and familiar surroundings of their own home. Our highly trained, passionate carers, support people daily in their own homes, to optimise both their independence and wellbeing.
We create tailored care plans to meet the needs of all our clients, working with the client, their family and any medical or social services to ensure that the client gets the very best care for them. We also continuously monitor these care plans to ensure that they are up to date with the needs of the client, as needs can change very quickly.
We will work with you, the client’s family to deliver the care, helping to ensure that everyone involved is happy with the care being provided and that the client’s needs are being met through our service.
If you would like to discuss how we can help you, give us a call on 01924 925 244, alternatively look at our services here.
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