What Is Bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder (BD), which is a mental illness, is characterized by excessive mood swings, varying from low to high and high to low. The disorder also shows mixed signs of mood swings, which can lead to depression and elation simultaneously.
Bipolar disorder symptoms usually appear in later years of teenage or early years of adulthood. There are many cases of these disorders in children as well. Bipolar disorder is more commonly diagnosed in women than men, but there is no clear reason for such a difference till date.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by several types. The disorder also includes several other disorders such as depression and hypomania. Symptoms from any of these disorders can lead to sudden and unexpected changes in the behavior and mood, which can lead to hardships and distress in life.
Bipolar I disorder: In this disorder, the patient experiences at least one manic episode that follows a depressive or hypomanic episode. In certain cases, there is also triggering of psychosis.
Bipolar II disorder: This one is characterized by a depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode. However, the patient may not witness a manic episode.
Cyclothymic disorder: This one is usually for at least two years in adults or one year in teenagers and children. It shows up with several cycles of depressive and hypomanic symptoms. However, this one is less severe compared to major depression.
Other types: This one covers various disorders that have been induced due to medical conditions, like Cushing's disease, stroke or multiple sclerosis, and also, alcohol and drugs.
What Are The Symptoms Of Bipolar disorder?
Bipolar signs cover up a number of symptoms. Some of these are:
- The person feels extremely happy for a prolonged period.
- The person may feel insomniac or does not feel like sleeping.
- Increase in the talking speed, mostly with hurried thoughts or may talk very slow.
- An extreme level of impulsive and restless feeling.
- The person may also be easily distracted.
- He/she may also become overconfident in his/her abilities.
- The person may take more risks in life, such as in gambling or having impulsive sex.
- The person may also feel hopeless or sad for a prolonged period.
- He/she may also lose interest in social and enjoyable activities.
- The Appetite of the person is also affected.
- Lack of energy or fatigue is experienced.
- Lack of decision-making, concentration, and memory.
- Feeling suicidal.
What Are The Causes Of Bipolar disorder?
There are not one but many causes of bipolar disorder. These include:
- Genetic factors: Several pieces of research have shown that genetic causes may lead to bipolar disorder. There are high chances of its emergence in a person who has a family member affected with the same disorder.
- Biological factors: Biological disorder patients have also been found in patients who have been noted to have physical changes in their brains.
- Neurotransmitter imbalances: A number of mood-related disorders are due to the brain-chemical imbalances, and they can lead to bipolar disorders as well.
- Environmental causes: Causes that are included in environmental factors are mental stress, abuse, isolation, etc. Studies say that patients may not show signs of bipolar disorder unless they are triggered due to environmental factors.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Bipolar disorder?
Few Dos for treating bipolar disorder are:
- Controlling stress: The patient needs to keep a regular schedule that needs to be followed to ensure a healthy mood.
- Practicing sound sleeping habits: People with bipolar disorder are said to have sleeping problems, which is why it is prudent to follow a regular pattern for sleeping.
- Get therapy: Experts recommend therapies for curbing bipolar disorder. A recommended therapy for this decreasing bipolar disorder is a cognitive behavioural therapy that will help patients in following a good schedule and understanding/interpreting thoughts and events. Besides this therapy, the patient can also go for interpersonal therapy that will help in building up sound relationships with other people.
- Be social: It is important to indulge more in social activities to cope with bipolar disorder. Socializing helps in regulating mood swings. If possible, the person should indulge in sports and other enjoyable hobbies with friends and family.
- Keep track of the side effects: Medications related to bipolar disorder can sometimes lead to side effects such as kidney problems, pancreatitis. So, if the medications of the bipolar disorder patient are not being tracked for side effects, then it could lead to more potential problems.
- Monitor the various triggers: A number of reasons, such as sleep deprivation, isolation from society, slipping away from a normal routine, etc., can lead to trigger of manic or depressive episodes that can cause bipolar disorders. It is thus important to monitor all triggers associated with changes in the patient's life such as joining a new job, going to college or divorcing a spouse.
- Get support from friends and family: For bipolar patients, isolated thoughts can lead to a much messed-up situation. It is therefore advisable to find support through family and friends by letting them know what you are going through. With their support, perhaps, you will be able to deduce the triggers that lead to such episodes, thus helping you stop from experiencing one.
- Avoid weight gain by exercising and following a healthy diet plan: Medications related to bipolar disorder contain antipsychotic chemicals that result in weight gain in certain patients. So, it is important to regulate the weight by exercising and keeping up with a healthy diet plan.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Bipolar disorder?
Certain Don'ts that should be considered while coping with bipolar disorder are:
Do not give up at any cost: Coping with bipolar disorder is not an easy task. Many times, the patient will feel like quitting and letting the psychotic disorder take over. However, it is advisable to learn to fight with it to avoid mental stress and suicidal behavior.
Do not quit taking medications on your own if side effects occur: Side effects due to the medications for bipolar disorder are likely to happen, and this can cause the patient to quit the medications without consulting a doctor. However, the patient should not stop his/her medication. The patient's guardian can take advice from the doctor for a substitute medication that is more suitable for the patient.
What Are The Best Foods For Bipolar disorder?
Foods beneficial for treating bipolar disorder are:
- Berries: Berries are an important source of vitamin C and natural antioxidants that help control the cortisol levels (cortisol is a stress hormone produced by adrenal glands) in the body. This can help patients revive from stress faster. Berries that are good for bipolar patients include strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.
- Whole grains: Whole grains have not only been known for helping in digestion, but also for calming the mind. Whole grains contain carbohydrates that help in the production of serotonin (which helps in lowering anxiety) in the brain. Foods that are good sources of whole grains are quinoa, brown rice, whole-grain pasta, whole grain toasts, whole-grain crackers, etc.
- Beans: Beans are a good source of magnesium that has been known for reducing manic episodes in people with bipolar disorder. So, magnesium-rich beans including lentils, chickpeas, lima beans, soy, and black beans are all good for regulating the mood. Moreover, beans offer fiber and other important nutrients for a healthy diet.
- Bananas, oranges, and apples: These fruits are a good source of vitamin C and fiber that helps in improving the immune system. These three fruits can help regulate the body by calming the mind through its other nutritional elements including the likes of potassium that can help in reducing the depressive episodes.
- Herbal tea: Herbal tea is quite popular among people for their stress-relieving properties. There are many types of teas available in the market that can help in soothing the mind of a bipolar disorder patient. A popular herbal tea known for reducing depression, anxiety, and mood swings is chamomile tea.
- Dark chocolate: Dark chocolates have been found to be one of the best comfort foods that help in controlling the stress hormone levels in the body. For bipolar disorder patients, this may turn out to be a food that can help in curbing depressive and manic episodes at times.
What Are The Worst Foods For Bipolar disorder?
Foods to avoid when suffering from bipolar disorder are:
- Caffeine: Caffeine has been used for generations as a stimulant for impairing sleep. However, insomnia or sleep deprivation is one of the primary trigger symptoms of bipolar disorder, which is why it needs to be avoided. Many experts recommend avoiding caffeinated drinks as they promote anxiety and affect sleeping patterns that may lead to bipolar manic and depressive triggers.
- Alcohol: This is perhaps one of the worst foods on the list for bipolar disorder patients. Alcohol is a counterproductive item that causes bipolar mood triggers in a patient. Moreover, alcohol has ingredients that can react with lithium (which is one of the main ingredients in BD medications), hence negatively impacting the patient. In addition, according to a research done in 2015, bipolar disorder patients were found to die at an early age due to consumption of alcohol.
- Sugar: High consumption of sugar can lead to increase in weight or obesity. This may increase the belly fat of the bipolar disorder patient, hence making it tougher for the medicines to help stop triggers and regulating the disorder.
- Salt: Consumption of too much salt while on medications can lead to negative reactions such as the increase in the levels of lithium in the body of the bipolar disorder patient.
- Fatty foods: Anyone who looks forward to following a healthy diet ought to avoid fatty foods that contain trans and saturated fats. Similarly, a bipolar patient also needs to stop consuming such unhealthy food items. Not only do such foods promote unhealthy bodily functions and obesity, but also reduces the effect of medicines on the body. So, it is recommended that the patient is not treated with fatty foods such as whole eggs, whole fish, cheese, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, chia seeds, etc.
What Are The Medicines For Bipolar disorder?
What Are The Tips To Manage Bipolar disorder?
- A bipolar disorder patient should try opening up in front of family and friends to loosen up the mind.
- Such patients should try controlling their stress as much as possible.
- Anything that comes into the mind, they should just write it in a notebook or a piece of paper to soothe the mind.
- They should try coming out of their safe zone.