Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder is one of the most misunderstood and most wrongly diagnosis in Mental health science.
People vaguely throw this diagnosis onto others without knowing the truth behind it.

I will try to de-mystify the Taboo behind it.

What is Bipolar Disorder?
As the name suggest is Bi-polar... Two Poles of the Mind.
This means the disorder is characterized by episodes of extreme moods.
When a person is at extreme level of happiness its called Mania.
When a person is at extreme level of sadness its called Major depression.

What are the symptoms?

1. First thing to remember - a person will exhibit one mood extreme at one time.
Hence a person will either be in Mania (extreme happiness) or in Major Depression (extreme sadness)

2. One pole or mood extreme when present lasts for a minimum of 1 week. During this 1 week the person will classically not exhibit any other mood.

3. This period of extreme mood is called as 1 episode. The length of one episode can be anywhere between 1 week to 1 year.

4. A person will have number of episodes in his/her life.

5. At full blown stage, the episode is so extreme that the a person’s behavior is out of his own control.
He might be completely detached from reality and has little or no re-collection of what he/she is doing.

6. The first and most common pole of Bipolar disorder seen in people is that of an episode of Major Depression. During this episode the person will exhibit - (5 or more of the following symptoms):

a) Depressed or sad mood for most of the day.
b) Decreased interest or pleasure in almost all activities.
c) Weight changes- weight loss or weight gain without any effort for the same.
d) Sleep disturbance- decreased sleep or increased sleep throughout the day.
e) Individual is always restless or agitated and highly irritable.
f) fatigue or loss of energy throughout the day
g) Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt.
h) diminished ability to concentrate
i) Recurrent thoughts of death – suicidal attempts, or planning to commit suicide.

This is followed by inability to carry out daily work and most individuals are withdrawn from society and social functioning.

7. The second and lesser seen pole of Bipolar Disorder is that of an episode of Mania. The symptoms are -

i) One week or more of extreme happiness, laughing without any reason.. The individual refuses to acknowledge any form of compassion, love or care towards lesser fortunate, extremely engrossed in his own thought process.
He/she can be perceived to be detached from reality.

ii) 3 or more of the following symptoms:
a. Extremely high inflated self-esteem. A person only see's himself as the center of the world. Doesn't care about people around him/her.

b. sleep problem- decreased need for sleep.. with less than 5hrs of daily sleep.

c. more talkative than usual - with most of his talk centered around himself, irrelevant or extremely irritatingly positive about even the saddest of disasters.

d. person cannot sit at one place, its continuously in the need to move around. Might spend the entire day doing same work again and again, just to remove his restlessness.

e. Decreased concentration - person mind is extremely active, every moment thinking about a new thought, without solving the previous one.
He/she cannot concentrate on anything for more than a few seconds to minutes.
Constantly observing small and finer details without any reasons.

f. The mind being in extreme hyperactivity, leads the body to be filled in a lot of energy. A person tries to take this energy out by involving themselves into multiple activities at the same time. Unable to complete even one.

h. As the mind is in hyperactivity, and the person is filled with a lot of energy, he/she slowly becomes detached from reality.
Just like a drug seeker, they seek to involve into pleasurable activities without understanding its consequences.
These behaviors include -
1. extreme and unrestrained buying sprees.. were items are bought without even understanding of what they are.
e.g.  a patient of mine bought 1 lakh rupees worth of perfumes from a show-room, without even testing one of them)

2. extremely high sexual activity.
e.g. a male bipolar manic patient I once treated would visit brothels and pay for sex upto 6-7 times in a day.
in fact one of the "female escorts" he "consulted" brought to the notice of his family, the fact that his sexual activity was not normal and we was actually just performing without knowing what he was actually doing.

a female patient in bipolar mania would masturbate with any object she would lay her hand on, eventually leading to severe vaginal injuries.

2. foolish handling of money -
making business investments without thinking,
gifting large amounts of money without any reason

most common causes -
a. genetic - A life event may trigger a mood episode in a person with a genetic disposition for bipolar disorder.

b. without genetic factors - altered health habits, alcohol or drug abuse, or hormonal problems can trigger an episode.

c. Drug Abuse is one of the commonest reasons for Bipolar disorder in modern day..

Alcohol in excessive amounts... specially adulterated alcohol.

Illicit drugs such as hash, cocaine, “designer drugs” such as Ecstasy and amphetamines, etc.

Excessive doses of certain over-the-counter drugs, including appetite suppressants and cold preparations.

Non-psychiatric medications, such as medicine for thyroid problems and corticosteroids like prednisone.

non-medical administration of Steroids for body building.

How to Treat it?
1. An immediate psychiatric check up is required.
In extreme cases, delays can lead to patient hurting himself or hurting near/dear ones.

2. Hospitalization is essential in most cases.

3. A person has to be properly diagnosed... as many people are wrongly diagnosed with bipolar, when they might be having only depression or anxiety or a small "Drug induced" episode.

4. Counseling of patient and family members happens once a patient is stable.
Patient only becomes receptive to counseling after his/her mind activity has reached base level.

You can ask your questions @-

Dr.Hemant Mittal
(Psychiatrist,Motivational Writer/Speaker and Counselor)

email -
website -

or take an appointment for personal consultation @-
address- Mind Mantra wellness clinic
Shop 15, shreeji plaza, next to ice n spice restaurant,
opposite seawoods station,
seawoods (east)
Navi Mumbai - 400706

No comments:

Post a Comment