Summary:  What is Bipolar Disorder? What are the trends? Are there methods to prevent it? What are the causes? Is treatment available?

According to Dorland Health and an interview conducted with Dr Eric Youngstrom, bipolar disease is a type of mental illness with symptoms such as severe or moderate changes in mood. Another name for this disorder is manic-depressive disorder. According to this interview, there were 5 burning questions on the minds of the panel:

  1. What is bipolar disorder and how is it differentiated from standard mood swings? The differentiation is attributed to extreme changes not only in mood but sleep and energy as well. These changes occur more often, more intensely, and last longer than standard mood swings. According to the American Psychiatric Association, bipolar disease can be broken down into 4 types:
  • I – at least one manic episode in their life
  • II – seriously depressed and has had a milder mania
  • III – cyclothymic disorder – years of depression and milder manias without developing a full mania
  • IV – bipolar disorder – catch all category for those that don’t fit into the above categories
  1. What are the current trends? There is an increase in clinical diagnoses for bipolar disorder but not necessarily an increase in bipolar disorder per say. Better training has been given to practitioners to better diagnose bipolar illnesses.
  2. Is bipolar disease linked more closely to specific genders and/or geographical areas? There isn’t any concrete research available to indicate it is more prevalent in men or women. Women have a tendency to seek treatment for bipolar disease than men, but this doesn’t necessarily indicate that women are more likely to contract the disorder. The disorder is just about equally likely to affect children and teens as adults. There may be slightly less diagnosed cases in Asia but there are many other factors which affect this statistic which doesn’t provide conclusive evidence that those in Asia are less likely to contract bipolar disease.
  3. What are the causes of bipolar disease? The risk factors may include: genetics, environment, diet, stress level, and trauma. These risk factors seem to be consistent among the different age groups.
  4. What treatment alternatives are available? There are several types of therapy which have proven effective: cognitive behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, psychoeducational therapy, family focused therapy, and interpersonal social rhythm therapy. The goal of these therapy alternatives is to level out the highs and lows in mood swings.

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We encourage any comments you may have in regard to this article. Was the information helpful? Are there other treatments you have found helpful? Do you have family or friends who are suffering from this disorder?

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