WASHINGTON, June 27, 2013 – Approximately 1 out of ever 4 Americans will experience some form of bipolar mood disorder. Unfortunately, the vast majority of them won’t know what is affecting them or that there is a ton of assistance for those who seek it. Previously known as manic depressive disorder, the syndrome gets its name from the way an affected individual toggles between two polar opposite moods or states, often suddenly and uncontrollably.
The defining emotional state of the disorder is its “manic” state. At the low end, those experiencing this state have a feeling of increased energy combined with less need for sleep or in some cases difficulty sleeping. In more severe cases, manic individuals can remain in this state for days or weeks. They can also lose their grip on reality and perceive hallucinations as real.
Hypomania is the term for a less intense version of mania. It presents only a mild to moderate mood elevation; thus, it can be difficult to perceive that there is actually a problem that needs to be fixed. To confuse matters more, hypo-maniacs are reportedly happier and more productive that normal. Those who experience this middle state of bipolar disorder often report they are doing their best work in a state of hypoomania.
The “depressive” state is the polar opposite of the manic. It is generally characterized by various levels of depression which usually follow a manic episode. Sadness, loneliness, guilt and hopelessness are par for the course when an individual is in a depressive state. In addition to a poor or negative mood, other symptoms such as anti-social behavior or a loss of sexual libido might also present themselves.
The most dangerous mode of bipolar disorder, however, is a mixed state. A mixed state is defined as one in which both manic and depressive emotions are experienced all at once. It is during such periods that those afflicted with the disorder are at the highest risk for violence, rash decisions and harm to themselves and others, including suicide attempts.
The causes of this disorder are thought to vary from person to person. Generally, they are considered to be rooted in any one of (or a mixture of) physiological, environmental or genetic factors.
Genetically, studies have pointed in the direction of certain genes that might lead to imbalances in hormones such as serotonin, dopamine and glutamine that affect mood as leading to the onset of bipolar disorder. Physiologically, brain circuit abnormalities are thought to be a potential cause of the disorder. Meanwhile, contending with high levels of stress and trauma in life have implicated several possible environmental factors that my lead to the onset of this debilitating emotional problem.
The good news about bipolar disorder, however, is that it is highly treatable. With the right care and medication, it can be kept well under control so that its sufferers may live normal, happy and productive lives. Care centers such as Bridges to Recovery in Pacific Palisades, California specialize in providing those suffering from bipolar disorder with the help they need to function normally within society.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.