Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that causes a person to experience extreme mood swings. While most people experience changes in moods from time to time, the shifts that people with this condition experience are severe.
People with this mental illness experience periods of mania followed by periods of extreme depression. While in a manic episode, suffers often exhibit:
- increased creativity
- increased energy levels
- reckless behavior.
When the manic period shifts to the depressed stage, people often experience:
- decreased energy levels
- feelings of hopelessness
- increased sleep
- suicidal thoughts.
In addition to the symptoms listed above, people with the illness might exhibit the following:
- changes in appetite
- changes in personal hygiene
- changes in self-esteem
- changes in weight
- loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- unrealistic plans.
If you or someone you know is experiencing the above-mentioned symptoms, it is important to get medical help as soon as possible. Getting an accurate diagnosis is vital to receiving proper treatment.
In this section, we’ll discuss the symptoms that are associated with bipolar disorder. We’ll also give you information on certain activities and events that can trigger bipolar episodes.
While doctors cannot pinpoint the exact cause of this condition, they do know that there are certain behaviors, activities and events that can trigger manic or depressive episodes in people who are either suffering from or predisposed to the illness.
Common triggers include:
- Major Life Events: When a person experiences a major life event, he is more susceptible to entering a bipolar episode.
- Medication: Some medications, especially antidepressants, can trigger a manic episode in a person.
- Seasonal Changes: People are more likely to experience episodes of mania in the summer and episodes of depression in the winter, fall and spring.
- Sleep Deprivation: Mania can be triggered by insufficient sleep.
- Stress: Extreme stress or emotional trauma can trigger both manic and depressive episodes in a sufferer.
- Substance Abuse: Drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy can trigger mania, while alcohol can trigger depression.
If you or someone you know suffers from this mental illness, it is important to know about the triggers. It is also important to know how to avoid or lessen the effects of bipolar disorder triggers.
Mayo Clinic Staff (2006). Bipolar disorder. Retrieved July 18, 2007, from the Mayo Clinic Web site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bipolar-disorder/DS00356.
Soreff, S. (n.d.) Bipolar disorder symptoms. Retrieved July 18, 2007, from the eMedicineHealth Web site: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/bipolar_disorder/