Two extreme sides of a person’s life are seen in Bipolar disorder. The individual has drastic variations in their mood. A person can feel very happy and be in a jolly mood. But, this phase of life is for just a while. Thereafter, the individual hits a low suddenly. They face symptoms of depression and they are extremely sad suddenly. In the following article, the details of the following are given. Firstly, the meaning of Bipolar Disorder. Secondly, the various symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. Lastly, what are the main aspects of this disorder and how do we differentiate it from other similar disorders.
What Does it Mean to have Bipolar Disorder?
Another name for this disorder is Manic Depression. As the name suggests, bipolar disorder meaning is a mental illness where there severe alternating mood swings. Firstly, the individual experiences manic episodes ( “highs”- in simple terms a very jolly mood and extremely happy) at a particular phase. Secondly, the individual faces a sudden low ( technically major depression). These episodes occur one after the other. In addition to that, an individual can have these episodes more than once a week, in extremely severe cases.
In detail, the individual can have a varied mood in a span of two-three days. When having a manic or hypomanic episode (less severe than a manic episode), the person feels like he is on top of the world. In addition to that, he is full of energy or has an unusually irritable mood. On the other hand, the alternate extreme mood the person experiences is major depression. The symptoms are like losing interest in everything & a lack of an appetite. Furthermore, feeling extremely hopeless about life and having psychomotor agitation as well.
The symptoms of the both the Moods are given in detail below.
How do we Differentiate between Bipolar and Normal Mood Changes?
The main criteria are that, normal mood swings which each and every person faces doesn’t disrupt daily life activities. In addition to that, when mood swings happen, we know how to get back on track and move on with days like chores.
However, this is not the case with mental illnesses. Therefore, when a person is suffering from Bipolar Disorder or its symptoms, they are not able to lead a normal life. For instance, due to depressive episodes, they might miss several days of work with no prior notice. The mental illness disrupts life severely and hampers living normally.
Each and every person has their own ups and downs in life. For the most useful tips on Good Mental Health. Click here.
What are the Symptoms of this Disorder?
As mentioned the symptoms come under two mental disorders. Firstly, symptoms of Mania. Secondly, symptoms of major depression. The two episodes of manic and depressed mood occur alternatively.
Here is Guide to Overcome Depression. Click Here.
There are episodes of mania which are known as manic episodes. According to the DSM-V, the criteria for a manic episode is as follows.
A] A period of abnormally or persistently elevated mood. In addition to that, they have an expansive & unusual irritable mood majority of the time. Simultaneously, goal-directed activity or energy is abnormally or persistently high. Furthermore, this lasts for at least a week and this mood is present almost all the time.
B] During the phase of this mood disturbance, three or more of the symptoms below must be there. ( Four or more if the emotion expressed is that of irritability)
- Extremely talkative. Mostly it is more than the person usually talks. In addition to that, there is pressure to continue talking for a long time.
- Increased & inflated self-esteem. Furthermore, they have a sense of unrealistic belief in their capabilities.
- The need for sleep decreases. ( For instance, they feel rested & fresh with only three hours of sleep)
- Distractibility is high. For instance, attention is easily drawn to external stimuli and the environment.
- Flight of ideas- speaking fast. Secondly, jumping to new topics & ideas rapidly. It is like their mind is pacing and their need to let out everything.
- There is an increase in goal-directed activity ( in social settings, work settings, or sexual). In addition to that, psychomotor agitation increases as well. ( for purposeless non-goal directed activity)
- Engaging in impulsive actions that can have highly painful consequences. For instance, impulsive spending on unwanted things, making foolish & risky business investments, having sexual indiscretions.
C] The mood swings and emotions are sufficient to cause impairment in your daily activities and settings.
D] The manic episode should not be due to any physiological effects of substance.For instance, a drug of abuse or medication.
Hypomanic Episode Meaning
Hypo in simple terms means “below”, the hypomanic episode is a less severe case of a manic episode. The DSM-V defines it as a less severe version of a manic episode. This lasts for 4 days instead of a week. Most importantly, this doesn’t cause disruption in social or work settings.
Major Depression Episode Symptoms
For understanding Bipolar Disorder meaning, we need to understand the depressive episode as well. According to the DSM-V, the criteria is as follows:
A] Firstly, 5 or more of the following symptoms are present during the 2-week phase & represent a change from the previous functioning as well as behavior. In addition to that, at least one of the symptoms must be either 1) Loss of interest or pleasure or 2) depressed mood.
- The majority of the day and most of the day, the individual is in a depressed mood. For instance, feels sad or empty in life. This low state of mood is observed by the people around them also.
- Lack of or decreased interest in any activities. Furthermore, this feeling is present most of the days at almost all times of the day.
- Drastic weight loss or weight gain without any effort on the same.
- Sleeping very less( insomnia) or sleeping too much(hypersomnia)
- Psychomotor agitation. This is mostly seen by people in their surroundings. In addition to that this is not subject to only the emotion of being slowed down or restless.
- Feeling tired and exhausted to do anything. They usually feel like this at most times of day nearly every day.
- The individual feels worthless in life. In addition to that, the feelings of guilt that are excessive, as well as inappropriate, occur almost every day.
- Concentration and the ability to focus decrease drastically.
- Repeated suicidal thoughts and death. The person has frequent thoughts related to death or committing suicide.
B] The symptoms felt & observed must cause significant distress & impairment in social and occupational settings.
C] The symptoms experienced should not be due to the physiological effects of a substance. for instance, a drug of abuse or medication is taken for treatment.
Types of Bipolar Disorder
Under the umbrella term & meaning of bipolar disorder, comes many variations of the same disorder. These variations are based on the symptoms & intensity of the mental illness.
- Bipolar I disorder- is when the person suffers from major depressive episodes and it is alternated by full manic episodes. The manic episode is present for a minimum of a week. On the other hand, the depressive episode is present for two weeks.
- Bipolar II disorder– is when the individual suffers from major depressive episodes alternating with hypomanic episodes that last for only 4 days instead of full manic episodes.
- Cyclothymic disorder- for a time duration of two years, the person has many phases with symptoms of hypomania and depressive symptoms. But, these symptoms do not meet the criteria for both episodes.
- The hypomanic & depressive phases are present at least half of the time. In addition, the person is not without these symptoms for more than two months at a stretch.
- The criteria for the major depressive, manic, or hypomanic episode has never been met.
Causes of Bipolar Disorder
Mental illnesses like Bipolar can have more than one cause. Firstly, those who have genetically been affected by it are prone to this disorder. However, not everyone with genetics is vulnerable to it. Secondly, external stimuli and surroundings (environment) is also significant for developing this disorder. The external aspects can be termed as triggers. Therefore, when these triggers are intense and severe, mental illnesses can occur.
Stressful situations and incidents in life lead to changes in mood. Furthermore, a person can have good or bad stress. But, when these stressful situations become severe, they can enhance the genetics of a person. Consequently, the person is more prone to get Bipolar Disorder.
Here some ways on how to overcome stress. Click here.
The American Psychological Association (Official Website) keeps posting articles on mental illnesses. Furthermore, guidelines and help are provided by many even online.
Hope you have received some valuable information on what the meaning of Bipolar is. Secondly, the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. Lastly, the details on Bipolar Disorder meaning.
FAQ | Bipolar Disorder Meaning – Symptoms and What Bipolar Means?
Yes, bipolar is a mental disorder. Furthermore, it is a serious disorder when the symptoms are seen frequently. In Bipolar disorder, the person can alternatively moods of high and low. At one moment they can be filled with euphoria. At the next moment, they can crash and reach their lowest low. This two-sided disorder is serious when it disrupts a person’s life.
The main episodes the person suffers from is either a depressive episode or a manic episode. These episodes occur alternatively. The person faces a roller-coaster of emotions and moods. When having a having manic episode, they are on top of the world, talking excessively, take decisions impulsively, have no sexual discretion with a flight of ideas. On the other hand, a depressive episode is when they a lack of interest or appetite and feeling low constantly.
When the extreme mood swings are affecting you at a level that disrupts or impairs your life is when you should meet a doctor. Highs are technically called mania. However, on the other hand, lows are periods of depressed mood. When you face extreme mood swings, that impair your daily activities then it is advised to check a doctor.
Editor’s Note | Bipolar Disorder
The pandemic has come like whirlwind in our lives. A sudden and immediate change in our lives has truly affected our mood as well as our emotions. Each and every one of us is facing uncertainty and challenges in our life. May it be financially or just coping with the new changes the COVID-19 has brought in our lives. Family time increased and we felt happy to be with our loved ones. However, on the other hand, uncertainty and economic scenario globally was falling, with bad news for many people.
To sum up, we all have had our own set mood fluctuations in this lockdown and pandemic. But, we are strong to face all the challenges. This is just a phase. Take good care of your physical health as well as your mask. Last, but not least, don’t forget to wear your masks.