What is Bipolar Disorder?
- Jennifer Baxt, LMHC, LMFT, NCC, DCC
- Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a serious type of depression that will cause someone to fall into highly irritable moods for a period of time, and then drop into a very deep depression for another period of time. This type of depression or illness is not as common as some might think, being as only about one percent of the population is affected. There does not appear to be a particular gender or age range that is affected more than others; in fact, it is found in just as many men as women and will typically develop during the teenage years. It is a serious condition that when left untreated will not only greatly affect the life of the person who has it, it will also greatly affect those who care for them.
The cause of bipolar disorder or manic depression is not yet known. Research on the causes of depression continues, but there are treatments available for people who suffer bipolar disorder. It is just a matter of accepting that one has an illness and that treatment is necessary in order to get relief from the disorder. Bipolar disorder is one of the more serious kinds of depression, because it includes such a drastic change in mood, from a deep depression to a hyper and highly irritable mood in a short period of time. This hyper mood is often referred to as mania and the difference between the depression and mania can be a mild to severe change. Much research is being done to find out what causes bipolar disorder and why the severity appears to differ from person to person; however, there is some speculation as to whether it could be a genetic disorder, where it is passed from one generation to the next, and that high stress and traumatic events could trigger the manic and depressive episodes.
People who have bipolar disorder will often show a number of symptoms, besides the depression and the irritable moods, including impulsive behavior, inflated self-esteem and confidence, will sleep less, have racy thoughts, rapid speech and extreme optimism. People with this disorder will often avoid getting the help that they need, mostly because they have difficulty in seeing that they have the disorder; however, those that do come to realize that they might have a problem can look for help and get some of the treatment that they need. Most that have bipolar disorder and get the help they need are successfully treated and are able to live better lives as a result. Online counselors are available to anyone who has questions about the disorder that they or someone they know may have. Online counselors are also available to help people with the disorder online. All a person has to do is contact an online counselor, who will then work with the patient by messaging back and forth online. More and more people are turning to online counseling and getting the help that they need while benefiting from the convenience of maintaining contact with their counseling from their home computer.