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What is Bipolar Disorder

  • Geetha Subramaniam

In recent months, several celebrities have brought the discussion of bipolar disorder and mental health to the headlines. These celebrities include Demi Lovato, Mariah Carey and Kanye West. Kanye revealed his battle with bipolar on his new album, ‘Ye’. On his new album ‘Ye’, West makes reference to living with bipolar disorder, dismissing the concept of the condition as a disability and describing it as “superpower”. West revealed he has bipolar disorder, and he doesn’t view it as a disadvantage.

West was not diagnosed until the age of 39, and there is indeed a dearth of positive narratives in relation to more severe or stigmatised mental health conditions. Kanye is not limited by his diagnosis or illness. Rather, he sees it in a positive light. The bipolar disorder is something that builds him up rather than tears him down. At his first glance, this may appear to be a wonderful message to those impacted by bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses. Kanye west had the burst of hypomania filled with feelings of happiness, creativity and unlimited potential. He never felt happier, smarter, funnier, sexier or more confident than when he was in that slightly elevated state. He could even argue that the depths of depression have given him more appreciation for the good times or more empathy.

Bipolar disorder known as manic depression, is a condition that affects moods, which can swing from one extreme to another. People with bipolar disorder have periods or episodes of depression like feeling very low and lethargic. During an episode of depression, may have overwhelming feelings of worthlessness which can potentially lead to thoughts of suicide.

During a manic phase of bipolar disorder, may feel very happy and have lots of energy, ambitious plans and ideas. They may spend large amounts of money on things they can’t afford and wouldn’t normally want. They may also feel very creative and view the manic phase of bipolar as a positive experience. However, they can also experience symptoms of psychosis, where they see or hear things that aren’t there or become convinced of things that aren’t true.

Bipolar disorder is characterised by extreme mood swings. These can range from extreme highs(mania) to extreme lows (depression). During a period of depression symptoms may include feeling sad, hopeless or irritable most of the time, lacking energy, difficulty concentrating and remembering things, loss of interest in everyday activities, feeling of guilt and despair ,feeling pessimistic about everything, self doubt, being delusional, having hallucinations and disturbed or illogical thinking, lack of appetite ,difficulty sleeping and suicidal thoughts.

On top of that, manic phase of bipolar disorder may include feeling very happy ,talking very quickly, feeling full of energy, feeling self- important, feeling full of great new ideas and having important plans, being easily irritated or agitated, not feeling like sleeping, doing things that often have disastrous consequences such as spending large sums of money on expensive and sometimes unaffordable items and making decisions or saying things that out of character and that others see as being risky or harmful.

Therefore, there are several options for treating bipolar disorder that can make a difference. The aim to control the effects of an episode and help someone with bipolar disorder live life as normally as possible. The following treatment options are available medication to prevent episodes of mania, hypomania(less severe mania) and depression. These are known as mood stabilisers and are taken every day on a long- term basis. Moreover, doing regular exercise, planning activities that they enjoy that gives a sense of achievement, as well as advice on improving diet and getting more sleep.

To prevent full episodes of Bipolar Disorder, there is few preventive steps such as maintaining a balanced diet and health lifestyle, give yourself a break from every hectic schedule and maintain adequate sleep. Furthermore, increase your body’s vitamin D and omega-3 levels as well, since these nutrients may help decrease the risk of mood swings. Be sure to avoid mood damaging foods, such as processed products and caffeinated drinks, among others. Taking a hobby, exercising regularly and practicing relaxation techniques may also help decrease stress levels and keep mood episodes from occurring.

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