feels "blue" at one time or another, or "good"
at other times. People who suffer from bipolar disorder, however,
have pathological mood swings from mania to depression, with
a pattern of exacerbation and remission that are sometimes
phase is characterised by elevated mood, hyperactivity, over-involvement
in activities, inflated self-esteem, a tendency to be easily
distracted, and little need for sleep. The manic episodes
may last from several days to months.
depressive phase, there is loss of self-esteem, withdrawal
and sadness, and a risk of suicide. While in either phase,
patients may abuse alcohol or other substances which worsen
appears between the ages of 15 and 25, and it affects men
and women equally. The exact cause is unknown, but it is a
disturbance of areas of the brain which regulate mood. There
is a strong genetic component. The incidence is higher in
relatives of people with bipolar disorder.
*Alternating episodes of mania and depression.
In the manic phase the following symptoms can be seen:
*Increase in goal-directed activities.
*Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are
*Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
*Increased involvement in activities that may be pleasurable,
but may have dire consequences.
*Decreased need for sleep.
*Patient may be more talkative than usual or may feel pressured
*Easily agitated or irritated
*Lack of self-control
episodes, symptoms are similar, but fewer and/or less intense.
Delusions, (false beliefs based on incorrect information about
external reality) if present, may be congruent with mood,
such as delusions of grandeur, or a sense of special powers
the depressive phase patients may experience:
*Persistent sadness and depressed mood
*Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, pessimism, and "emptiness"
*Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once
enjoyed, including sex
*Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
*Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
*Loss of appetite and/or weight loss, or overeating and weight
*Thoughts of death or suicide
are present, they may be congruent with mood such as delusions
of worthlessness or accusing voices. In "atypical depression",
patients sleep more than usual and have increased appetite.
A psychiatric history of mood swings, and observation of current
behaviour and mood are important in the diagnosis of this
disorder. A family history of manic-depressive illness may
be present. A physical examination may be performed to rule
out physical causes for the symptoms or potentially drug-induced
*Noncompliance with treatment, leading to a recurrence of
*Bipolar disorder may be complicated by alcohol and drug abuse,
often used as a strategy to "self-medicate" mood.
(R) thedailystar.net 2004