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Bi-polar affective disorder previously named Manic depressive psychosis is where a person suffers from shifts of mood from periods of elation to periods of depression.

In this Illness a person in depressed state may feel hopeless, helpless and worthless. He will have a lack of energy, prefer to keep to themselves, crying when alone, and have a lack of interest in any activities that may be considered pleasurable.

While on the contrary a person in a manic state will feel

  • Excited and happy mostly without a reason or logic behind his happiness.
  • He/ She may be irritable and get agitated at the smallest stimuli too.
  • They will feel an increased amount of energy and will feel a decreased need for sleep during this time without any complaints of fatigue.
  • He / She may engage in risky and impulsive behaviour such as spending sprees, reckless investments, drug abuse and impulsive and unprotected sex.
  • They will feel an inflated sense of self esteem and may be more talkative than usual and may experience a sense that their thoughts are racing and are very distracted.

Psychotic symptoms may be present during this episode too. Hallucination usually auditory and false beliefs such as believing they have great power or are Gods themselves or may even have persecutory delusions present.

A diagnosis is made when these symptoms occur for a period of at least one week and usually last for a period of 3- 4 months.

The cause for this Illness maybe

1)      Genetic

2)      Environmental i.e. Long term stress, Childhood abuse

3)      Seasonal Change


There are several kind of Bipolar Disorders namely

1)      Bipolar 1- wherein there are episodes of severe mania and severe depression

2)      Bipolar 2- wherein episodes of severe depression to hypomania ( a mild form of mania not requiring hospitalization)

3)      Cyclothymia- episodes ranging from hypomania to mild depression

4)      Rapid cycling Mania – 4 or more episodes of mania and depression in a year.

Treatment of bipolar disorder is usually done by  psychotherapy, use of mood stabilizing drugs such as lithium and sodium Valproate or an antiepileptic drug Carbamezepine may be used along with the use of newer generation antipsychotics and benzodiazepines. ECT is also a choice of treatment when there is unsatisfactory response to drug therapy.

So understanding the ailment at hand, recognizing symptoms early on and being educated about the options of treatment and resources available make it easy for families to deal with these kinds of psychiatric disorders their loved ones may face.






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