Bipolar Basics

You hear the term Bipolar Disorder batted around in conversations, but what is it?  Is it a brand new disease?  Bipolar is the new terminology for Manic Depression, alternating episodes of mania and depression.  It is a very serious disorder.  The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention states that 25-50% of people with Bipolar Disorder attempt suicide at least once.

Symptoms of the mania state are high levels of energy, excessive moodiness, and irritability, impulsive or reckless behaviors.     Every teenager on the planet has these traits but these must be excessive and combined with extraordinary depression cycles.  Symptoms of the depression state are feelings of hopelessness, sad, discouraged, inability to experience pleasure, insomnia or oversleeping, physically drained (small tasks exhausting), feeling worthless or guilty, concentration problems.  Each up or down episode typically lasts from one week to several weeks.

Bipolar Disorder tends to run in families.  So look at your relatives to see if you are more prone to excessive mood swings.  Other causes can be an imbalance of the brain chemicals Serotonin, Dopamine, and Norepinephrine, high levels of the hormone cortisol, abnormal levels of thyroid hormone, and a fast sleep wake cycle.

Triggers for the disorder are stress, getting married, going away to college, starting a new job, substance abuse (drug or alcohol addiction), and drugs such as antidepressants, cold medicine, caffeine, and sleep deprivation.

To control bipolar disorder (and you should definitely seek professional medical help) create a stable home and work environment.  Maintain a healthy diet.  Good nutrition can reduce symptoms.  Increase your intact of Omega-3 fish oils.  Omega-3 fats are needed for normal brain development and function and a lot of the causes of Bipolar Disorder are imbalances in brain chemicals.  Take a high potency multivitamin.  A Canadian study found that a multivitamin-multimineral supplement reduces the symptoms of bipolar disorder.


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