Bi-polar Disorder Awareness

By: Atushi Patel, Tanha Patel and Parineet Parmar

What is Bi-polar Disorder?

Bi-polar disorder (also known as manic-depressive illness) is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. The changes in mood, energy and activity levels range from periods of extremely energized behavior known as manic episodes to very sad, hopeless periods known as depressive periods. Less severe manic episodes are known as hypomanic episodes.
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Five Types of Bipolar Disorder

There are five basic types of Bipolar disorder, all of them involve clear changes in mood, energy, and activity levels.

Bi-polar I Involves periods of severe mood episodes mania to depression that can last for several days. These individuals are usually hospitalized.

Bi-polar II Disorder: Milder form of mood elevation involving episodes of hypomania at alternate its period's severe depression.

Cyclothymic Disorder: Numerous periods of hypomanic symptoms as well as numerous periods of depressive symptoms lasting for at least 2 years (1 year in children and adolescents.

Mixed Episodes: Is when mania and depression occur simultaneously. Individuals might feel hopeless and depressed yet energetic and motivated to engage in risky behavior.

Rapid-cycling bipolar: Individuals experience 4 or more episodes of mania, depression or both within 1 year.

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Causes of Bi-polar Disorder

Doctors don't know the exact cause of Bipolar disorder but have somewhat of an idea.

Genetics: Bi-polar disorder tends to run in families, so researchers believe there is a genetic predisposition for the disorder. Scientists are currently exploring the presence of abnormalities in specific genes. In studies of identical twins, scientists report that if one identical twin has Bipolar disorder then the other twin has a greater chance of developing the disorder than any other sibling in the family. Researchers conclude that the lifetime chance of an identical twin of a bipolar twin to also develop bipolar disorder is about 40%-70%.

Biological: Nerve cells communicate with each other through chemical messengers called neurotransmitters, the communication system in the brain can be disrupted. Neurotransmitter imbalances can play a role in bipolar disorder. Researchers believe that some neurotransmitters including serotonin and dopamine don't function properly in individuals with bipolar disorder

Environmental factors: Abuse, mental stress, a significant loss, or some other traumatic events including the death of a loved one, losing your job, the birth of a child, and moving houses may contribute towards bipolar disorder risk.

Symptoms of Bi-polar Disorder

There are many different symptoms of bi-polar disorder depending on the type the person has. The main symptom is being dramatic and having unpredictable mood swings. A person with the bi-polar disorder will experience both mania and depression symptoms.

Mania Symptoms

  • Excessive happiness
  • Excitement
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Increased energy
  • Less need for sleep
  • Racing thoughts
  • High sex drive
  • Tendency to make grand and unattainable plans

Depression Symptoms

  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of energy
  • Change in appetite
  • Uncontrollable crying
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
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I’m Bipolar, But I’m Not…

Treatments and Management Options

There are multiple treatments for disorders. These treatments depend on the type of disorder the individual has. However, every individual follows the same step-by-step process in the road to recovery.

The Step-by-Step Process

Initial treatment: First the patient will immediately start taking medication so they can balance their moods. Once their symptoms are in control the patient will move onto their best option for long-term treatment.

Continued treatment: When suffering from bi-polar disorder, patients require lifelong treatment. The different treatments a doctor can recommend are; maintenance treatment, day treatment programs, substance abuse treatment, and hospitalization.


There are different types of medications used to treat bi-polar disorder. The type and dose of medication depend on the symptoms of the patient.

Mood Stabilizers: Mood-stabilizing medications to control manic and hypomanic episodes. This medication is usually used to treat I disorder and II disorder.

Antipsychotics: This medication is used if symptoms of mania or depression continue even during treatment with other medication.

Antidepressants: Antidepressants are added to help with depression and are usually prescribed with a mood stabilizer or antipsychotic.

Anti-anxiety medication: Helps to relieve anxiety and improves sleep. It is used on a short-term basis


There are different therapy options that can help children and adults with the bi-polar disorder.

Psychotherapy: This type of therapy helps with children to develop coping mechanisms, look at learning difficulties, and resolve social problems.

Cognitive behavioral therapy: The focus for this is looking for unhealthy, negative behavior and replacing them with healthy positive behavior. The patient can also learn strategies to manage stress and cope with difficult situations.

Interpersonal and Social Rhythm therapy: This therapy focuses on setting a daily routine for sleep, diet and exercise. This helps the patient manage their moods.

Electroconvulsive therapy: Electrical currents pass through the brain to affect levels of neurotransmitters. It is an option for patients who aren't responding to other medication, can't take antidepressants, are at high risk of suicide, and if you have mania or severe depression.

Transcranial Magnetic Simulation: For this procedure, the patient sits in a chair with a treatment coil attached to their scalp. Then the coil sends magnetic impulses to stimulate nerve cells in your brain that partake in mood regulation and depression. The patient would have five treatments. Each treatment takes up six weeks.

Developments in Treatments

Experts do not know much about bi-polar disorder as of yet. Doctors are looking into ways genetics plays into this disorder. Much research about bi-polar disorder is still required. Due to social media, in the recent years, more research about bi-polar disorder has been done than that of 10 years ago. Things such as Bell Lets Talk allow people to see that those with mental disorders are not 'crazy' and allows us to get rid of those stigmas created against them. This helps people open up more and makes people talk about the issue of how society views those with mental disorders, leading to companies such as Bell to start looking into mental disorders such as Bi-polar Disorder.

Famous people who have Bi-polar Disorder