Mood swings or Bi-Polar Disorder? Debunking the myths

The truth behind Bi-polar disorder 

The world we are currently living in, is quite big on mental health awareness. It has become quite vital to know and be educated about various disorders such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and so on. However, it is mandatory to know all about the mental health industry. This is essential because many times, individuals have been disregarded and ridiculed in terms of a mental health condition due to the lack of information available as well as poor or no diagnosis.

Moreover, there are individuals that also use mental health as a factor to bully people or label them as drama queens and attention seekers even though they may be suffering from a serious condition.

Bi-polar disorder is one such mental health disorder that usually goes unrecognised and is confused with characteristics such as mood swings and PMS which can be quite problematic with those who actually go through severe symptoms of bipolar disorder and are unable to identify them and let it go, thinking it might be a seasonal or situational phase.

What is Bi-Polar disorder? 

Let’s talk about what bi-polar disorder is and how can we identify and eliminate its symptoms. Bi-polar disorder is a condition that leads to extreme mood swings. It can consist of either elevated moods referred to as mania or instances where the individual faces extreme depression. There are various ways to manage the symptoms that one may go through due to bi-polar disorder.

Which symptoms should you be looking out for?

The initial symptoms of bi-polar disorder include shift in moods. It usually revolves around mania, hypomania, and depressive episodes. It is like experiencing an emotional high where the serotonin or dopamine levels in your body fluctuate and lead to major changes in how you feel.

It may cause an individual to experience variation in sleeping patterns with either little or too much sleep, loss in appetite, lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed indulging in, sadness, the constant feeling of being drained and hopelessness. It is quite difficult to identify these symptoms through self-diagnosis which is why it is always recommended that one should opt for professional advice.

Why is Bi-Polar disorder more prominent in women?

Even though bi-polar disorder has been diagnosed equally amongst men and women, women tend to experience reoccurring symptoms and are prone to relapse more often as compared to men. Most of the diagnosis is made during their late 20’s to 30’s and consists of depressive episodes instead of manic. These episodes of mania maybe experienced 4-5 times a year and can be referred to as rapid cycling. Due to the hormonal system a woman has, they may also experience other problems such as thyroid, anxiety, weight gain and even migraines. These changes can be interlinked with pregnancy, hormonal imbalance, menopause, menstruation as well as PCOS.

Bi-Polar disorder in men

The symptoms of bi-polar disorder are quite different in men as compared to women. They are likely to experiences a higher number of manic episodes instead of depression which usually leads them to act out and makes them more prone to substance abuse to cope with their condition. Since mental health is quite a taboo for men in a few households, it makes it harder for them to speak about these issues and continue to label it as the normal way that men behave.

 

What causes Bi-Polar disorder?

Doctors have conducted extensive research to conclude the various factors that may lead to bi-polar disorder. Firstly, it can be genetic depending on the history of your family. Apart from that, if an individual’s brain function is relatively different from others, there is a higher chance they undergo symptoms of bi-polar disorder. The most prominent factor that can be identified is environmental. When someone goes through a traumatic experience, surrounded with negative people or under extreme stress, it may cause them to develop bi-polar disorder.

How can we improve the symptoms?

The best advice I can offer as someone who suffers from bi-polar disorder is to consult a professional who may be able to diagnose the type of bi-polar disorder you have and suggest what method you should undertake to ensure you are on the road to recovery. Psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy as well as meditation and stress relief activities are a great way to stabilise your disorder.

Just know that Bi-Polar disorder does not mean it is the end of the world. Diagnosis is the first step to improving and moving towards healing. This does not define who you are and there is always a way out. Stay determined, take care of yourself and know that it will all get better.

Until next time!

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Areeba Siddiqui

Project Head at FHM Pakistan. An aspiring film-maker and music aficionado who strongly believes in the power of words to bring a major change. Analytical, dreamer and a philanthropist. All about sunsets, nature and embracing the true essence of life.

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