What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder 1

The term “bipolar” is quite often used wrongly to describe people who change mood easily. While that might be partly true, bipolar disorder is much more than a change of mood. It’s a real problem that affects millions of people around the world.

Bipolar disorder is not simple; it is about phases of exaltation and low morale separated by moments during which mood is normal. Thus, a person affected by this disorder can see his or her level of energy increase to the point of becoming hyperactive, then on the contrary undergo a fall leading to a kind of depressive state. It is thus possible to speak of summits and chasms.

The euphoric phases can be accompanied by a decrease in sleep time, a lightning in ideas, an increased willingness to communicate, an overactivity, a extensive megalomania and possibly a search for thrills , which can be dangerous.

The depressive phases are sometimes so intense that the individual will have difficulty leaving hi or her home. In addition, a person with bipolar disorder will have a hard time balancing these two types of phases.

While it is one of the most common psychiatric illnesses — affecting between 1% and 2.5% of the population — bipolar disorder is still being researched to firmly determine its cause.

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To determine a cause, various avenues are explored, including that of a disruption of the biological clock in which the Clock gene is involved, the latter being active in the control of daily rhythms regulating appetite or sleep. In addition, it could be a dysfunction of mitochondria, responsible for the production of the energy necessary for the good shape of our cells.

There is a cure against bipolar and its mission is to regulate mood rather to get rid of it. In contrast, used since the nineteenth century, this lithium-based treatment is prescribed at reduced doses because of the side effects that accompany it, namely weight gain, hair loss or the decline in libido.

Emy Torres

Emy holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan and currently freelances part-time for The Talking Democrat.