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Bipolar Disorder Symptoms and Treatment


Mental disorders are illnesses that cause emotional changes, the disruption of thoughts or behavior. Distress and challenges in participating in social events are common symptoms of mental diseases. Bipolar disorder (BPD), also known as manic depression, denotes a mental disorder characterized by significant mood fluctuations and can be life-threatening (Feldman, 2020). One can handle mood changes and other indicators of bipolar illness by completing a treatment regimen, even though it is a permanent condition. BPD is often managed with medication combined with psychiatric counseling. Around 45 million people globally are affected by this condition (Rowland & Marwaha, 2018). It usually includes manic and depressed episodes, with normal mood intervals.

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Definition and Prevalence

BPD can be defined as a mental condition characterized by sharp mood shifts. The average prevalence rate of bipolar psychiatric conditions is 2.4 percent, with 0.6 percent and 0.4 percent in bipolar types I and II, respectively, according to a major cross-sectional study of 11 nations (Rowland & Marwaha, 2018). BPD affects both men and women at the same rate. However, there have been variations in the gender-based prevalence of types I and II. According to Rowland and Marwaha (2018), males have a larger incidence of manic episodes with BPD type I, while females have an increased prevalence of BPD type II. In a 2018 research, Males (2.9 percent) and females (2.8 percent) had similar rates of bipolar disorder (Rowland & Marwaha, 2018). However, the difference in BPD prevalence between males and females is significantly low.

Although BPD has a lifetime prevalence, it starts at a specific age. According to Rowland and Marwaha (2018), it appears to begin in the early 20s on average, while data vary between 20 and 30 years. A bimodal frequency of bipolar disorder has been proposed, which is backed by large community cohort research that identified two sharp peaks in the onset periods: 15–24 and mid-40s (Rowland & Marwaha, 2018). From the time it is diagnosed, the condition continues throughout their lives but is manageable through treatment and therapy.


No single factor can be attributed to the high BPD prevalence. However, scientific research has revealed a strong connection between social, environmental, and physical situations (Rowland & Marwaha, 2018). Childhood trauma can be a major cause of BPD, with individuals who experienced abuse and neglect unable to regulate their emotions. Rowland and Marwaha (2018) note that stressful events, such as a relationship breakdown, can also contribute to the probability of developing BPD. When social pressures and trauma are experienced in childhood or adolescence, one may develop BPD later in life (Feldman, 2020). The worries of life which cause stress may also account for the high prevalence of BPD.

Many health conditions can also be traced across family lineages. Researchers have found that many people who develop BPD have a close relative, such as a parent or sibling, with the same condition (Rowland & Marwaha, 2018). It is crucial to note that the family plays an essential role in shaping one’s environment and may therefore form the link for transmitting BPD. In summary, BPD is caused by two main causes; stressful life situations and genetics.


BPD is a multifaceted condition characterized by episodes of extreme mood shifts, neuropsychological deficiencies, immunological and metabolic abnormalities, and functional impairments. It is among the biggest causes of disability globally and is linked to high rates of early mortality through suicide and health complications (Carvalho et al., 2020). Women are more likely to be diagnosed with BPD early in adulthood, in their 20s or 30s (Rowland & Marwaha, 2018). They may first detect symptoms throughout pregnancy or after delivery in some circumstances, and they are also more likely to suffer from bipolar II than bipolar I (Rowland & Marwaha, 2018). Although someone with BPD may consider a high bar of mania attractive, the “high” does not stop at a comfortable or manageable level. In a short time, moods shift to more irritated, behavior is quite unpredictable, and judgment becomes less clear.

During mania, individuals often act quickly and make unwise decisions unnecessarily. Contrary to mania, hypomania does not usually cause work-related problems, classroom challenges, or problems with one’s friends and family (Carvalho et al., 2020). Hypomania episodes are not characterized by psychotic moments, as with mania (Feldman, 2020). They usually do not last long or must be treated in a hospital. With manic episodes, individuals might be very efficient and energized, but they might not notice any other shifts in the mood at the same time.

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Many people, even those with more severe cases of BPD, can get help. Prescription and psychotherapy are usually part of a good treatment plan. Sometimes, people may have to take a lot of different prescribed medications and collaborate with their doctor before determining the best medicines (Feldman, 2020). Prescription drugs commonly used to treat BPD include antidepressants and second-generation antipsychotics (Carvalho et al., 2020). Treatment regimens could include medicines that help people sleep or deal with anxiety. Antidepressants are often used to handle bouts of depression in bipolar patients. They are usually combined with mood stabilizers to keep the antidepressant from causing a psychotic break, which can be dangerous.

BPD patients can benefit from psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy,” which can help them improve their lives. Psychotherapy denotes a range of therapeutic approaches that try to help individuals figure out and change bad emotions, opinions, and behavior patterns (Carvalho et al., 2020). It can help BPD patients and their families get the help and information they need. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and psycho-education are two types of therapies that can be used to help people with a wide range of symptoms (Rowland & Marwaha, 2018). For specific BPD conditions, family-focused therapy and interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) may also be used for effective treatment.

Familial Difficulties

BPD is a mental illness that affects the patient and their friends and family. Living with someone who has BPD entails learning to manage the challenges that symptoms can bring, as well as supporting or coping with the sick. A family is impacted in a range of ways varying with the nature of an individual’s disease and how well it is treated. The household may suffer some anxiety when mood changes are modest, but with time and knowledge about the mental disorder, they may learn how to cope with the condition’s demands (Carvalho et al., 2020). Managing someone with severe symptoms may be extremely stressful for a family, particularly when they are not given a chance to learn how to manage mental illness.

It can be draining, particularly for families with little children. As members of the family learn to deal with having a loved one with BPD, they may feel a range of emotions. There are no right or incorrect feelings, and families will undoubtedly experience loss and grief, as with any serious sickness (Carvalho et al., 2020). Families may believe they have lost a member of their family. Having a mental disease such as BPD does not rule out the possibility of living a successful and happy life. This implies that the person and their family are now confronted with a new challenge. Families are also concerned about their kin’s safety, as a psychotic state can lead to harmful and/or risky behavior. One strategy to alleviate this anxiety is to create a strategy for how families will deal with adversity.


BPD is among the most common types of mental disorders. It usually includes manic and hypomanic episodes, with intervals of normal mood in between. Manic episodes are characterized by a heightened or irritated mood, excessive activity, quick speech, increased self-esteem, and a reduced desire for sleeping. BPD can also be diagnosed in those who experience manic episodes but do not have depressive episodes. Effective therapies for the acute stage of BPD and the control of recurrence are available. The importance of psychosocial assistance in treatment cannot be overstated. BPD’s emotional aspect can be exceedingly distressing for family members. It can put a strain on relationships to the point of breaking them. Furthermore, the medical and social concerns associated with bipolar disease may generate extra sadness and guilt for all parties involved. However, with intense and empathetic long-term counseling, families can overcome it together.


Carvalho, A. F., Firth, J., & Vieta, E. (2020). Bipolar disorder. New England Journal of Medicine, 383(1), 58-66. Web.

Feldman, R. S. (2020). Psychology and Your Life with P.O.W.E.R Learning (4th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.

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Rowland, T. A., & Marwaha, S. (2018). Epidemiology and risk factors for bipolar disorder. Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, 8(9), 251–269. Web.

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