okay. the other day i got information on bipolar disorder. interesting enough when i was younger it used to be called manic-depression, but whatever. i got this information because someone i know said that i might be one. i’m gonna put some of it up here. but really it is from wikipedia, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bipolar_disorder so now we can all be in the know about Luis’ real problem:
Major depressive episode
Signs and symptoms of the depressive phase of bipolar disorder include: persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, guilt, anger, isolation and/or hopelessness, disturbances in sleep and appetite, fatigue and loss of interest in usually enjoyed activities, problems concentrating, loneliness, self-loathing, apathy or indifference, depersonalization, loss of interest in sexual activity, shyness or social anxiety, irritability, chronic pain (with or without a known cause), lack of motivation, and morbid/suicidal ideation. In severe cases, the individual may become psychotic, a condition also known as severe bipolar depression with psychotic features.
Mania is generally characterized by a distinct period of an elevated, expansive, or irritable mood state. People commonly experience an increase in energy and a decreased need for sleep. A person’s speech may be pressured, with thoughts experienced as racing. Attention span is low and a person in a manic state may be easily distracted. Judgment may become impaired; sufferers may go on spending sprees or engage in behavior that is quite abnormal for them. They may indulge in substance abuse, particularly alcohol or other depressants, cocaine or other stimulants, or sleeping pills. Their behavior may become aggressive or intrusive. People may feel they have been “chosen”, are “on a special mission”, or other grandiose or delusional ideas. Sexual drive may increase. At more extreme phases, a person in a manic state can begin to experience psychosis, or a break with reality, where thinking is affected along with mood. Many people in a manic state experience severe anxiety and are very irritable (to the point of rage), while others are euphoric and grandiose.
In order to be diagnosed with mania according to DSM-IV a person must experience this state of elevated or irritable mood, as well as other symptoms, for at least one week, less if hospitalisation is required. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “A manic episode is diagnosed if elevated mood occurs with three or more of the other symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for 1 week or longer. If the mood is irritable, four additional symptoms must be present.”
Mixed affective episode
In the context of bipolar disorder, a mixed state is a condition during which symptoms of mania and clinical depression occur simultaneously (for example, agitation, anxiety, aggressiveness or belligerence, confusion, fatigue, impulsiveness, insomnia, irritability, morbid and/or suicidal ideation, panic, paranoia, persecutory delusions, pressured speech, racing thoughts, restlessness, and rage).
Even when on medication, some people may still experience weaker episodes, or have a complete manic or depressive episode. In fact, a recent study found bipolar disorder to be “characterized by a low rate of recovery, a high rate of recurrence, and poor interepisodic functioning.” Worse, the study confirmed the seriousness of the disorder as “the standardized all-cause mortality ratio among patients with BD is increased approximately 2-fold.” Bipolar disorder is currently regarded “as possibly the most costly category of mental disorders in the United States.”
The following behaviors can lead to depressive or manic recurrence:
- Discontinuing or lowering one’s dose of medication, without consulting one’s physician.
- Being under- or over-medicated. Generally, taking a lower dosage of a mood stabilizer can lead to relapse into mania. Taking a lower dosage of an antidepressant, may cause the patient to relapse into depression, while higher doses can cause destabilization into mixed-states or mania.
- An inconsistent sleep schedule can destabilize the illness. Too much sleep (possibly caused by medication) can lead to depression, while too little sleep can lead to mixed states or mania.
- Caffeine can cause destabilization of mood toward irritability, dysphoria, and mania. Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that lower dosages of caffeine can have effects ranging from anti-depressant to mania-inducing.
- Inadequate stress management and poor lifestyle choices. If unmedicated, excessive stress can cause the individual to relapse. Medication raises the stress threshold somewhat, but too much stress still causes relapse.
- Often bipolar individuals are subject to self-medication, the most common drugs being alcohol, and marijuana. Sometimes they may also turn to hard drugs, which can cause the condition to worsen. Studies show that tobacco smoking induces a calming effect on most bipolar people, and a very high percentage suffering from the disorder smoke.
Recurrence can be managed by the sufferer with the help of a close friend, based on the occurrence of idiosyncratic prodromal events. This theorizes that a close friend could notice which moods, activities, behaviours, thinking processes, or thoughts typically occur at the outset of bipolar episodes. They can then take planned steps to slow or reverse the onset of illness, or take action to prevent the episode from being damaging. These sensitivity triggers show some similarity to traits of a highly sensitive person.