Bipolar disorder | Causes and treatment

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is one of the most common mental illnesses.

It is distinguished by a wide range of psychological and physical symptoms.

The disease’s aetiology is also quite variable.

Please continue reading for more information on bipolar disorder types and treatment.


Bipolar disorder

Doctors classify bipolar disorder as a chronic mental illness whose symptoms vary according to type.

The patient’s psychological state varies between manic (emotional highs) and depressive episodes (emotional lows).

Although it is a chronic disorder, the severity of symptoms can be controlled, with the right treatment plan and some lifestyle changes.


The different types of bipolar disorder

This disorder is characterized by several types, the most important of which are:

Bipolar 1 disorder

Mania is the main symptom of this type. 

Patients may have episodes of mania lasting a week or have at least one episode in their lifetime, and sometimes a hospital stay is necessary.

This patient also develops episodes of depression that may last for two weeks.

Moreover, the person sometimes suffers from a mixture of episodes of depression and mania together.


Bipolar 2 disorder

Depressive episodes predominate in this type, along with a few episodes of hypomania.


Cyclothymic Disorder

Long-term depressive episodes are the most significant characteristic of this type. 

Adults may experience depressive episodes for two years or more, with brief periods of normal mood lasting up to eight weeks.


Other types of bipolar disorder

Sometimes a person with bipolar disorder has symptoms that do not fall under a specific type of disorder, in which case they are called “other types of bipolar disorder.”


Bipolar disorder causes

Although the exact cause of this disease is not known yet, scientists have indicated the participation of some factors in this disorder, including:


Biological causes

Examinations revealed some biological changes in the brain of people with bipolar disorder, and although the significance of these changes has not been proven, it helps to identify the causes.


Genetic causes

This disorder is more common in first-degree relatives with the same condition.


Risk factors for bipolar disorder

Some factors increase the risk of developing this disorder, such as:

  • Having first-degree relatives with this disorder.
  • Difficult periods of psychological pressure.
  • Excessive use of alcohol or drugs.


Bipolar disorder symptoms

bipolar disorder symptoms

Bipolar disorder symptoms differ depending on which type you have. 

Depressive episodes differ from manic episodes in terms of symptoms.


Symptoms of bipolar disorder in adults

Adults with this disorder may experience the following symptoms:

Symptoms of manic episodes

  1. Feeling happy and content but quite irritable.
  2. Distraction and anger.
  3. Not wanting or feeling the need to sleep.
  4. Having lots of contradictory ideas.
  5. Irrational thinking and hallucinations
  6. Speaking quickly and juggling multiple conversations at the same time.
  7. A sense of grandeur and exaggerated importance.
  8. Doing a lot of work simultaneously and moving fast.
  9. Anorexia.


Symptoms of depressive episodes

Depressive episodes affect the life of the individual and his relationships with the surrounding people, and symptoms such as the following appear:

  1. Feeling sad or anxious and losing hope in everything.
  2. Sleep problems (difficulty falling asleep or not wanting to wake up).
  3. Speaking slowly, not wanting to talk.
  4. Difficulty concentrating and making decisions and forgetfulness.
  5. Increased appetite or cravings for food, which leads to weight gain.
  6. Feeling unable to do the smallest and simplest things.
  7. Loss of passion and lack of interest in anything.
  8. Feelings of inferiority and worthlessness with suicidal thoughts.


Symptoms of bipolar disorder in teenagers and children

Symptoms can be difficult to identify for both adolescents and children because they vary from child to child and overlap with symptoms of other children’s disorders.

However, they are pretty similar to those experienced by adults.


Diagnostic criteria of bipolar disorder

We consult a doctor for diagnosis if symptoms have been present for at least a week or if the symptoms necessitate hospitalization.

Delayed diagnosis or unavailability of appropriate treatment worsens the condition.

Doctors need several tests to diagnose bipolar disorder, such as:

Physical examination

The doctor conducts a physical examination to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms.


Psychological evaluation

It is performed under the supervision of a specialized psychiatrist, and it is primarily used in the diagnosis, allowing the doctor to assess the severity and type of the disorder.


Mental state charts

The doctor usually plans with the patient’s assistance.

He asks the patient to keep a psychological chart for a specified period, in which the patient records his psychological state and changes over time. 

The patient also keeps a record of his sleep patterns and quality.

Finally, the doctor compares the visible symptoms with the known symptoms to determine the type and severity of the disorder.


What is bipolar disorder treatment?

This disorder is considered a chronic mental illness.

Therefore, treatment aims to reduce the severity of symptoms and the rate of recurrence, and it includes the following:

  • Psychotherapy is a vital part of treating a bipolar patient and can be provided as individual or group therapy.
  • Drug treatment under medical supervision reduces the symptoms of depressive and manic episodes, and it depends on the type of disorder and seizures that the patient suffers from, so the medication varies from person to person.
  • Regular medical follow-up.
  • Hospitalization in case of severe symptoms especially patients with bipolar type 1.
  • Support from family and friends.


Natural treatments for bipolar disorder

Some natural remedies are beneficial for bipolar patients.

However, these remedies should not be used without first consulting a doctor.

These treatments can also interfere with the medications the patient is taking.

There are some herbs and natural supplements that help stabilize mood and relieve symptoms in patients, such as:

  • Fish oil.
  • Rhodiola Rosea.
  • Amino acid supplement, such as: (SAME).



Suddenly stopping medications without consulting a doctor or not adhering to the correct treatment plan leads to some complications such as:

  • Suicidal thoughts and a desire to end life.
  • Drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Murders.
  • Irresponsible behavior due to loss of awareness.


Coping skills for bipolar disorder

If you or someone around you suffers from this type of disorder, here are some crucial tips and guidelines:

  1. Gather as much information as possible about the disorder, and follow the guidelines for optimal outcomes.
  2. If you suspect that you or someone close to you is suffering from the symptoms of this disorder, consult a specialist doctor before taking any medications.
  3. Provide support to loved ones who have bipolar disorder, take their words seriously, and consult their doctor if they express suicidal thoughts.
  4. If you suspect someone is about to hurt themselves or others, call the emergency services immediately, remove any sharp objects from their vicinity, and avoid yelling, threatening, or arguing with them.


In conclusion, after learning about bipolar disorder, some key points to remember are to provide assistance to anyone who suffers from one of the above symptoms and refer them to a specialized psychiatrist.


Also, if the victim is a close relative, be sure to assist him in adhering to the doctor’s treatment plan to reduce the number and severity of the episodes to avoid complications.


Read Also;

Anxiety disorders treatment | When will my mental storm calm down?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder| Types and symptoms

Translated by
Dr. Basant Atef

Translator. Dr. Basant Atef

I am a pharmacist with a Ph.D. in microbiology. Passionate about delivering medical sciences to others. I love explaining and researching medical information in both Arabic and English. It always bothered me that medical information in Arabic is so scarce, so I took it upon myself to help change that. So, I specialized in SEO medical content writing as well as medical translation. When I am not working on that, you’ll find me out exploring the world with my two wonderful boys.
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