Understanding Bipolar Depression

Bipolar depression is often thought of as one of the scariest forms of depressive disorders. It can seem ominous and dangerous. The truth about bipolar depression lies beyond the myths. Let’s talk about what bipolar depression really is all about. This disorder has been referred to by many names. The name most people are familiar with is manic depression. More recently it has been termed bipolar depression. Regardless of how this disorder is referred to, if you or someone you know is affected by the disorder, then it helps to understand what it is and who is at risk for it.

What Is Bipolar Depression?

Depression, as you may know, has telltale signs. For instance, one well known sign of depression is that your mood changes, often turning dark and pessimistic. You withdraw from friends and family. Your emotions can wreak havoc on you on a daily basis.

For some people, depression can twist and turn unexpectedly. Feelings of sadness suddenly change and your mood may take a swing upward. You very suddenly are running around like the Energizer bunny. Your thoughts race out of control and your actions can be very unpredictable.

You might even think that your depression is gone and you are getting better, but that might not be the case. What is happening to your brain now is the opposite side of bipolar depression. What makes this disorder ‘bipolar’ is there are two polar behaviors and they are both inside of your brain.

The “Depression”

This side of the bipolar disorder is self-explanatory. The sufferer exhibits most of the signs of clinical depression. They may even have thoughts of suicide. For those around you, the signs of depression are often very recognizable, but they may not understand that ìjust do somethingî may not be the advice a depressed person needs.

Being “Manic”

This side of the bipolar disorder signals to others that something is going on outside of the recognizable depression. Manic behavior may be mild, almost seem ‘normal’ or it can be wrought with violent or extreme outbursts. For those around you, bipolar disorder, especially the manic side, can be like walking on eggshells.

Who is at risk of having bipolar disorder?

Those who suffer from bipolar disorder often have certain risk factors in common. One of the biggest is that they have a relative who has the same disorder. This doesn’t mean that you will definitely develop the disorder, but you are at greater risk than someone who does not have this disorder in their family history.

Other risk factors may increase the likelihood of a person developing a bipolar disorder. If a person has abused drugs or alcohol, either in the past or currently, this may lead to this disorder. Trauma such as PTSD, death of a loved one, violent crime, or abuse in a person’s life can also be a risk factor for developing bipolar disorder. Health problems can be a risk factor, as well. Many forms of depression can be brought on by the difficulties of dealing with physical ailments.

Bipolar depression can go on for years before it is properly diagnosed. The cycles between mania and depression can be short or long, and others may not understand or recognize the symptoms. If your symptoms are not severe, or you have a knack for hiding your symptoms, people around you may think that you are just experiencing ‘the blues.’

This is a serious illness that should be treated immediately upon diagnosis. If any of the symptoms sound familiar to you, either in yourself or someone you love, don’t hesitate even a moment to consult your doctor. You need a trained professional and an objective observer to diagnosis bipolar depression. Treatments and support are just a phone call away.

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