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Bipolar Disorder, or ‘Bipolar Affective Disorder’, is a mood disorder that is characterised by severe mood swings in addition to other, lesser-known symptoms such as difficulty focussing, risk taking and feeling lethargic. It is estimated that around 1 in every 50 people suffer with Bipolar Disorder, but unfortunately, due to limited awareness, many sufferers go undiagnosed and struggle with the symptoms throughout their lives.
30th March 2022 marks World Bipolar Day, where members of the community collaborate to spread awareness and education about the disorder. In this blog, our experts will be looking at 5 key facts that are important to know ahead of this day of awareness.
As with all mental health days, the aim of World Bipolar Day is to improve awareness of Bipolar Disorder. This can include educating people on the specific symptoms, challenging the common misconceptions around the disorder and encouraging those who are struggling with symptoms to access the support that is available.
The more knowledge the world has about Bipolar Disorder and how it affects individuals, the more support we can provide on both a personal and professional level. Improving our own awareness can help sufferers feel less alone in their day-to-day struggles with their symptoms and receive help that’ll help them manage better.
Below we discuss 5 key facts about Bipolar Disorder to keep in mind during and after World Bipolar Day 2022.
No two cases of Bipolar Disorder are the same, and when engaging with a person who has the disorder, it is important to remember that. Diagnoses can vary significantly, and symptoms will also vary depending on the individual. For example, some may experience mood shifts quite intensely, whereas for others, these shifts might not be as noticeable. Some people with Bipolar Disorder may experience some of the lesser known symptoms, such as lack of appetite and difficulty sleeping.
When diagnosing Bipolar Disorder, experts will take this into account. They will usually complete a thorough assessment of symptoms (including their frequency and duration) that will include how you experience them day-to-day, shifts in your symptoms and possible triggers, as well as a thorough historical assessment that will involve exploring the onset.
It is largely believed that Bipolar Disorder can be caused by both biological and environmental factors – or most likely, a mixture of both. The NHS states that chemical imbalances in the brain, genetics and social factors can trigger the onset of Bipolar Disorder and an individual’s experience of certain symptoms.
The common misconception about Bipolar Disorder is that the most telling symptom is a sudden and extreme shift between joyous moods and depressive states. However, this is not always the case. Differences in neurotransmitter levels (the chemicals that affect brain functionality) between one individual to another can result in lesser-known symptoms of Bipolar Disorder in some, such as self-doubt, delusions, a lack of appetite and difficulty sleeping.
Depending on the severity of the symptoms, Bipolar Disorder has the potential to affect all aspects of someone’s life, which is why it is so important to seek help as soon as possible. Work, relationships, and even day-to-day tasks such as eating and sleeping can be altered by someone’s experience of the condition. With World Bipolar Day increasing our awareness of the impact of Bipolar on an individual, we can all access information freely that can help us better support those with Bipolar, including loved ones, colleagues and friends.
Bipolar Disorder can unfortunately trigger other mental health concerns, such as low self-esteem and anxiety. At Psymplicity Healthcare, we assess the presence of other mental health problems during the process of diagnosis, so you can be sure you have everything covered. It is also important to note here that according to Bipolar UK, having the disorder increases an individual’s risk of suicide by up to 20 times. If you need specialist support for this specific concern, there are a number of helplines available.
The key fact to remember on World Bipolar Day is that support is always available to those who need it. Having Bipolar Disorder can feel isolating, confusing and a little scary at times, but there are specialists who can support you in managing your bipolar symptoms and rediscovering your confidence going about everyday tasks.
While Bipolar Disorder can vary in terms of how much of an impact it has on an individual, it is always recommended to receive a professional diagnosis and seek support. Bipolar Disorder symptoms can cause serious shifts in the way someone thinks, feels and behaves, and professional guidance works to limit the impact of these shifts on someone’s day-to-day life.
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