What You Don't Know About Bipolar Disorder

Saturday 1 June 2013

Dr Eric Youngstrom is an expert on bipolar disorder.
He is a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, USA. He is also an acting director of the Center of Excellence for Research and Treatment of Bipolar Disorder.

Here, he shares some views:

Q. What is bipolar disorder? How is it different from the general mood swings that many people experience?

A. Bipolar disorder is a condition that leads to extreme changes in mood, energy and sleep. It's different as the swings happen with more frequency and intensity, and last much longer. The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines 4 different types of bipolar disorder:

I) person has had a manic episode at least once in his life.
II) person becomes seriously depressed, but also has a history of hypomania (a milder mania).
III) cyclothymic disorder, where the person has years of depressive and hypomanic symptoms without developing a full mania or depression.
IV) situations that don't fit into any of the above.

Q. How prevalent is bipolar disorder?

A. Bipolar disorders in children and teens are half as common as compared to adults (which affects 4% of the general population in the world). It is a third as common as depression. For youths, it appears equally common in both eastern and western parts of the world. For adults, it may be lower in Asia than in the US.

Q. What causes bipolar disorder? 

A. It is caused by a combination of biological and environmental factors. Other factors include genes, diet, stress, trauma, intense emotional conflicts in families. The risk factors appear to be the same for children, adolescents and adults. However, youths are more likely to experience mania (mixture of high energy with negative mood) while adults experience mostly depression.

Q. What are the most effective treatments for the disorder?

A. Treatments focus on smoothing out the highs and lows in mood and energy. The goal is to prevent the progression of bipolar disorder, delay relapse and improve functioning in between episodes. Some ways include understanding the triggers and ways of managing the illness, improve communication and reduce intense emotional family conflict, and emphasise regular sleep and activity patterns.

(Source: A double whammy, StarFit4Life, 28 October 2012)

What other options are available?

Take Lingzhi / Ganoderma
Mayo Clinic states that imbalanced hormones may be involved in causing or triggering bipolar disorder. Imbalanced brain chemicals called neurotransmitters also appear to play a significant role in bipolar disorder.

Lingzhi is known as an Adaptogen, whereby it has a normalizing influence on our body. This means it is capable of toning down the activity of the hyperfunctioning systems or strengthening the activity of hypofunctioning systems. Hence, Lingzhi is able to regulate back the imbalances and thereby improve the bipolar conditions.

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