Vincent Van Gogh, Beethoven, and Virginia Woolf suffered from bipolar disorder, which in one way or another was reflected in their work. Of our contemporaries, BAR is diagnosed in Jim Carrey, Ben Stiller, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. About psychiatric disorders and generally in recent years, they began to speak more often, recognizing their danger and increasing prevalence, but thanks to the “rich and famous” the topic became really popular. Psychologists are sure that this is very good.
Bipolar affective disorder, also known as manic-depressive psychosis, manifests itself in the form of sharp mood swings from hypomania (euphoric state) to depression. In a recent lecture for TED, psychologist Helen M. Farrell described the myths and facts associated with the disease.
Bipolar disorder = depression
It is a myth. Bipolar disorder can develop in different ways, it all depends on the type of personality and other individual characteristics. It is accepted to distinguish bipolar disorder from the first type (BAP I) and bipolar disorder of the second type (BAP II). If a person suffers from BAP I, he experiences frequent mood swings with the maximum possible points. At the same time, BAP II often causes less extreme periods of euphoria, but a more protracted depression that can last for years.
Unlike bipolar disorder, depression is not a symptom of mania as a separate disease. That is, a person in depression even occasionally is not in a position when he is ready to work from morning till night and turn off the highest mountains and does not behave impulsively, as is often the case with the BAR.
People with BAP should take medicine
Also a myth. If during a period of emotional recovery a person with bipolar disorder will take antidepressants, this will only strengthen his mania. On the other hand, during periods of prolonged depression, special drugs are not just possible, but necessary. A study conducted by The New England Journal of Medicine showed that in some cases, antidepressants, placebo, and stabilizing drugs are equally effective, so treatment, in any case, should be handled by a specialist.
BAP can lead to suicide
But this is the truth. Bipolar disorder gradually worsens the mental state of a person, if not dealt with. The delay in diagnosis and treatment can lead to personal, social and financial problems of the patient, making it difficult to communicate with loved ones. The lack of support and social contacts, in turn, leads to suicidal thoughts. At the moment, doctors estimate the risk of suicide in the BAP at 10-15%, and this is already a lot.
Bipolar disorder can be controlled
Fortunately, this is so. If a person with bipolar disorder is on time to seek help, frightening consequences of the disease – from changes in the structure of thinking to suicide – will be prevented. It is important to understand that only an expert can choose the optimal treatment by working with the patient and analyzing his reactions to triggers and therapy. There are cases, for example, when a person with BAP was helped by a healthy sleep and wakefulness regime, regular physical activity and walking outdoors. In other cases, however, it is difficult to do without placing the patient in a medical institution with constant supervision.