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Bipolar: The Facts

Thursday, October 16th, 2008 Bipolar: The Facts

There are four main types of bipolar disorder.

Bipolar one disorder this involved at least one high or manic episode lasting at least a week, some people with bipolar one will only have manic episodes, although most bouncing depression.

Bipolar two disorder this involves at least one episode of depression but only mild manic episodes which are called hypomania. “Rapid Cycling” this is where you have more than four mood swings across a year this effects more that one in ten people who have bipolar disorder it can happen with both types one and two.

Cyclothymic disorder this is a milder form of bipolar you may go back and forth between mild depression and a slightly elevated mood. But these mood swings are shorter and less severe. Some people with cyclothymic disorder go on to have a stronger type of bipolar disorder, but this doesn’t happen to everyone.

There’s also bipolar disorder not otherwise specified this really means your experiencing bipolar disorder but it doesn’t fit easily in the four main types.

About 1% of the adult population has a bipolar disorder. 12% across a wider spectrum. It most commonly first appears in young people in their early 20s. Men and women alike are affected. 25-50% will make one attempt at suicide. 10-15% succeed. The risk is highest in the initial years of the illness. 60% drug or alcohol abuse at some point in their lifetime.

Looking as causes it is most possible that several genes control mood changes as these are to fault. On average 1 in 12(8%) of the immediate relatives, of those with bipolar disorders, will have the same disorder. Some people with bipolar disorder will not have any relatives with bipolar disorder while others will have more.

Lithium is the most commonly used medication in the UK for bipolar affective disorder. It comes as a tablet and has been used for many years. However, it is not clear how it works. It is used to treat episodes of mania, hypomania and depression. It is also taken by many people long-term as a ‘mood stabiliser’ to prevent episodes. Lithium often works well, but does not work in all cases. It tends to prevent episode of mania better than episodes of depression.

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