As the name suggests, bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that is characterized by phases of extreme highs and extreme lows. This means that someone suffering from bipolar disorder would experience peaks of abnormally heightened moods, as well as phases of a deep depressive state. The disorder may be further categorized into bipolar 1 and bipolar 2. Below are the key similarities and characteristic differences of both.
To be categorized as having bipolar 1, the sufferer should have experienced one or more ‘manic’ episodes, and one or more ‘deep depressive’ episodes. While both the categories experience both states, bipolar 1 sufferers tend to experience far more severe episodes of both. A depressive episode may be identified through symptoms like extreme sadness, uncontrollable crying, loss of interest in everything, thoughts of death or suicide.
A manic episode, on the other hand, may lead to excessive energy, restlessness, heightened sexual desire, impulsiveness, lack of need for sleep, euphoria, recklessness, engaging in potentially risky or dangerous activities. Episodes of those suffering from bipolar 1 may even require hospitalization.
Bipolar 2 has similar symptoms and episodes as bipolar 1, the key difference being the severity of the episodes. This means that while those with bipolar 2 also suffer through episodes, they are far less intense, and termed as hypomania. An individual with bipolar 2 may still be able to go about their day-to-day tasks, and their episodes may not require hospitalization.
One of the major issues with bipolar 2 is that it is very difficult to diagnose because the manic episodes simply feel like high energy and euphoric day (less intense than bipolar 1), because of which one may fail to report it to the mental health professional. Discussing only the depressive episodes may lead to a wrongful diagnosis of depression rather than bipolar 2.
With both categories of bipolar disorder, effective treatment and intervention by a trained mental health professional are essential to help recognize, diagnose, address, and manage the disorder. Treatments may include mood stabilizers, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, antidepressants, and ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) for major episodes.
Just like other medical treatments, mental health treatments too can be rather expensive to afford. In India crowdfunding has been beneficial to those who need funds for medical treatment, and we at Impact Guru hope to extend this opportunity to those seeking mental health treatment as well, for yourself or a loved one. Start a fundraiser on Impact Guru’s crowdfunding India website if you are someone who is seeking financial support.