Before introducing bipolar disorder, it is important to have a general understanding of affective disorder.

 

What is affective disorder?

Affective disorder is a disorder in which extreme and severe positive or negative emotions affect the daily lives of individuals. Affective disorders usually manifest themselves as unhealthy, long-lasting, and severe conditions. In this context, long-term refers to a general period of time that lasts more than two weeks. The most common negative emotion in affective disorders is depression; the most common positive emotion is mania.

 

There are two types of affective disorders:

1. Unipolar

Unidirectional affective disorder refers to a disorder in which only one negative affective direction manifests itself. Common unidirectional affective disorders include depression such as major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder.


2. Bipolar

Bipolar disorder refers to a disorder in which an individual presents two emotional directions and alternates between them.

Common bipolar disorders include cyclothymic disorder and bipolar 1&2 (generally referred to as bipolar disorder). It should be noted that simple mania (an affective disorder in which only positive emotions occur) is theoretically possible, but positive emotions are often accompanied by negative emotions as well. When a medical professional is assessing symptoms, an individual who exhibits both positive and negative emotional directions is generally considered bipolar.

While unidirectional affective disorders (such as depression) are introduced in other areas/webpages, the information below mainly pertains to bipolar disorder.

 

How to understand bipolar disorder?

Causes and emotional stages in bipolar disorder:

Bipolar disorder is currently considered to be a neurological illness caused by abnormal intracranial neurotransmitters and intracranial nerve activity rather than a purely psychogenic illness.

The manic and depressive stages of bipolar disorder can be understood from the emotional, behavioral and cognitive perspectives.

Manic stage:

  • Emotional state appears markedly elevated, euphoric and/or inflated. Emotions such as anger are difficult to control and prone to occur – which can lead to violent acts such as throwing or smashing objects.

  • Behaviour is positive, as if there is an endless abundance of energy. Examples include: a reduced need for sleep, increased exercise, high libido, loud and fast talking.
  • Cognitive logic is unrealistic and may exhibit signs of possible delusions, highly inflated self-esteem.


Depressive stage:

  • Emotional state  continues to be low and depressed. Negative emotions caused by states such as emptiness, loneliness, and helplessness frequently arise.
  • Behaviour due to emotional atrophy results in varying levels of fatigue, reduced efficiency, and even inability to enter the work or working state. At the same time, drowsiness, difficulty falling asleep, loss of appetite and other conditions may arise.
  • Cognitive state tends to lead towards negative, extreme, emotional, generalized, and ruminative (repetitive cycles) behaviours.


Individuals who experience bipolar disorder tend to have more persistent depressive episodes than manic episodes, and the transition between the depressive and manic phases is generally irregular.

 

How to effectively manage bipolar disorder?

At the personal level
  • Seek Medical Help:

    • In the face of mental illness, whenever and wherever, please be sure to seek professional help and follow medical advice.

  • Self-documentation:

    • If possible, refer to the two stages of bipolar disorder to keep a record of the circumstances in which certain emotions appear and the actions accompanying these episodes. This information helps medical professional better understand the situation.

 

Family and friends
  • Accept the facts; avoid blaming others
  • Increase the knowledge about the disorder; be able to identify the onset of episodes and help the individual to live a regular life
  • Try not to overstimulate the patient with excessive language, and avoid emotional communication
  • Help patients record behavioural patterns and emotional states
  • Try to provide a warm, comfortable, encouraging and loving environment
  • Encourage medical treatment and treatment

 

Diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder:

Bipolar disorder can be seen at any age, and its incidence has increased among adolescents in recent years. Diagnosis of bipolar disorder is a complex process that requires a period of observation and in-depth understanding of the patient's condition by a professional neurologist.

Common therapies include psychotropic medications (such as SSRIs), deep intracranial stimulation, and/or possibly some degree of cognitive behavioral therapy.

It is recommended, as a family member, friend or colleague of an individual living with bipolar disorder, to maintain a patient and caring attitude, advocate for medical treatment at the onset of symptoms, and encourage cooperation with medical professionals.