In mid-April, singer and actress Mariah Carey admitted that she had been living with bipolar disorder for 17 years and was hiding her diagnosis. Carey was afraid that this would interfere with her career. Bipolar disorder is common, and the more the society knows about it, the better.
Is bipolar disorder a further fashionable disease that everyone has?
Not at all. A manic depressive disorder is really attributed to common mental disorders, 1-3 percent of people have it, but the point here is not about fashion. They started talking about bipolar disorder more often than before because recently it has become obvious that it is worth talking openly about mental illnesses – this helps to remove stigma, the stamp of something shameful, which is better to be silent about. Therefore, many celebrities and ordinary people talk about their illnesses in interviews and social networks, participate in flash mobs, and talk about how crucial it is to seek medical help for English disease, post-natal depression, and bipolar mania.
Maniac depressive disorder is a disease that causes mood disorders – depression, mania, and hypomania. This affects the level of activity (for example, during the depression, people have a hard time doing daily activities) and can lead to unpleasant consequences if not treated or treated incorrectly. Moreover, a person sometimes does not realize how strongly emotional instability affects his life and the life of loved ones, denies the problem and does not want to be treated.
During periods of mania, a person is happy and feels on the rise. There are many ideas and much energy within him or her, emotions overwhelm, it feels like on top of the world, and do not want to sleep at all. He can work for two days without sleep, speak very quickly and incoherently, take risky acts, feverishly buy everything that he likes in the store (this is called a shopping addiction), engage in erratic sexual relations, easily become irritated and behave aggressively.
During a period of depression, a person may experience depression, irritability, guilt, or no particular feelings at all. It is difficult for him to concentrate, to think over plans, to keep in mind his intentions and promises. Sometimes these symptoms make people stay at home, refuse to communicate with loved ones. In a person during this period, libido decreases, he feels physical weakness, and some have thoughts about suicide.
Isn’t that the same as schizophrenia? Something like a split, right?
No. Unlike schizophrenia, the personality of a person with manic depressive disorder remains unchanged. This is always noticeable during periods of intermission – a state between periods of mania and heaviness. The disorder was previously called manic-depressive psychosis, and clinical psychology and psychiatry more often associated psychosis (a state where perception is impaired and it is difficult for a person to understand what is real and what is not) with schizophrenia. Now it is in the past, but even today, people with this disorder who have psychotic symptoms during periods of mania or depression (for example, hallucinations) are sometimes mistakenly diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Are there any professions that are closed for people with manic depressive disorder?
Yes, if the commission of psychiatrists considers that the disease is persistent, severe and often worsening manifestations. Thus, in Russia, a person with this disorder will not be able to become a civil servant, work in the country’s representative office abroad and gain access to data constituting a state secret. For people with this condition, several other professions are closed – for example, those associated with working on sea and river vessels. In addition, if the disease is severe (for example, intermission is very short), and it is not treated, this can prevent a person from working where it is not prohibited. In this case, the disability must be registered.
How do you know if you or anyone close to you has bipolar affective disorder? Are changes of mood the first signs?
Yes, often mood swings, atypical actions – this is the first thing that attracts attention. If it bothers you, makes it difficult to live, it is better to consult a doctor – only a specialist can diagnose and prescribe treatment. But in themselves, such differences do not yet mean that a person has a manic depressive disorder – this symptom is always accompanied by other signs, which were mentioned above.
Why do so many famous people have bipolar affective disorder and how is talent related to this diagnosis?
There are indeed many talented artists, writers, musicians, scientists among those who suffer from bipolar affective disorder, but researchers were unable to find a causal relationship between creative pursuits and manic depressive disorder.
People with this disorder often regard the period of mania as a good opportunity to create, invent something new, because they feel a surge of strength and are able to overcome a lot to achieve the goal. Clinical psychologist Kay Jamison in her An Unquiet Mind. A memoir of moods and madness book tells how difficult it is to abandon it: “Friends and relatives hoped that I would be glad to become “normal”, I would be grateful for the cure and easily accept good night`s sleep and energy level. But if you walked around the stars and threw your hands through the rings of the planets if you used to sleep only four to five hours a day, now you need eight, if you could stay awake all night before, but now you can’t, then integrate into the rhythm of simple mortals are no easy task. No matter how comfortable it is for others, such a life is unusual for you, full of restrictions, much less productive and insanely boring. ”
Euphoria, periods of productive work, creative inspiration – it is very difficult to refuse this in favor of pills and psychotherapy. However, the period of recovery is always followed by an emotional disaster, relationship problems, and financial difficulties.
Is it treatable?
Usually, modern anticonvulsants (lamotrigine), lithium, antipsychotics (olanzapine, risperidone) are used to cure the disorder. These are prescription drugs and only a doctor can prescribe them. Less often and also under close supervision, doctors use antidepressants – taking them can cause mania.
Still, need to learn to recognize signs of mania and depression. The doctor will also recommend regular exercise, tell you how to improve nutrition and sleep.
Psychotherapy can also help, but it is essential to choose a professional and method (cognitive-behavioral, family and interpersonal psychotherapy, individual and group sessions are suitable). And we must remember that it will not replace supportive treatment and pills.
My good friend has bipolar disorder. What to do? How to communicate with him?
The most important thing is to try to convince a friend to go to the doctor to find out the exact diagnosis and get treatment recommendations. Help me find a doctor and make an appointment, suggest going to an appointment together.
Doctors advise not to leave talking about a mental disorder (sometimes it is useful to compare a mental illness with physical illness). Ask questions and listen carefully to the answer. Say you’re worried, ask if you can discuss how your friend is feeling.
About the author
Melisa Marzett is a traveler who works as a writer freelancing for more than 5 years now currently writing articles for research paper revision. She is happy with her life, with her job and things overall. Among her hobbies are sports, handmade, cooking and fashion. She is always open to anything new and any challenges.