What causes the condition of bipolar disorder to emerge?
Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a mental disorder involving abnormally elevated moods alternating with periods of depression. In both emotional states, the energy levels, the ability to function, sleep habits and activities of an individual undergo drastic changes. A few warning signs of mania or hypomania include feelings of happiness, rapid speech, racing thoughts, overconfidence and risky behavior. On the other hand, the major symptoms of depression include feelings of hopelessness or despair, social withdrawal, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, having difficulties with memory, focus and decision-making, and suicidal thoughts or attempts. It has no singular cause. Bipolar disorder is the result of interaction between several risk factors. Some of the chief risk factors are: • Family History: Being born of parents with bipolar disorder or having siblings with this condition puts you at an increased risk. • Substance Abuse: Excessive use of drugs or alcohol puts you at an increased risk of developing bipolar disorder. Although not a cause of the disorder, substance abuse can worsen the mood episodes or cause a rapid onset of symptoms. This holds true for certain medication that can trigger the onset of manic or depressive episodes. • High Stress Levels: Unpredictable happenings in life, such as death of a family member, losing a job, or shifting to a new place can trigger episodes of mania or depression. Not sleeping enough is another risk factor of a manic episode. • Traumatic Events: Individuals with prior traumatic experience in their lives are more prone to bipolar disorder. This includes childhood factors like physical or sexual abuse, death of a parent, neglect and other traumatic incidents. • Gender: Both men and women are equally susceptible to bipolar disorder. However, rapid cycling of mood episodes is three times more likely to occur in women. Women are also more prone to experiencing mixed and depressive episodes in comparison to men.