Here’s why this disease is still a complex matter despite competent therapies
The actual cause of bipolar disorder is still unclear. Some people have a family history of such conditions which also includes depression. Stressful life events including those in childhood, sleep deprivation can trigger these disorders. Worse still, most lab tests have not proven helpful in diagnosing bipolar disorder. An important diagnostic tool remains an open and frank discussion with the doctor about the underlying symptoms.
The date March 30 is best known in the modern world as the date of birth of Vincent Van Gogh, one of the most influential artists in Western art history, and the date of awareness of a complex disease whose this great artist was diagnosed posthumously. with too.
Initiated by the International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD) in partnership with the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) and the Asian Network of Bipolar Disorders (ANBD) in 1999, Word Bipolar Day was created with the aim of raising awareness about this disease, educating the public about this disorder, and eliminating social stigma around this disease.
Bipolar disorder, a mental health condition in which a person’s mood alternates between periods of extreme highs (mania) and deep lows (depression), is still a complex illness in the world despite many options treatment have been developed during the period.
Effective treatment remains a challenge
Correct diagnosis and early detection is a major challenge for the treatment of bipolar disorder (BPD) like any other mental health condition. While, BPD is also often confused with other mental problems leading to financial burden and futile treatments.
The key issue affecting diagnosis here is that the alternation between depression and elevation does not follow the same pattern and can vary between individuals. Between the two phases, the patient feels generally normal.
Although the importance of mental health has been prioritized and recognized, much more needs to be done. Research and data have shown that diagnostic delays are common among people with bipolar disorder. According to a February 2020 study published in BMC Psychiatry, it can take up to 10 to 15 years for people with this condition to be properly diagnosed.
In a large percentage of adults with bipolar disorder, mood symptoms appeared before the age of 20. Pediatric bipolar disorder is not a priority and many are treated for other conditions instead of bipolar disorder.
A delay in diagnosis can lead to serious problems that are not treated urgently. According to the study authors, untreated bipolar disorder can often lead to severe disability and higher health care costs.
Unfortunately, bipolar patients suffer from their symptoms for more than a decade before getting a proper diagnosis. Sometimes they go through several clinicians, change treatments before finally being diagnosed. But by then, the damage is already done.
People who are depressed may have trouble remembering their manic episodes, which makes diagnosis even trickier. Most patients spend more time in the depressive phase than in the manic or hypomanic phase. And if the clinician is not an expert, he is treated for depression. Thus, the most common misdiagnosis is major depressive disorder. Besides AAD or attention deficit disorder can also be misdiagnosed in patients with bipolar disorder.
Untreated bipolar disorder can lead to severe impairment, loss of ability to work, inability to concentrate, and strain in interpersonal relationships.
Psychosis (delusions and hallucinations) can occur not only in bipolar disorder, but also in other conditions such as schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Additionally, people with bipolar disorder often have other psychiatric problems such as anxiety disorders, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), substance use disorders, or personality disorders that can complicate a presentation. of the disease and require independent treatment.
Some non-psychiatric illnesses such as thyroid disease, lupus, HIV, syphilis, and other infections can have signs and symptoms that mimic those of bipolar disorder. This can make diagnosis and treatment even more difficult.
Most lab tests have not been shown to help diagnose bipolar disorder. An important diagnostic tool is an open and frank discussion with the doctor about the underlying symptoms.
There are several types of prescription drugs for bipolar disorder. They include mood stabilizers that prevent highs and lows as well as antidepressants and antipsychotic medications. When they are not in a manic or depressive phase, people usually take maintenance medications to prevent a relapse.
A large percentage of people who seek treatment for bipolar disorder are overweight or obese. Weight gain is a side effect of many medications that treat the disease. Some people with bipolar disorder also have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and anxiety disorders.
Memory loss is an overwhelming challenge for 40-60% of people with bipolar disorder, according to a 2017 research paper published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
The actual cause of bipolar disorder is still unclear. Some people have a family history of such conditions which also includes depression. Stressful life events including those in childhood, sleep deprivation can trigger these disorders.
The key to overcoming this medical challenge is correct diagnosis. The earlier, the better the chances of recovery.
—The author, Dr Vanita Srivastava, is a freelance science and health writer. The opinions expressed are personal.
(Edited by : CH Unnikrishnan)
First post: March 30, 2023 01:07 STI