Bipolar Disorder

Feb 01, 2021

We all experience the occasional mood swings. One minute you feel so excited and the next you feel down. However, it never gets as bad as having to visit an emergency room near you. In the mental health condition, bipolar disorder, extreme mood swings can land an individual in ER care.

Bipolar disorder causes extreme mood swings characterized by emotional highs(mania or hypomania) and lows(depression). Each end of this spectrum can constitute a psychiatric emergency. This is why a visit to an ER near you is quite possible. Depression comes with a low mood, reduced energy, and loss of interest in pleasurable activities. In severe cases, it comes with suicidal ideation and requires emergency room treatment. Mania is associated with extreme bursts of energy, euphoria, and irritability. In severe cases, it comes with aggressiveness and a visit to the Express ER emergency clinic is required.

Sometimes, episodes of mood swings occur many times in a year. At other times, it comes rarely. You should also know that bipolar disorder is not curable but is managed using psychotherapy and medication.

Mania And Hypomania

Hypomania is a milder form of mania. They have the same set of symptoms but these symptoms are more pronounced in mania. Mania can lead to a break from reality(psychosis). This will require hospitalization after a trip to the Express ER. These conditions affect an individual’s life in many areas. One may experience problems in school, at work, and in relationships. Any three of the following symptoms will lead to a suspicion of mania or hypomania. They include:

  • High energy, irritability, or agitation
  • An exaggerated sense of importance
  • Reduced need for sleep
  • Increased speech/talkativeness
  • Poor concentration
  • Sexual/Social disinhibition- An individual takes unnecessary sexual risks, wastes money, or makes foolish investments.


Depression can also affect an individual’s performance at school and work. There is also a noticeable drop in interest in performing routine day-to-day activities. 5 or more of the following symptoms have to be present to define an episode of depression. They are:

  • Low mood
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Reduced energy
  • Poor sleep or excess sleep
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and guilt
  • Suicidal ideation

What Causes Bipolar Disorder?

The exact cause of the bipolar disorder is yet to be identified. However, we do know that many factors increase risk. Biological factors include some brain changes that are noticed in people with bipolar disorder. We do not know how influential these changes are but they appear to play some role in the disorder. Genetics is also a big risk factor. Many mental illnesses run in families. Bipolar disorder is not left out. Bipolar disorder is more common in people who have a first-degree relative, such as a sibling or parent, with the condition.

Life events such as the loss of a job or a loved one increase risk of bipolar disorders. The same goes for drug and alcohol abuse.

If left to fester, bipolar disorder can result in devastating consequences. Death is possible because of the thoughts of suicide that creep in. They can also harm others when manic. Relationships with friends and family become complicated. Productivity in school and work drops. Many people also run into problems with the law or their finances.


Although there is no sure way to prevent the disorder, getting treatment as soon as the first signs start to show is important. Treatment involves the use of psychoactive drugs like antidepressants and antipsychotics. Psychotherapy is also important. A trained psychiatrist will handle this part of things.

Family members and friends have a huge role to play in the mental health of their loved ones. Many of these people are unable to seek help on their own. Hence, we need to watch out for these warning signs and compel them to get help. The use of drugs or alcohol can worsen symptoms or cause a resurgence of the symptoms. These substances should be avoided.

Another pertinent issue is that of drug compliance. Because treatment is often lifelong, people tend to get tired of the drug routine. This is not the best approach to the situation. Talk to your doctor about your concerns and they can be discussed and resolved.