Changing moods, feeling happy or sad and experiencing different ways to feel are a normal part of life. Everybody feels up sometimes and down others, but these changes can occur in the extreme when you have bipolar depression. The changes can affect the way you live and deal with other people and can, in some cases, make you a dangerous person. At times you may feel so incredibly depressed that you cannot even convince your body to get out of the bed, not to mention actually going to work. Then there are times that you have so much energy that you are nearly bursting at the seams and cannot seem to get enough done. You may not even notice these changes, but to people who have to deal with you, you may appear to be losing your mind.
Bipolar depression is usually a condition that stays with you for your entire life. Because it is always there, you may find ways to deal with it and mask the condition from others. This makes the disorder difficult to diagnose for doctors and the embarrassment that patients feel makes even getting to the doctor difficult. When you begin to understand the problem of bipolar depression you will see that there is nothing to be embarrassed about and that getting treatment can vastly improve your life.
Types of Bipolar Depression
There are five major types of bipolar depression and each has a fairly specific description and set of symptoms. They are:
Bipolar Disorder I – you typically have had at least one known incident of mania/mixed mood and (in some cases) depression. You have normal moods in between episodes and seasons may affect your swings.
Bipolar Disorder II - you typically have had at least one known incident of depression and one known incident of hypomania (a mild form of mania). You have normal moods in between episodes and seasons may affect your swings.
Cyclothymic Disorder – you may go between mild forms of depression and mania (in the form of an elevated mood). The swings are short and mild but can progress to a more severe bipolar disorder.
Unspecified Bipolar Disorder – you do not fit into any of the major types of bipolar depression categories. Your moods may be similar to or very different from what is described therein.
Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder – you have four or more incidents of mania, depression or both during the course of a year.
No one knows for sure what causes bipolar disorder but hereditary mental health issues are thought to play a major role in who is affected by this type of depression. The vast majority of people who have bipolar depression have a family member who has the same or a similar type of mood disorder. There are no other factors with known correlation to bipolar depression but what is known includes:
Bipolar depression affects people of all different races
It often starts during the teen years but can strike during childhood or adulthood
A chemical imbalance in the brain can be a cause, as could hormone levels
Other illnesses can affect bipolar depression
The brain of people affected tends to have a different size and shape which could be a result of the illness
Cause for Concern
If you think you may be suffering from bipolar depression, you should discuss the following with your doctor or a mental health professional:
You experience extreme mood swings
You have had periods where your mind is racing seemingly uncontrollably and you are unable to slow it down
You have had periods where you sleep less but feel no loss from it
You have close family members who have suffered from bipolar depression or any other similar mental illness
You should be aware that you are not alone in suffering from bipolar depression. Many historical figures have been known to have bipolar disorder, including: