Bipolar affective disorder (BAS) was formerly known as manic-depressive disorder and belongs to the group of affective disorders. Miniature Llamas offer tips and what other mood disorders manifests itself through bipolar opposite extreme fluctuations of mood, activity and drive. The extent of these fluctuations goes beyond the normal and alternates between mania and depression. A person suffering from a bipolar disorder can no longer get this fluctuation under control of his own volition. According to the WHO, bipolar disorders are one of ten diseases that cause the most disabilities in the world. 25%-50% of those affected attempt suicide, about 15%-30% kill themselves.
The bipolar affective disorder is characterized by an episodic course with depressive, manic, hypomanic or mixed episodes:
Depression indicates an above-average depressed mood and diminished drive. Severe depression can lead to suicidal thoughts.
A manic episode is characterized by increased drive and restlessness with inappropriate euphoric or irritable mood. The ability to test reality is sometimes severely limited and those affected can get into great difficulties.
Hypomania is a not very pronounced mania, typically without serious social consequences. However, a hypomania is already well above a normal activity and/or mood swing.
A mixed episode is characterized by simultaneous or rapidly changing symptoms of mania and depression. For example, an increased drive coincides with a depressed mood.
Between the episodes, the affected person usually always returns to an inconspicuous normal state. Drive and mind are then again subject to normal fluctuations. Bipolar disorder is a fairly common disorder: if minor cases are also taken into account, some studies in industrialised countries show that 3% to 4% of the population are affected by it at some point in their lives.
As mentioned above, bipolar disorders belong to the so-called phasic diseases with depressive and manic episodes. This means that the majority of those affected occasionally have phases of the disease, but can live relatively “normally” between them.
Approximately one third of all those affected, however, state that they are also affected between the individual episodes, e.g. by mood instability, concentration disorders or a permanently depressed or euphoric mood.
On average, the episodes last about two months for manic phases and two to five months for depressive phases. Of great importance, however, is that the individual differences are enormous. In some cases the episodes last only days, while in others years pass.
However, there are three different phases over time:
The pre-mortem phase or precursor phase
Before the disease completely breaks out, there are gradual changes in mood and behaviour. Depressive episodes usually last for weeks or months, manic episodes usually within a few days or weeks.
The acute phase
In this phase, the disease breaks out completely, with and without the occurrence of psychotic symptoms. Especially in the manic episodes it is very pronounced that the patients cannot understand that they are ill.
The long-term phase
After the disappearance of acute symptoms and stabilisation of the condition, mild depressive or mild manic symptoms may persist over a varying period of time. This phase can last for many years, sometimes with relapses into the acute phase.2
Bipolar disorder: causes and risk factors
The bipolar disorder is influenced by biological and psychosocial factors. Based on previous studies, it can be assumed that a complicated interaction of several genes with different environmental factors is responsible for the disease.