How Aware We Are: Bipolar Personality Disorder

This month’s post is on Bipolar Personality Disorder, which is often confused with other mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, borderline, hyperactivity.

Because bipolar disorder affects more than 30 million people worldwide, it is among the 20 most common causes of disability. 2% of Europeans suffer from bipolar disorder at some point in their lives. Bipolar disorder is most common in young adults, with half of all cases beginning before the age of 25. Recently, the World Health Organization, the World Mental Health Research Initiative, showed that two-thirds of patients with bipolar disorder experience anxiety disorders and more than one-third have substance use disorders. Despite these serious effects, less than half of people with bipolar disorder can receive treatment for this disease (American Psychiatric Association, 2000).

Bipolar disorder, bipolar affective disorder or formerly manic-depressive personality disorder, is actually a mood disorder and is defined as the fluctuation of a person’s mood between the euphoria we call mania and the depression we call depression.

Everyone has times when they feel very cheerful or very depressed. However, people with bipolar personality disorder, unfortunately, experience these two opposite situations with fluctuations very often, and they cannot manage their emotion regulation. To give an example, I would like to share a memory I saw in the field: Person P had bipolar disorder and often felt depressed, and experienced emotional transitions very sharply and quickly. P, who came to the hospital when he was in a period of enthusiasm, exuberance, that is, mania, remained in a state of mania for a while. In this process, she makes sudden changes in her appearance (for example, she shaves her hair); With the increase in his impulsivity, he could lose his self-control and become aggressive, had sleep problems, and pushed the limits in subjects such as shopping and driving fast. At the same time, as his sensitivity increased, he could have unrealistic thoughts and had difficulty in making decisions.

Having experienced all kinds of emotions and events intensely, P quickly passed into the depression phase after the mania period. He found himself in depression because he could not find the enthusiasm, energy and even self-confidence that he used to feel in this period. The good news is that P was able to recover with a comprehensive and accurate treatment plan. With the help of necessary medical support (treatment should definitely be started with a medical aid) and individual psycho-education, she learns to regulate her emotions and leads a more stabilized life with the support of her medications. (The patient’s name was not used due to the principle of confidentiality.)

What causes bipolar disorder?

  • Severe life events (sexual abuse, death, etc.)

  • Childhood traumas (abuse, systematic devaluation, etc.)

  • Genetic Predisposition (Bipolar disorder in relatives or parents)

  • Possibility of mutating genes due to pregnancy at an advanced age

What can be done?

  • In this disease, especially the supervision and support of the relatives of the patient is very valuable, because the person may become prone to attempts such as self-harm and suicide.

  • Persons with bipolar disorder may experience frequent loss of function (neglect of self-care, avoidance of responsibilities, escape from working life, etc.), in such cases, life should be prevented and quality of life should be increased if possible.

  • Medical and psychological support should be continued regularly.

  • Stigmatization (stamping) should not be done.

As the Bipolar Life Association says, “From the extremes to the balance…”


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