The distinguishing characteristic of bipolar depression, as compared to other mood disorders, is the presence of at least one manic episode. Additionally, it’s assumed to be a chronic condition because the vast majority of individuals who have one manic episode have additional episodes in the future. The statistics imply that four episodes in ten years is an average, without preventative treatment. Every individual with bipolar depression has a special pattern of mood swings, combining depression and manic episodes, which can be unique to that individual, but predictable when the pattern is identified. Research studies indicate a strong genetic influence in bipolar depression.
Bipolar depression typically begins in adolescence or early adulthood and continues throughout life. Bipolar depression is often not recognized as a psychological problem, because it’s episodic. Consequently, those who have bipolar depression may suffer needlessly for years without treatment.
Treatment for Bipolar Depression
Effective treatment is available for bipolar depression. Without treatment, marital breakups, job loss, alcohol and drug abuse, and suicide may result in the chronic, episodic mood swings. The most significant treatment issue is noncompliance with treatment. Most individuals with bipolar depression don’t perceive their manic episodes as requiring treatment, and they resist entering treatment. In fact, most individuals report feeling great during the start of a manic episode, and don’t want it to stop. This is a severe judgment issue. As the manic episode progresses, concentration becomes hard, thinking becomes more grandiose, and issues develop. Unfortunately, the risk taking behavior usually leads to significant painful consequences such as loss of a job or a relationship, running up debts that are excessive, or getting into legal issues. Many individuals with bipolar depression abuse drugs or alcohol during manic episodes, and some of them develop secondary substance abuse issues. Therefore, it’s advisable to treat Bipolar Depression at its early stage.