Mood Swing, we all have it to some extent - the sudden mood changes, when an anxious situation triggers us to react extremely in either elation or depression. This is a condition termed as bipolar disorder or manic-depressive illness.
Throughout life, stressful situations may trigger this disorder to manifest as early as the adolescence stage or teenage years. It can affect a person's emotional functioning and eventually those around him, lasting for weeks and even months at a time.
Bipolar disorder involves an alternate between a roller-coaster of mood elation ("highs") identified as mania and depression ("lows"). It may vary from one individual to another and can be changing in intensity depending on an individual's capacity to handle emotions. These emotional patterns are sometimes unnoticeable, but when the mood swings alter a person's normal behavior, judgment and thinking, then it could be time to seek treatment.
In most instances, the common signs and symptoms of mania or manic phase include poor judgment, hyperactivity, euphoria, exaggerated optimism, severely high self-esteem, sleep deprivation, racing thoughts, rapid speech, agitation, easy distractibility, reckless and risk taking behaviors, and aggressiveness.
On the other hand, the depressive phase may manifest symptoms as disturbed sleep, loss of appetite, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, severe anxiety or paranoia, intense sadness, easy fatigability, general loss of interest in activities of daily life, poor concentration, easily irritated, indeterminate pain, and suicidal thoughts.
Most experts explain that bipolar disorder may be triggered by factors such as genetics (being prone to getting the illness when it runs in the family) as well as environmental where stress and sudden change play a major role. The exact etiology of this illness, however, still remains a mystery, although evidence implies that individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder experience changes in the chemical messengers between nerve cells inside the brain.
Most often, these individuals inherit their parents' genetic abnormality in terms of neurotransmitters that regulate these chemical messengers, although this is not conclusive. Some experts also say that drug, alcohol and/or substance abuse and severe traumatic experience set off episodes of bipolar disorder.