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Understanding Bipolar Disorder: Risk Factors to Consider

by Melissa Bell
4 minutes read

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that can have serious and long-lasting impacts on those who suffer from it. To better understand bipolar disorder, it’s important to consider the risk factors associated with the condition. This post will discuss what bipolar disorder is, as well as some of the key risk factors for the condition.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by dramatic shifts in mood and energy levels. People with bipolar disorder experience alternating periods of mania and depression that can last anywhere from days to months at a time. During manic episodes, people may be excessively talkative or have racing thoughts, while during depressive episodes they may feel hopeless or lack motivation.


Risk Factors for Bipolar Disorder

Having a family history of bipolar disorder is one of the most significant risk factors for developing bipolar disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health (NMIH) estimates that people who have a parent or sibling with bipolar disorder are four times more likely to develop the condition than those who don’t have any family members with bipolar disorder. Additionally, certain environmental stressors like physical trauma, substance abuse, and extreme psychological stress can increase an individual’s risk of developing bipolar disorder.

Research suggests that certain medical conditions—including thyroid problems, traumatic brain injury (TBI), stroke, heart attack, and sleep disturbances—may also increase an individual’s risk for developing bipolar disorder. Finally, hormonal changes due to pregnancy or menopause can trigger manic episodes in women who already suffer from bipolar disorder; this is known as postpartum psychosis or perimenopausal psychosis. As such, it’s important to keep track of any changes in your mood after undergoing major hormonal shifts.

Benefits of Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Let’s look at some of the benefits of treating bipolar disorder.

Managing Symptoms

The most obvious benefit of treating bipolar disorder is managing its symptoms. Medication and psychotherapy are the two primary forms of treatment for bipolar disorder, and they both have been proven effective in managing its symptoms. With the right treatment plan, people with bipolar disorder can learn how to recognize triggers for manic or depressive episodes and develop coping strategies to prevent them from happening.

Improving Quality Of Life

The main goal of treating bipolar disorder is to improve the quality of life, both personally and professionally. When someone has their symptoms under control, they are better able to focus on fulfilling personal goals like maintaining healthy relationships or succeeding in their careers. Treating bipolar disorder can also reduce feelings of guilt or shame that may be associated with having a mental health condition.

Reducing the Risk Of Self-Harm Or Suicide

Treating bipolar disorder can also reduce the risk of self-harm or suicide as it helps individuals manage their symptoms more effectively. People who don’t receive treatment for their condition are at an increased risk for suicide due to the extreme highs and lows associated with it. With proper treatment, however, suicidal thoughts should become less frequent over time as people learn how to cope with the challenges that come along with living with a mental health condition such as bipolar disorder. Understanding your own personal risk factors for developing bipolar disorder can help you take steps toward managing your mental health more proactively. It’s important to note that just because you possess some of these risk factors doesn’t necessarily mean you will develop the condition; however, being aware of them allows you to detect any changes in your mood early so that you can get treatment if necessary. If you think you may have symptoms related to bipolar disorder, it’s best to consult a medical professional as soon as possible so they can properly diagnose and treat your condition if needed.

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