Bipolar disorders were known until a few years ago as manic-depressive disorders. Those affected suffer from extreme, deliberately uncontrollable displacements of the drive, their activity and mood. These vary widely outside normal levels towards depression (extremely depressed mood, drastically reduced drive) or mania (inappropriate euphoric or irritable mood, restlessness, overdriven drive). The probability of contracting a bipolar disorder in his life is 1 to 1.6 percent. As a result, at least one in every hundred In Germany, there are about two million sufferers.
First signs of bipolar disorder can be felt as early adolescents and usually begin with depression (60-80 percent). Nevertheless, they are not easy to recognize: Depressed and manic states alternate.
In between, the symptoms may well disappear for a while. Rapid symptom changes and mixed conditions make diagnosis more difficult. A distinction is made between three forms of disease that are classified as bipolar I, II and III:
- In a bipolar I disorder, the disease presents itself with depression and severe mania.
- In a bipolar II disorder, the manic phases are absent. Depressive phases are followed by hypomanic (easier form of mania).
- Bipolar III disorder is also referred to as rapid cycling. It is characterized by at least four mood swings a year.
In addition, there are mixed forms. This is always spoken of when depressive and manic symptoms occur in rapid succession or when they mix by simultaneous occurrence. The transition between mania or hypomania and depression is called switching.
There are still major deficits in the diagnosis. Often the bipolar disorder is recognized only after eight to ten years. Being diagnosed correctly in time, the sufferer is spared a long ordeal. In many cases, bipolar disorder appears as a lifelong, chronic disease. Treated accordingly with medication and therapeutics, however, the patient can learn to live with her.
The abuse of alcohol or other drugs is common in bipolar adults. Less common, but quite common is also an excessive consumption of drugs.
Panic disorders and personality disorders are also associated comorbidities of bipolar disorders. Cardiac and cancer diseases are more common in this group of people than in the general population.
In bipolar sufferers, the risk of suicide is generally increased many times over. About one in four sufferers attempt suicide. About 15 percent of the patients die from it.
Depressions that are not yet paralyzed or already improved are considered particularly risky. In these phases, the self-sacrifice intent is often put into action. Even mixed episodes pose a risk of suicide due to the desperate mood of depression and enormously high levels of drive.