In any given year, over 550,000 Australians who are 16 years and older will experience Bipolar Affective Disorder (BAD). Commonly identified by extreme mood swings, someone with BAD will experience both manic and depressive symptoms. Manic symptoms include agitation, increased energy, excitement, and impulsive behaviour. While depressive symptoms include feeling worthless, lack of energy, low self-esteem and even suicidal thoughts.
While there is still much to learn about what causes BAD, current studies have found that those with BAD have an issue with neurotransmitter functioning (chemical signals which are responsible for delivering messages throughout the brain). Research has found evidence to show a genetic link to BAD, hence it is considered the most likely psychiatric disorder to be passed down from family. In addition to a genetic link, research shows that environmental factors and poor sleep are significant triggers of BAD episodes. When you are experiencing some of life’s challenges such as relationship difficulties, employment issues, family issues etc, those predisposed to BAD may experience more frequent bipolar episodes.
Understandably, people experiencing BAD often fear what life will hold for them. Known as cycling, in can be feeling the euphoric highs of mania, then without apparent reason, they may feel the absolute lows of depression, as well as various moods in between. Such variations in mood and behaviour can be scary for both the person experiencing BAD, and their support network of family and friends.
The diagnosis brings assumptions that symptoms will at times mean a decrease in being able to manage and function properly. Statistics show however, that up to 85% of those properly treated for BAD will go on successfully pursue their aspirations.
If you have (or think you may have) BAD, rest assured that a happy and fulfilling life still awaits you. With the right support (and medication) you can achieve your life goals including close relationships.
Counselling with a professional who has specific training with mood disorders will help you gain insight and coping strategies. Give us a call today if you want to get on top of BAD.