By: Riley Hendersen
Bipolar depression is a condition that routinely persists in the daily life of some individuals. Such depression is not what many of us feel on occasion, but are extreme and severe episodes that affect personal lives and work, and ability to function on a daily basis.
Feeling good or sad on occasion are parts of daily life for everyone, yet for someone diagnosed with bipolar depression, those ups and downs can cause such a severe disruption of activities that life may sometimes seem pointless.
Such episodes of bipolar depression cause sufferers to feel extremely sad and provoke periods of worthlessness, disinterest and unconcern about anything around them. Many people who suffer from this condition don’t even want to get out of bed or eat. This period of extreme disinterest may last days, or sometimes weeks, which is why it is so important to recognize its signs and symptoms. If left untended, many sufferers lose friends, their job, and many will starve themselves or even commit suicide.
However, recognizing the signs of bipolar depression is not easy. Since most people experience periods of ‘blues’ or malaise, victims, family and friends almost always assume that the person will ‘snap out of it’ or feel better soon. For some, these feelings may be intermittent, which makes it even more difficult to recognize. For most, feeling ‘blue’ is also accompanied by a lack of interest in anything the person used to take pleasure in, including sex. One may also feel worthless or express lack of hope or faith in the future. Such persons may also experience a change in sleeping habits and weight.
This condition can strike any gender and at any age. Scientists believe that the condition is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, as well as hormone levels, and in recent years, doctors have observed a link between thyroid hormone levels and bipolar depression.
For some, bipolar depression causes the sufferer to doubt every decision and therefore leads to indecision in even the simplest matters, and such confusion and lack of ability to believe in oneself often leads to thoughts of despair and suicide. These periods of depression can last days, weeks or months. Many people suffer from bipolar depression and don’t even know it. Some accompanying symptoms can be eating disorders, phobias, and panic attacks that cause people to withdraw into isolation.
Many people suffering from bipolar depression want help, but don’t know whom to turn to when everything seems so pointless. Therefore, it’s up to family and friends to know when something is wrong and to encourage and seek help for their loved one.
Keeping track of mood swing frequency, duration and severity helps doctors to determine whether or not you or a loved one is suffering from the condition, but the recognition and desire to seek treatment must start with the family and friends of those suffering from the disease. Bipolar depression can be treated, but only early intervention will make life easier for both the patient and their families.