I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving and welcome back to my blog! This blog is dedicated to the bipolar community to help members better manage their condition, as well as to raise awareness about bipolar disorder, which I have. I will be mainly covering specific trigger points of bipolar disorder and how to manage and mitigate the various stages of the condition, such as mania/hypomania and depression. The mood swings from mania/hypomania to depression are critical to catch and mitigate because they disrupt sleep, judgment, and cause drastic shifts in interest levels in activities as well as critical thinking and energy levels. Even when one takes medication, which is essential to living a normal life with bipolar, these trigger points to be mentioned below can cause mania and hypomania.
Let’s first discuss mania and hypomania. Mania or hypomania are apparent when one experiences excessive energy or elation, has difficulty sleeping, and feels extremely productive. One can also seem irritable when manic or hypomanic.
A disruption in sleep can trigger manic or hypomanic episodes. Having an erratic sleep schedule, instead of a constant and steady one, will cause mania or hypomania. Personally, a lack of sleep caused a manic episode for me this past summer. In my previous apartment, I lacked air conditioning and had trouble sleeping in the excessive heat. As a result, I experienced mania, which I learned from to prioritize good sleep.
In addition, positive life events can cause mania or hypomania. This is because people who have bipolar disorder have higher responses to rewards and abnormal dopamine levels when it comes to high achievement (scientifically proven). Having a marriage, accomplishing a major event, or winning the lottery can definitely trigger mania or hypomania in bipolar individuals. Personally, I experienced hypomania this past summer when I did extremely well on the GRE exam. In short, knowing that significant positive events can trigger mania or hypomania is helpful for us members of the bipolar community because we can be aware of the potential changes in mood we will experience.
A seasonal change from spring to summer can also cause mania or hypomania. When one is experiencing an increase in exposure to sunlight, one may experience mania or hypomania. It is important to know that summer causes the most amount of manic or hypomanic episodes.
Finally, drugs can also cause mania because substances affect the neurochemical balance that is present in our brains. People who have bipolar disorder have abnormal neurotransmitter balances in their brains, so drug use, in particular marijuana, may trigger mania or hypomania.
Now let’s discuss the other side of bipolar disorder, which is depression. To give more context, bipolar disorder is also known as manic depression.
As the seasons change from summer to fall and fall to winter, people may experience seasonal depression. Seasonal depression is even more apparent with bipolar individuals, even those who are properly medicated. The best way to mitigate seasonal depression is to exercise constantly, sleep and eat well, and to get sunshine frequently. If sunshine is difficult to attain, then one can also purchase a therapy sunlight lamp.
Just as positive events in one’s life can cause mania or hypomania, so can negative events cause depression. But this premise is much more likely to come to fruition with those who have bipolar disorder. Negative events such as loss of a job or a relationship, death of a loved one, or other stressful occurrences may lead to severe depression.
On the whole, it is essential to be cognizant of the trigger points of bipolar disorder, not just the symptoms of the condition. Being aware of the trigger points of bipolar disorder will better prepare an individual with the condition to prepare and potentially mitigate the mood swings. Please share this blog with anybody whom you know has bipolar disorder!
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