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What is Bipolar?

Surely you’ve heard the term. You might even know someone who experiences bipolar disorder.

But how well do you really understand bipolar?

Imagine that today you are filled with more enthusiasm than ever before. You feel as though you have enough energy to do anything. Your mood is extraordinarily positive, and your productivity is through the roof. You are constantly elated.

But imagine that tomorrow you feel so down that your life seems meaningless. You no longer see a reason to continue on, and you feel so drained of energy that you can’t do much anyway. You are consumed with sadness, and nothing seems to get done anymore.

Now imagine swinging between these two extremes constantly throughout your life – unaware of when the next shift will occur.

That might give you a bit of an idea of what it is like to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

A mood disorder closely associated with depression, bipolar disorder will affect 4% of the worldly population at some point in their lives.

Bipolar is not to be taken lightly. The suicide rate of those with bipolar disorder is 10 to 20 times higher than that of the rest of the population.

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Still, many cases of bipolar disorder are left untreated! A huge part of this is the stigma that surrounds any mental health issue. As a society we need to recognize our fear of the unknown as ignorant and harmful.

We need to take steps to educate ourselves on mental health issues, and to learn how to keep our minds as healthy as possible.

What makes a person bipolar?

Someone with bipolar disorder simply has a chemical imbalance in their brain.

Because of this, a bipolar brain is shifts between periods of extreme highs, known as mania, and extreme lows, known as depression. These shifts can be unpredictable, and extremely debilitating. When depressed, someone with bipolar may lose motivation to participate in activities they used to enjoy. When in a maniac state, one may become more easily angered and short-tempered.

More of our society needs to realize that having a mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. Most people are not embarrassed when they contract influenza or the measles! But far too many people are ashamed of their mental health problem, even though the onset of most mental illnesses is predominantly out of their control.

Although most cases of bipolar disease are a result of a chemical imbalance or genetics, there are some simple steps you can take to help improve your mental health.

Some easy ways to improve mental and physical health are to exercise every day, eat a healthy diet, and make sure you are providing your body with enough vitamins.

Living a healthy lifestyle will unquestionably improve your mental health. For more information on the connection between mental and physical health, and how you can deal with stress, please visit our other pages.

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