First - What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is the mental disorder in which the person suffering goes in extreme mood swings. So while he or she may be feeling depression at one moment they will feel mania or extreme sense of pleasure and heightened activity the other. This is a quite dangerous situation as the suicidal rates are almost double than that of normal depression and research also suggests that people suffering from this kind of disorder face worse depression than the people who suffer only depression.
What makes this situation even more dangerous is the increased incident of suicide in this case and the risk of life it poses to the persons suffering from it.
Following are some symptoms of suicidal tendencies among the persons who are suffering from this disorder:
Talking about feeling suicidal or wanting to die at all times of depression and forgetting all about it when mania occurs
Feeling hopeless, that nothing will ever change or get better and getting depressed about the current state of affairs.
Feeling helpless, that nothing one does makes any difference and in some cases even how everyone has ganged up against you to make your life miserable
Feeling like a burden to family and friends and feeling that nothing you do is helping them or contributing to the family while you are living off their sympathy
Putting affairs in order (e.g., organizing finances (paying debts) or giving away possessions to prepare for one's death), basically doing things which one does in old age when the thought of death starts creeping in and when one thinks that their days are numbered
Putting oneself in harm's way, or in situations where there is a danger of being killed, creating circumstances which puts life at risk or at least putting you in harm's way
Abusing alcohol or drugs
If you have experienced such emotions yourself or are seeing someone witnessing similar emotions you should first of all consult a doctor and then put away all things that you can use to cause damage, like hiding knives and blades and keeping other such objects which can be used to inflict self damage away.
Treating bipolar disorder
Currently bipolar disorder cannot be treated but it can be managed to control the long term consequence of the disease. Treatment is basically done through pharmacology and psychological techniques and most people suffering from bipolar disorders are given a combination of medicines.
Since bipolar disorder involves the individuals going through mania and depression the medication prescribed is what is known as mood stabilizing and anti depressant.
What this effectively means is that doctors prescribe mood stabilizers to control the mania and then anti depressants to take care of the depression. Lithium is the oldest and the most popular mood stabilizing medicine which is the most effective and is also known to reduce suicidal tendencies. However as with all medicines there are side effects of lithium too such as high blood pressure, retaining too much water and constipation.
Anti depressants are also used among patients however there is a need to be cautious so as to not induce mania after taking such anti depressants and normally they are prescribed and had only after mood stabilizers have been taken by the patient and the chances of going into mania reduce.
Another thing to keep in mind is that different patients react differently to medicines and it might take 4 - 6 weeks for a patient to react on a medicine. In such a case patients should not give up on the medicine. On the other hand patients should also not leave the medication too soon when they see the symptoms disappearing and take proper medical advise before leaving the treatment and make sure that they have completed their medication.
A pointer for friends and family would be that as the case of bipolar disorder increases in a person they refuse to admit that they have any illness at all and therefore compliance to medicine becomes difficult which becomes the responsibility of the relatives and friends of the patient.