Let’s talk about bipolar disorder. In Nigeria and most parts of Africa, this illness is not taken seriously, yet its prevalence can be seen everywhere, on social media, when you read newspapers, and even in the streets. Most Nigerians don’t know anything about this illness, some, I must say haven’t really heard about it, so it is only right that I define the phrase to the best of my knowledge. Bipolar disorder is an illness that affects people mentally. People affected by it switch between moods of extreme mania and extreme depression. In other words, when manic, they feel extremely elated and energetic, but when depressed, they feel extremely and painfully sad and indifferent even to experiences that previously made them happy.
Notable people that have had this illness are the American author Ernest Hemingway and English novelist Virginia Wolf; the latter wrote this about her illness “As an experience, madness is terrific….. and in its lava I still find most of the things I write about.” I’m sure by now you’ll want to know the causes of this illness, from what I know it is majorly genetic, for the non-scientist among you this usually means it’s passed on from parents to offspring. Other factors that can trigger it albeit with little influence are prenatal development, childhood experiences, and social factors. The symptoms usually begin to show in the later years of teenage hood, in men, it generally starts with mania while in women; extreme depression is generally experience first. The illness for the most part occurs in episodes, and it is important to note that most people affected with bipolar disorder function normally between episodes. The treatment of bipolar disorder comes In different ways, therapies may delay or even prevent its effect. Lithium carbonate is also an effective drug that keeps the illness in check. Is has some side effects though; loss of appetite, increased thirst and urination, muscular weakness and nausea among others. Carbamazepine (Tegretol) and valproate (Depakene) are anticonvulsant drugs that can dampen severe manic episodes. It is also important to note that that when you use traditional antidepressants to treat bipolar disorder, you risk triggering more manic episodes.