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Bipolar Disorder

Content :

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a bi-directional emotional disease. Its symptoms include depression and mania (or hypomania). Those diagnosed with bipolar disorder often suffer from enormous emotional fluctuations.

 

Bipolar disorder is widespread in Hong Kong. One in 20 people is known to suffer from the disease and 32% of all sufferers are aged below 30. In 2006, it was estimated that as many as 180,000 adults suffer from various degrees of the disease. Young age, unemployment and divorce are high risk factors. As sufferers will undergo cycles of depression and mania, the effect on their emotional and psychological well-being, and interpersonal relationship is higher than sufferers of simple depression. In addition, patients are more prone to alcoholism, drug abuse or suicidal tendencies.

Numerous Undiagnosed Amid Modern-day Stress

The occurrence of at least five symptoms for the major part of each day over a fortnight is indicative of depression. These symptoms include lack of interest in everyday activities, depressive mood, reduced or increased appetite or body weight, insomnia or sleepiness, sluggish or agitated acts or speech, fatigue, loss of concentration, lack of self-worth or excessive self-reproach, recurring thoughts of death or suicide.

On the other hand, symptoms of mania include inflated mood for prolonged periods, or a feeling of irritability for more than a couple of days, and the emergence of three or four additional symptoms among the following: boasting, reduced need for sleep, uncontrollable and endless speech, racing thoughts, difficulty in concentrating, increased plans or activities, and reckless participation in euphoria generating activities.

High Misdiagnosis Rate Necessitates Professional Treatment

Bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed as depression, anxiety or schizophrenia as the period of mania is relatively short. This disorder is a chronic and relapsing disease which requires long-term treatment. At present, mood stabilizers are mainly used to relieve symptoms, stabilize mood, prevent relapse, and minimize cycles of manic and depressive symptoms. Depending upon the clinical condition, specialist doctors may decide to prescribe concurrent anti-psychotic drugs and anti-depressants.

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Updated January 01, 2008