Understanding Bipolar Disorder In Nigeria -

Understanding Bipolar Disorder In Nigeria

Bipolar disorder in Nigeria. Recently, Nollywood actress Chacha Eke Faani has spoken out again after her outburst on social media about the end of her marriage to her husband Austin.

In a video she shared on her official Instagram page, the actress noted that she is not a victim of domestic violence contrary to the opinion of people.

According to her, doctors have diagnosed her of having bipolar disorder. This very incident shows how prevalent bipolar disorder is among Nigerians.

According to Mayo Clinics, bipolar disorder formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs and lows.

However, this is a mood disorder that comes with two poles. There is the mania (mania is a serious change from the way a person normally thinks or behaves) pole and the depression pole. In between the two poles, there is normal mood.

Actress Chacha Eke
Actress Chacha Eke

Causes And Risk Factors Of Bipolar Disorder

  1. Genetic factors means that it runs in the family.
  2. Environmental factors can range from problems when the person was still a feotus in the womb; to problems encountered when the person was being delivered, like prolonged labour, problems with the birth passage, etc.; problems that occurred immediately after birth, like not enough oxygen, anaemia (not enough blood); infections during infancy and childhood, as well as seizures in childhood; poor nutrition through childhood and adolescence; all forms of child abuse and neglect; dysfunctional families; head injuries at any point in life; etc.
  3. Problems with certain chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, Gamma Aminobutyric Acid or GABA, glutamate, etc. There are also problems with certain hormones, like the thyroid hormone, etc. As well as issues with steroids like cortisol.
  4. There are issues with the anatomy of the brain, especially at the frontal and temporal lobes.
  5. Sometimes, certain drugs or medications can be predisposing factors.

There are different types and presentations of bipolar disorders. These include:

  1. The Bipolar I Disorder: This presents with mania, alternating with major depressive disorder.
  2. Mania can present with high energy, excessive happiness or euphoria, or irritability; there is talkativeness; racing thoughts; easy distractibility, excessive spending and buying of unnecessary things; excessive sexual activities; reduced need for sleep and food (the person may be hungry, but believes that there is no time to eat); excessive socializing; delusions of excessive importance; hallucinations; etc. The mania may last for at least one week.
  3. Major depressive disorder. This can present with sadness, crying spells, or irritability; low energy or weakness; loss of interest in what one once enjoyed; poor sleep i.e sleeping too little or too much; poor appetite i.e eating too little or too much; poor concentration; delusions; hallucinations: suicidality; etc. The depressive stage should at least last for two weeks.

In between the mania and depression, the mood is normal. And with bipolar I the person cannot function well in the society.

  1. There Is The Bipolar II Disorder that is characterized by one pole being hypomania, i.e the milder version of mania, that can last for at least 4 days.

The other pole is the depression pole.

  1. There is the cyclothymia, which is a much milder version of bipolar, but should last for two years in adults and one year in children.

The mixed episode, occurs when both the mania and depression occur at the same time, instead of at different poles.

Bipolar is said to be rapid cycling when there are at least, up to four episodes in one year.

Treatment is with medications or psychotherapy or both.

Questions on bipolar disorder in Nigeria? Drop your comment.

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                                                                      About The Author:

                                         Julia Nonyerem Ogwunga is a medical consultant, a writer.

J.N Ogwunga
J.N Ogwunga

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