Kim Kardashian recently shared on her Instagram profile that her husband and rapper, Kanye West is suffering from bipolar disorder. “As many of you know, Kanye has bipolar disorder,” she wrote in her Instagram stories, referring him to as “a brilliant but complicated person”. She also asked for compassion. “Those who are close with Kanye know his heart and understand his words sometimes do not align with his intentions,” she wrote, though she did not comment on his plan of running for the White House in the November 2020 election.
This comes after West in a series of tweets (now deleted) had stated he is intending to divorce Kardashian. “Those that understand mental illness or even compulsive behaviour know that the family is powerless unless the member is a minor…. I kindly ask that the media and public give us the compassion and empathy that is needed so that we can get through this,” she had added.
What is bipolar disorder?
“Bipolar disorder is a condition in which individuals experience significant shifts in their moods. This could mean significant emotional highs, which might include manic or hyper manic stages or they may go through a very dull low phase, which is the depressive phase,” Dr Kamna Chhibber, Head of Department, Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram stated, while speaking to indianexpress.com.
The warning signs are all there. “When they experience depression, they may feel sad, lose interest in activities, feel hopeless and may not enjoy things as much. They would struggle with feeling somewhat irritable, their appetite can get disturbed and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness maybe present,” she says. Things change drastically when there occurs a shift.
“When an individual’s mood shifts to the other side of the spectrum, they will feel euphoric, full of energy. But they can get angry or aggressive as well. Their sleep tends to reduce, their appetite can increase. They can also engage in risk-taking behaviour as their sense of judgement gets distorted. They may not always make the best decision when they are in such a frame of mind,” she adds.
What should one do for help?
Chhibber stresses the importance of treatment. “It is very important to remember that bipolar disorder requires treatment. Individuals can go through a single or multiple episodes of manic depressive symptoms through the course of the year.”
Recognising the symptoms can go a long way in identifying the problem. “It is very essential that they recognise that there are warning signs that could help them understand the onset of the problem. When they see these episodes, they need to make sure that they are connecting to their doctors,” she maintains.
Medication can be imperative in certain cases and so is continuation of ongoing treatment unless prescribed otherwise by the doctor. “Psychiatric medication is the mainstay of the treatment. Any treatment that is ongoing should not be tampered with or stopped without consulting the doctor,” she explained.
It is equally important to avoid drugs and alcohol, as well as consult a therapist. “Working with a therapist can aid in understanding triggers and monitoring consequences of action and behaviour during certain phases, also ensuring that the impact of their actions in relationships and social gathering can be mediated and taken care of.”
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