Bipolar Disorder EssayThe phenomenon of bipolar affective disorder has been a mystery sincethe 16th century. History has shown that this affliction can appear inalmost anyone.
Even the great painter Vincent Van Gogh is believed tohave had bipolar disorder. It is clear that in our society many peoplelive with bipolar disorder; however, despite the abundance of peoplesuffering from the it, we are still waiting for definite explanationsfor the causes and cure. The one fact of which we are painfully awareis that bipolar disorder severely undermines its victims ability toobtain and maintain social and occupational success. Because bipolardisorder has such debilitating symptoms, it is imperative that we remainvigilant in the quest for explanations of its causes and treatment. Affective disorders are characterized by a smorgasbord of symptomsthat can be broken into manic and depressive episodes.Order now
The depressiveepisodes are characterized by intense feelings of sadness and despairthat can become feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. Some of thesymptoms of a depressive episode include anhedonia, disturbances insleep and appetite, psycomoter retardation, loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness, guilt, difficulty thinking, indecision, and recurrentthoughts of death and suicide (Hollandsworth, Jr. 1990 ). The manicepisodes are characterized by elevated or irritable mood, increasedenergy, decreased need for sleep, poor judgment and insight, and oftenreckless or irresponsible behavior (Hollandsworth, Jr. 1990 ).
Bipolaraffective disorder affects approximately one percent of the population(approximately three million people) in the United States. It ispresented by both males and females. Bipolar disorder involves episodesof mania and depression. These episodes may alternate with profounddepressions characterized by a pervasive sadness, almost inability tomove, hopelessness, and disturbances in appetite, sleep, inconcentrations and driving.
Bipolar disorder is diagnosed if an episode of mania occurs whetherdepression has been diagnosed or not (Goodwin, Guze, 1989, p 11). Mostcommonly, individuals with manic episodes experience a period ofdepression. Symptoms include elated, expansive, or irritable mood,hyperactivity, pressure of speech, flight of ideas, inflated selfesteem, decreased need for sleep, distractibility, and excessiveinvolvement in reckless activities (Hollandsworth, Jr. 1990 ). Rarestsymptoms were periods of loss of all interest and retardation oragitation (Weisman, 1991). As the National Depressive and Manic Depressive Association (MDMDA)has demonstrated, bipolar disorder can create substantial developmentaldelays, marital and family disruptions, occupational setbacks, andfinancial disasters.
This devastating disease causes disruptions offamilies, loss of jobs and millions of dollars in cost to society. Manytimes bipolar patients report that the depressions are longer andincrease in frequency as the individual ages. Many times bipolar statesand psychotic states are misdiagnosed as schizophrenia. Speech patternshelp distinguish between the two disorders (Lish, 1994). The onset of Bipolar disorder usually occurs between the ages of 20and 30 years of age, with a second peak in the mid-forties for women. Atypical bipolar patient may experience eight to ten episodes in theirlifetime.
However, those who have rapid cycling may experience moreepisodes of mania and depression that succeed each other without aperiod of remission (DSM III-R). The three stages of mania begin with hypomania, in which patientsreport that they are energetic, extroverted and assertive (Hirschfeld,1995). The hypomania state has led observers to feel that bipolarpatients are addicted to their mania. Hypomania progresses into maniaand the transition is marked by loss of judgment (Hirschfeld, 1995). Often, euphoric grandiose characteristics are displayed, and paranoid orirritable characteristics begin to manifest. The third stage of maniais evident when the patient experiences delusions with often paranoidthemes.
Speech is generally rapid and hyperactive behavior manifestssometimes associated with violence (Hirschfeld, 1995). When both manic and depressive symptoms occur at the same time itis called a mixed episode. Those afflicted are a special risk becausethere is a combination of hopelessness, agitation, and anxiety thatmakes them feel like they could jump out of their skin(Hirschfeld,1995). Up to 50% of all patients with mania have a mixture of depressedmoods. Patients report feeling dysphoric, depressed, and unhappy; yet,they exhibit the energy associated with mania. Rapid cycling mania isanother presentation of bipolar disorder.
Mania may be present withfour or more distinct episodes within a 12 month period. There is nowevidence to suggest that sometimes rapid cycling may be a transientmanifestation of the bipolar disorder. This form of the diseaseexhibits more episodes of mania and depression than bipolar. Lithium has been the primary treatment of bipolar disorder sinceits introduction in the 1960’s. It is main function is to stabilize thecycling characteristic .