The aspect of Bipolar Disorder Essay has been a mystery since
the 16th century. It was rumored that Vincent Van Gough
suffered from bipolar disorder. There is a large group of
people suffering from this disorder, however there are no
causes or cures for it. Bipolar disorder impairs ones
ability to obtain and sustain social and occupational
success. The journey for even a cause will continue for
many years to come.
Affective disorders are characterized
by a depressed mood, an elevated mood or an alternation of
depressed and elevated moods. The basic term for the
manic-depressive illness is Bipolar disorder. There are
milder and heavier forms of each. A patient can be placed
in two different categories of this disorder: dysthymic
disorder and cyclothymic disorder depending on how strong
the symptoms are with each individual patient. The use of
the term primary affective disorder refers to the
individuals who had no previous psychiatric disorders or
else only episodes of mania or depression. Secondary
affective disorder refers to patients with preexisting
psychiatric illness other than depression or mania
Bipolar affective disorder affects around 1% or three
million people in the United States.
Both males and females
can become a victim of this disorder. Bipolar disorder
involves episodes of mania and depression. The manic
episodes are characterized by elevated or irritable mood,
increased energy, decreased need for sleep, poor judgment
and insight, and often reckless or irresponsible behavior
These episodes can alternate with heavy depressions
characterized with complete sadness with almost an inability
to move, hopelessness, and agitation in appetite, sleep and
makes is hard to concentrate while driving.
Bipolar disorder is diagnosed if an episode of mania occurs
whether depression has been diagnosed or not (Goodwin,
Guze, 1989, p 11). The common symptoms for a manic
depressive episode consist of elated, expansive, irritable
or hyperactive mood. Their speech becomes hard to
understand, they have ideas racing through their head, they
have incredibly high self esteem, they rarely feel tired and
they are often involved in activities that could possibly
Rarest symptoms were periods of loss of all
interest and retardation or agitation (Weisman, 1991).
As the National Depressive and Manic Depressive
Association (MDMDA) has demonstrated, bipolar disorder can
participate in developmental delays, marital and family
problems, loss of jobs and an inability to keep a steady
income. Many bipolar patients report that the depressions
are longer and come more frequent when the individual gets
older. Schizophrenia has commonly been diagnosed to
patients suffering from bipolar and can be misdiagnosed for
most of their lives. The speech patterns help doctors to see
a difference between the two disorders.The first signs or
symptoms of Bipolar disorder usually occur between the ages
of 20 and 30 years of age, and then are seen again in women
in their 40s.
A typical bipolar patient will most likely
experience eight to ten episodes in their lifetime. However,
there are those who have rapid cycling and can experience
more episodes of mania and depression that succeed each
other without a period of remission (DSM III-R). The three
stages of mania begin with hypomania, this is where the
patients are often very energetic , hyper and assertive. The
hypomania state has shown doctors that a person suffering
from bipolar almost feels addicted to their mania.
Hypomania progresses into mania as the transition is marked
by loss of judgment. Often, a paranoid or irritable
character begins to manifest.
The third stage of mania is
becomes clear when the patient experiences delusions with
often paranoid themes. Speech is generally rapid and
behavior manifests with hyperactivity and sometimes
When both manic and depressive symptoms occur at the
same time it is called a mixed episode. These people are a
special risk because of the combination of hopelessness,
agitation and anxiety make them feel like they “could jump
out of their skin”(Hirschfeld, 1995). Up to 50% of all
patients with mania have a mixture of depressed moods.
Patients report feeling very dysphoric, depressed and
unhappy yet exhibit the energy associated with mania. Rapid
cycling mania is another symptom of bipolar disorder.
may be present with four or more distinct episodes within a
12 month period. There is now evidence to suggest that
sometimes rapid cycling may be a transient manifestation of
the bipolar disorder. This form of the disease experiences
more episodes of mania and depression than bipolar.
Lithium has been the primary treatment of bipolar
disorder since its introduction in the 1960’s. It is main
function is to stabilize the cycling characteristic of
bipolar disorder. In four controlled studies by F.
Goodwin and K. R. Jamison, the overall response rate for
bipolar subjects treated with Lithium was 78% (1990).