Bipolar disorder Essay is often considered a hereditary disease. According to the National
Mental Health Association (2001) a specific genetic link to bipolar disorder has not been found.
Studies show that 80 to 90 percent of those who suffer from bipolar disorder have relatives withOrder now
some form of depression (NIMH, 2001). Bipolar disorder is a mental illness involving one or
more episodes of serious mania and depression which causes individuals to feel an euphoric type
high or feeling really low. Over 2.
5 million people in America have bipolar disorder. This
disorder usually occurs during adolescence or early adulthood and continues throughout life.
Although, young children can be diagnosed with manic depression as well. Bipolar disorder also
shows symptoms by being very irritable and having destructive tantrums throughout the day.
Sommers (2000), wrote that teenage guys and girls are equally likely to experience manic
depression, but it is often more apparent in girls ( p.15 ).
This is because guys do not like
admitting to being depressed because it makes them look weak and have no control, so they tend
to hold back their feelings which will only make their life more difficult. In contrast girls are
more prone to talk about their feelings than guys are. Diagnosing individuals with bipolar
disorder is very difficult due to the fact that many people deny that anything is wrong because he
or she likes the feeling of being in high mood. Another reason diagnosing is difficult is because
the problem may be related to some other type of illness or accompanied with a coexisting
problem like substance abuse, poor performance in schoolwork and jobs.
Bipolar disorder ( a.k.
a. Manic Depressive illness) is a disorder that causes unusual shifts
in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function ( National Institute of Mental Health
NIMH, 2001 ). This disorder consist of severe episodes of highs and lows that individuals go
through. These highs and lows have a much greater impact on an individuals life than the normal
highs and lows people go through everyday. These episodes can lead to unwanted behaviors,
depression, anxiety and can lead to suicide if not treated. There are four categories in which
bipolar disorder is classified according to symptoms severity.
According to DSM-IV, “there are
Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder, cyclothymic disorder, and bipolar disorder not otherwise
specified” ( American Psychiatric Association APA, 1994). In order to diagnose an individual
with a certain bipolar disorder, an individual would have to have signs and symptoms that are
listed in the criteria of mania, depressive, mixed, or hypomaniac episodes. According to the
DSM-IV criteria, “Mania episodes ” are distinctive periods of abnormally and persistently
elevated, expansive, or irritable mood, lasting at least one week (or any duration if hospitalization is necessary) ( Keck ; McElroy, 2002 ). During the period of mood disturbance, three or
more of the following symptoms have persisted ( fur if the mood is only irritable) and have been
present to a significant degree: inflated self-esteem, racing thoughts, more talkative,
easily distracted, increase in goal-directed activity, and excessive involvement in activities that
have high potential for painful consequences.” Manic episode can lead to troubled relationships,
poor school/job performance, harm of self and others and problems with an individuals social
The second type of episode is called Major Depressive Episode, which symptoms must
have been present five or more times during a two week period and show a change of usability to
function as previously.
Symptoms consist of being depressed nearly everyday, decrease in
interest or activities, dramatic weight loss, insomnia or hypersomnia, agitation, loss of energy,
feeling guilty, worthlessness, trouble concentrating, suicide ideation. Another type of episode is
called mixed episodes which is the combination of mania episodes and depressive episodes that
occur almost everyday for at least one week. The last type of episode is called Hypomaniac
episode. Hypomaniac episode are classified with signs and symptoms occurring for at least four
days that an individual experience an elevated or irritable mood. The criteria consist of an
individual having inflated self-esteem, little need for sleep, excessive talking, distractibility and
having flight of ideas. Three or more of these symptoms would have to occur persistently to be