Bipolar Disorder Essay Research Paper Bipolar

Bipolar Disorder Essay, Research Paper Bipolar disorder is perhaps one of the most tragic mood disorders, because it virtually taunts with the affected person?s mind. Bipolar disorder (also known

Bipolar Disorder Essay, Research Paper

Bipolar disorder is perhaps one of the most tragic mood disorders, because it

virtually taunts with the affected person?s mind. Bipolar disorder (also known

as manic-depressive disorder) is a mental condition in which the person

alternates between feelings of mania and depression (Kalat, 614). These feelings

are extreme opposites, and thus create tremendous mental and physical stress on

the person affected. This unfortunate disorder affects one to two percent of the

adult population. Before bipolar disorder can be fully understood, the two main

mood stages must first be identified. During an endless bout with bipolar

disorder, a person experiences many stages of mania and depression. Different

symptoms of mania include an increase in energy or activity, rapid speech,

excessive excitement, extreme irritability and distractibility, a decrease in

the amount of sleep needed, uncommonly poor judgment, an increased sex drive,

denial, overspending, and high-risk behavior. All of these symptoms may not be

prevalent in a bipolar disorder patient; however, the more severe the case, the

more likely all symptoms may occur. A depressed episode includes the opposite

characteristics, including a persistent sad or empty feeling, decreased energy,

loss of interest in activities normally enjoyed (sex), difficulty concentrating,

change in appetite or body weight, and thoughts of suicide. There are also two

less-severe stages a bipolar disorder patient may go through, which are mixed

episodes and hypomanic episodes. A mixed episode contains characteristics of

both manic and depressive stages occurring at the same time. Mixed episodes are

the most difficult to treat, because different types of medicines are necessary

for different episodes. A hypomanic episode is characterized by less severe,

less constraining symptoms of mania. Doctors often overlook hypomanic episodes,

which too often leads to misdiagnosing. When a person experiences a combination

of four episodes within a year, the person is considered to be going through

rapid cycling. There are two types of bipolar disorder. The first is considered

the classic, more popular form, and is considered ?Bipolar I Disorder.? This

version of the disorder is when the person goes through full manic or mixed

episode, and usually also goes through episodes of complete depression. The

second type of the disorder is Bipolar II Disorder, in which the person has had

at least one hypomanic episode, and at least one complete depressive episode,

yet never goes through a full manic or a full mixed episode. Treating a patient

of bipolar disorder takes a while. Currently, doctors prescribe three different

types of medication to bipolar patients: mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and

antidepressants. Often times, patients need combinations of the drugs, which

take a while to decipher, so it often takes about a month to find the correct

prescription for someone. Mood stabilizers are mainly used for episodes of mania

or hypomania, and sometimes for mixed episodes. Mood stabilizers are also

utilized to suppress future manic breakouts. Lithium pills are a common medicine

for the suppression of manic episodes, however it can be considered dangerous.

If too little a dosage is taken, it is ineffective, and if too large a dosage is

taken, blurry vision and nausea occurs. If used correctly Lithium pills can be

very effective, and can fight off manic episodes for years at a time.

Antipsychotic drugs are used to suppress severe manic breakouts, and act

quickly. Antidepressants, not surprisingly, are prescribed during the depressive

stage of bipolar disorder. Antidepressants include SSRIs (Selective Serotonin

Re-uptake Inhibitors), Tricyclics, MAOIs (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors), and

Bupropoin. Usually, when an antidepressant in prescribed, a mood stabilizer is

prescribed along with it, to prevent a possible sway from the depressive stage

straight to a manic stage. If the prescribed medications do not work, and the

case is severe, sometimes ECT (Electro convulsive Therapy) is used to shock the

patient out of his or her depressed stage. Currently, scientists and

psychotherapists are trying to determine how bipolar disorder is caused. Studies

have determined that bipolar can run in families, so the disorder is genetic.

Unfortunately, though, doctors have not yet found any other causes.

Psychotherapists often do psychoanalyses of bipolar patients, to find if

anything that occurred earlier in their lives led to the disorder, but no

concrete evidence has yet been found.

Fagan, James W. Introduction to Psychology. California: Wadsworth, 1999.

Long, Phillip W. Bipolar Disorder. Home page. Oct. 1994.

What is Bipolar Disorder? Home page.