Bipolar Essay

1514 words - 7 pages

It has been estimated that about 2 million Americans suffer from bipolar disorders. Symptoms usually appear in adolescence or early adulthood and continue throughout life. The disorder occurs in males and females equally and is found more frequently in close relatives of people already known to have it.. It has been very noticeable among creative individuals, affecting such artists as Hector Berlioz, Gustav Mahler, Ernest Hemingway, and Virginia Woolf.

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Bipolar disorder is a long-term psychological ...view middle of the document...

Thankfully these manic symptoms are usually reported eventually and the prescription is adjusted. Cyclothymia is the mildest form of the disorder, with generally less severe psychological highs and lows.

The manic stages of bipolar disorder include symptoms of extreme optimism, poor judgment, inflated self-esteem, racing thoughts, and decreased need for sleep, increased sex drive, and careless or dangerous use of drugs or alcohol. The depressive stages of bipolar disorder include symptoms of sadness, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts or behavior, anxiety, guilt, sleep problems, loss of interest in daily activities, irritability, and poor performance at work or school. Bipolar disorder is also known to cycle with the seasons, manic episodes occurring in either the warmer seasons of spring or summer and depression occurring in the fall or winter. A mixed episode, also known as a dysphoric manic episode, is a combination of depressive and manic symptoms, such as agitation, change in appetite, difficulty sleeping, and suicidal thinking. Severe depression or agitation in this state can also be accompanied by symptoms of psychosis. These symptoms include delusions and hallucinations. Bipolar individuals often describe these episodes as ‘sad mania.' This episode is the one most commonly seen in children. Though not uncommon, mixed episodes are not widely recognized. Studies show that only 40 percent of people who have both manic symptoms and a sufficient number of depressive symptoms are diagnosed as being in a mixed depressive and manic state. Studies have also shown that suicidal thoughts are greatly increased in people while in a mixed state. Its treatment has not been well-studied, but recent progress indicates that newer medications, like Zyprexa, may be more beneficial than older methods of treatment such as lithium.

Bipolar disorder and its symptoms and severity vary from person to person, and remain very unpredictable. This makes the search for its cause and eventual cure all the more difficult and urgent. Unfortunately, bipolar disorder often goes undiagnosed and untreated. Those with bipolar disorder often enjoy the highs of the cyclical nature of the disease, and feel detached from their true selves and personalities when medicated. The most noticeable symptoms in children and teenagers include explosive temper, rapid mood shifts, reckless behavior, and aggression.

There are many thoughts to the cause of bipolar disorder:
Biological differences: People with bipolar disorder appear to have physical changes in their brains. The significance of these changes is still uncertain but may eventually help pinpoint causes.
Neurotransmitters: An imbalance in naturally occurring brain chemicals called neurotransmitters seems to play a significant role in bipolar disorder and other mood disorders.
Inherited traits: Bipolar disorder is more common in people who have a first-degree relative, such as a sibling or parent, with the...

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