BEH225 Bipolar Disorder
BEH225 Bipolar Disorder
CSU - Dominguez hills
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Date Created: 11/15/15
Bipolar Disorder Christopher Stone BEH/225 11302012 Bipolar disorder is one of the most common mental disorders. Approximately 5.7 million American adults suffer from the illness. That is roughly 2.6 percent of the entire population. This is a disease that has affected many people since Emil Kraepelin formulated the term “manic depression” in the early nineteen hundreds. Bipolar disorder 1 was later called by it’s current name, distinguishing it from Unipolar disorder in the early 1950’s by Karl Leonhard. The renaming, and distinguishing, of Bipolar disorder became a huge leap in the general mass’s understanding of mental disease in general. As Dr. Gardenswartz put it, “Once there was a difference between Bipolar and other disorders, individuals suffering from mental disease were better understood, and in turnalong with the progress in psychopharmacologywere able to receive better treatment.” The major difference between Bipolar disorder and Unipolar disorder being that people who suffer from Unipolar disorder experience only drops in mood, whereas those suffering from Bipolar disorder experience both drops and elevations of moods in a cyclical revolution. Bipolar disorder is a disorder which causes drastic fluctuation of a person’s mood, energy levels, and the overall ability of the affected to carry out normal dayto day tasks. These fluctuations translate into severe shifts up and down in these three categories, much greater than and more pronounced than an average person without the disorder. Bipolar can cause failure in relationships of the affected’s friends or family, poor and unpredictable work production, and difficulty in completing school work and assignments. It can even be as serious as to cause suicide in severe cases. The most common symptoms are times of feeling emotional extremes occurring in what are called “mood episodes.” An unreasonably happy or euphoric state is called a manic episode. Likewise, an otherwise unexplained state of extreme sadness is called a depressive state. A “mixed state” refers to a time period where the affected person will feel both extremely happy and extremely sad simultaneously. During any of these 2 episodes, a person suffering with Bipolar disorder can be extremely sensitive, as well as irritable, and even explosive in nature. A person is diagnosed when he or she has many manic or depressive symptoms throughout much of a day, and this happens most days of a one or two week period. Diagnosis of this unfortunate disease can be tricky, as well as difficult, due to the symptoms (cyclical mood and energy shifts) can seem like separate, unrelated problems. This deceptive nature of the symptoms can lead to people going undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for years. Also adding to the difficulty of diagnosing Bipolar disorder is it’s tendency to affect people at different times of their life, from childhood through adulthood. Unfortunately some people are not diagnosed until they lose an important part of their life due to their illness, such as a job, good friendships, or even their family’s love and support. Due to the nature of this disease, it’s affected people often find themselves unable to attend school regularly or remain employed fulltime, without their moods swinging sharply one way or another. Since Bipolar disorder seems to run in family lines researchers are hoping to find genes which makes the disorder more likely to develop. Children with a parent or sibling with bipolar are six times more likely to develop Bipolar disorder than someone with no family history of the disease. Using the Bipolar Disorder Phenome Database, researchers have found that people diagnosed with Bipolar had: “missed work because of their illness; other illnesses at the same time (especially alcohol and/or substance abuse and panic disorders; been treated or hospitalized for Bipolar disorder. 3 Bipolar is currently diagnosed by first consulting a doctor and, through a blood test or brain scan, ruling out other contributing factors to the mood shifts due to factors like a stroke or a brain tumor. Then a mental health professional will conduct an extensive mental health examination, ranging from family mental health history to specific possible bipolar episodes in the past. Since people are far more likely to seek help from a professional when they are in the depressive state than the manic episode, it is important for the doctor to not jump to diagnosing Unipolar disorder, or chronic depression. Treatment is most commonly treated with prescription drugs in America. Lithium is both a popular first choice for prescribing to those suffering from bipolar disorder, and is also one of few moodstabilizers which is not also an anticonvulsant. While anticonvulsants are often prescribed to people who are prone to seizures, they work to help control moods. Lithium was also the first moodstabilizer approved by the FDA in the 1970’s for the treatment of mania. Other treatments through medications include Valproic acid, approved by the FDA more recently in 1995, which is a popular alternative to Lithium, and is regarded as equally effective in treating Bipolar disorder. Antidepressants are also used to treat this illness. People who take antidepressants most often take it with a moodstabilizer, though. Although Bipolar disorder is one of the most common mental illnesses in our country right now, there is a great deal of opportunity to get treated for it. Whether it be through parents, teachers and administrators at school, or coworkers and bosses at 4 work, the drastic mood swings associated with Bipolar disorder cannot go on unnoticed for very long. It is very important for anyone with problems of losing loved ones, work opportunities, or school focus due to uncontrollable mood changes to consider seeing a doctor to figure out how to even out their fluctuating states. References 5 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2008). Introduction: Bipolar Disorder. retrieved on 11/30/2012 from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar disorder/completeindex.shtml Stephens, Stephanie (2012), Through the Ages, It’s Been There. retrieved on 11/30/2012 from http://www.bphope.com/Item.aspx/162/throughtheagesitsbeenthere National Institute of Mental Health (2010), The Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America. retrieved on 11/30/2012 from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the numberscountmentaldisordersinamerica/index.shtml#Bipolar 6 7
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