Abnormal Psychology: Bipolar Disorder

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Bipolar Disorder

Mental illness has plagued human kind for as long as we have been on this earth. The science of psychology has made great strides in past century. The stigma of being mentally ill has begun to fall away and people are finally starting to get the help that they need to recover. Bipolar disorder is one illness that we have come to more fully understand. Through assistance from a psychiatrist, family and medication a patient with bipolar disorder can enter remission and live a normal life. Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder (MDD), affects people of all races, colors, and economic backgrounds. Approximately two million Americans aged 18 and older are affected by this disorder. Typically, patients are diagnosed during adolescence, (Mayo Clinic) but people may be diagnosed at any stage of their life. This disorder is characterized by cycling from manic (high) to depressed (low). On the downward swing from mania, patients may experience normal moods. Eventually, depression will occur (NMHA). MDD is thought to be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Neurotransmitters act as messengers to our neurons, or nerve cells (NMHA). Because there is no biological test for this disorder, a physician cannot access risk or diagnose patients easily (Tate). Human genome studies have yet to discover a specific gene which causes this disorder (Tate), but those who suffer from this illness generally have relatives with some form of depression, showing a clear genetic link (NMHA). Symptomology

The manic phase is when the patient's mood is ‘up'. Patients often experience euphoria along with excessive energy, aggressive behavior, and irritability. Hypersexuality and exhibiting poor judgment are two symptoms that can be very worrisome. (NMHA) Often patients cannot control their behavior and may engage in unprotected sex—risking harm from violence or from sexually transmitted disease. They have a tendency to...
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