The characteristics of bipolar disorder are significant shifts in mood that go from manic episodes to deep depressive episodes in a up and down trip that seemingly never ends. There are actually three types of bipolar disorder. In bipolar III disorder there is a family history of mania or hypomania in addition to the client experiencing depressive episodes. This category is not highly used but is worth noting. Bipolar II disorder is marked by hypomanic episodes that have not required hospitalization. Bipolar I disorder is the full-blown illness and is defined by the presence of manic episodes which require treatment, and usually hospitalization (Wilner 44).
Bipolar disorder can strike at any age but most commonly strikes at age 18 in bipolar I; for bipolar II disorder, the age is 22 (Durand and Barlow 189). It has also been found that children can be seen with bipolar disorder early on. This is not very prevalent, and is only one in every 200 cases. This is thought to occur because many children with manic depression might
have been misdiagnosed or just thought of as hyperactive and disruptive. The early symptoms of childhood bipolar disorder, distractibility, irritability, and hyperactivity are also the signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)(Harvard Mental Health Letter, March 1997). It is mainly for this reason that many cases might be... [continues]
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