Bipolar Research Paper

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Bipolar Disorder

Julie L. Pettrone

Psychology 101-48
Mrs. Pamela Lusk
July 22, 2010

Bipolar Disorder 2

As stated by Monica Basco, in The Bipolar Workbook (2006), Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a category of mood disorders defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated energy levels, cognition, and mood and one or more depressive episodes. The elevated moods are referred to as mania. Individuals who experience manic episodes also experience depressive episodes, or mixed episodes in which features of both mania and depression are present at the same time. In some cases, extreme mania can lead to hallucinations and delusions, and extreme depression can lead to suicidal thoughts.

Bipolar Disorder 3

Bipolar Disorder is a complex psychiatric condition, formally referred to as Manic Depression. Within this disorder, you will find abnormally elevated levels of mood, as well as depressive episodes. The elevated moods are known as “mania”, or in milder cases, “hypomania”. Some people with this diagnosed disease also experience periods of “mixed episodes”, in which they exhibit features of mania and depression at the same time. Usually, these episodes are separated by periods of “normal” mood, but in some cases may rapidly alternate, known as rapid cycling. The disorder has been subdivided into groups within the diagnosis known as Bipolar I, Bipolar II, and Cyclothymia. Each have differing levels of severity in moods and effects on people.

According to The Mayo Clinic (2010), mood swings in Bipolar I cause significant difficulty in your job, school or relationships. Manic episodes can be severe and dangerous. Bipolar II is less severe than Bipolar I. People with this level of disease may experience an elevated mood, irritability and some changes in functioning, but generally they can carry out their daily activities without too much interference. Instead of a full-blown mania, hypomania may be experienced, and usually in Bipolar II, the periods of depression typically last longer than the episodes of hypomania. Cyclothymia is a mild form of bipolar disorder characterized by much less depression and hypomania. The highs and lows within this aspect are not nearly as severe as either Bipolar I or Bipolar II.

The exact symptoms of bipolar disorder vary from person to person. In some, depression causes the most problems, for others mania is the main concern, for those who experience mixed episodes, both play equal roles. Some signs and symptoms of a depressive phase of bipolar disorder include, feelings of sadness, anxiety, guilt, anger, isolation, hopelessness, disturbances in sleep and appetite, fatigue, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, loss of interest in sexual activity, problems concentrating, loneliness, irritability, shyness or social anxiety, chronic pain, lack of motivation and morbid suicidal ideation. (Mayo Clinic, 2010) In some cases of severe depression, people can become Bipolar Disorder 4

psychotic and experience delusions, which are defined in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (2010) as a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or object outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary.

In regards to a manic episode, signs and symptoms may include, euphoria, extreme optimism, inflated self esteem, poor judgment, rapid speech, racing thoughts, aggressive behavior, agitation or irritation, increased physical activity, engaging in risky behaviors, spending sprees or other unwise financial choices, increased drive to perform or achieve goals, increased sex drive or promiscuity, decreased need for sleep, inability to concentrate, careless or dangerous use of drugs or alcohol, frequent absences from school or work, and poor performances in school or at work. (Mayo Clinic, 2010) Like severe episodes of depression, those in a severe phase of mania may also...
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