Final Paper - Bipolar Disorder

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Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric disorder also known as

manic depression. It is described as a category of mood disorders. Mood

disorders are defined by the presence of one or more episodes known as mania

and hypomania. Bipolar disorder affects about five million Americans, about

3 out of every 100 adults. This disorder had been found equally in men and

women.

The signs and symptoms of major depressive episode

are feelings of sadness, anxiety, guilt, anger, isolation, or hopelessness and

disturbances in sleep and appetite, fatigue and loss of interest in everyday

activities, problems concentrating, lonliness, self-loathing, apathy, loss of

interest in sexual activity, shyness, social anxiety, irritability, lack of motivation,

and suicidal thoughts. In more severe cases, the person may become

psychotic, which is a condition known as severe bipolar depression.

Manic episodes are characterized by a period of a

elevated, expansive, or irritable mood state. People commonly experience

an increase in energy and a decreased need in sleep. Attention span is low and

a person in a manic state may be easily distracted, judgment may become

impaired. Their behavior becomes aggressive, intolerant or intrusive, they may

feel out of control or unstoppable and their sex drive my increase.

Hypomania is a mild to moderate level of mania. It can be

characterized by optimism, and decreased need for sleep. Some people

have increased creativity while others may have poor judgement and irritability.

These people tend to have more energy and become more active than usual.

Hypomania can be difficult to diagnose, because it may appear that the

individual is happy, although it carries the same risks as mania.

Diagnosis can be self reported experiences as well as

abnormal behavior witnessed by family and freinds. In this case, treatment will

be followed by secondary signs observed by a psychatrist. There is a list of

criteria for someone to be diagnosed. This also depends on the presence and

duration of certain symptoms and signs. Assessment is usually done on an

outpatient basis. Admission to an inpatient facility is considered, if there is a risk

to the patient or others. There is no biological testing for bipolar disorder,

although a physical exam my be performed. Tests my be performed to exclude

medical illness.

There is no clear number of how many disorders of bipolar

exist. There are four types of mood disorders that fit into bipolar category.

First being, Bipolar 1. People with Bipolar 1 have experienced more than one

manic episode with or without depressive manic episodes. For a diagnosis of

Bipolar 1 disorder one and more manic or mixed episodes are required.

Depressive episodes are not required for Bipolar 1, however they often occur.

The second category is Bipolar 2. Bipolar 2, is characterized by hypomania

episodes opposed to manic episodes, as well as at least one major depressive

episode. Patients with a Bipolar 2 diagnosis cannot have ever had a manic

episode prior to diagnosis. Being diagnosed with Bipolar 2 disorder does not

guarantee that they will not eventually suffer from the episode in the future.

Hypomanic episodes do not go to the extremes of mania, which can make

diagnosis for Bipolar 2 more difficult, since the person may appear to be happy

rather than distressed. Cyclothymia is the third category of bipolar disorder.

Cyclothymia involves a history of hypomanic episodes with periods of

depression that do not meet criteria for major depressive episodes. The

diagnosis of Cyclothymia Disorder requires the presence of numerous

hypomanic episodes, that include depressive episodes that do not meet full

requirements for major depressive episodes. The idea is that there is a low...
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