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
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
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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