Instructor Sabrina Geoffrion
October 29, 2012
Bipolar disorder is a medical illness that causes extreme shifts in mood, energy and functioning. These changes can be subtle or dramatic and vary greatly over a persons’ life. Bipolar disorder affects men and women equally and usually starts between the ages of 15-25 years old. In this paper, I will explain the different types of bipolar disorder and some of the symptoms of each, the lifestyle of the affected person, interventions and restraining forces. This lifelong condition has recurring episodes of manic and depression that lasts from days to months. All people with bipolar disorder have manic episodes-abnormally elevated or irritable moods that last at least a week and impair functioning. , but not all become depressed (American Psychological Association.org). Approximately 10 million people in the United States have bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is more prevalent in the United States than in other countries (APA.org). The cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, but it occurs more often in relatives of people with the disorder. Scientists believe that this disorder may be caused by a chemical imbalance affecting certain parts of the brain. A combination of biological and environmental factors such as diet, stress, intense emotional conflicts in families and trauma may also be a cause of bipolar disorder. According to the text, each person with this disorder is affected differently (Falvo, pg. 231). This disorder is the fifth leading cause of disability. There are three major types of bipolar disorder. They are bipolar I and II, and cyclothymia. Bowden stated that an accurate diagnosis of bipolar disorders is crucial because it has important implications for management and prognosis (Falvo, pg. 233). The most common and most severe of the three is bipolar I. According to Falvo, a characteristic of bipolar I is that people with this type have at least one manic episode, which lasts more than one week and interferes with social, and interpersonal functioning, or one mixed episode (Montejano, Goetzel and Ozminkowski, 2005; American Psychiatric Association, 2000). They become hyperactive and their mood is elevated. People with type one may be delusional and suffer from hallucinations. Symptoms of mania in bipolar I include distractibility; they sleep less, and have excessive energy. Symptoms of major depression in bipolar I include decreased energy, thoughts and attempts of suicide, withdrawals, weight loss/gain. Treatment for people with this type of bipolar includes mood stabilizers and antipsychotics. Sometimes sedative-hypnotics (Ativan or Klonopin) are used for treatments.
Bipolar II disorder is similar to bipolar I disorder, but is characterized by at least one major depressive episode and a milder form mania (Falvo, pg. 233). The episodes usually last anywhere from a few days to several months. In bipolar II disorder, the up moods never reach full mania. The moods that are less elevated are called hypomania. Most people also suffer from episodes of depression. People who are in the depressive episode of bipolar disorder are characterized by loss of interest in activities, suicidal thoughts, sadness and depressed mood. When they are having a hypomanic episode, their elevated mood can manifest into euphoria or as irritability. Body chemistry can bring on a depressive manic episode due to the presence of another illness, stress, substance abuse or hormonal changes. In between episodes of hypomania and depression, people live normal lives. This is called rapid cycling. Symptoms during hypomanic episodes include rapid, loud speech, increased energy and a need for less sleep. Preventive drugs help people with bipolar II. Mood stabilizers such as Lithium and Depakote are given to treat people with bipolar II.
According to Montejano et al, Cyclothymia is a mood disorder characterized by manifestations...
References: American Psychological Association. (2012). Myths and realities about bipolar disorder
Americans living with chronic illness. MSNBC video. Today Show (2007)
American Journal of Psychiatry 164.9 (Sept., 2007): 1340-7
PubMed Health (2010)
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