Although everyone experiences ups and downs in their life among many of the human emotions, people who suffer from manic depression or bipolar disorder experience massive mood swings out of proportion or completely unrelated to what may be happening in their lives. The reality of this illness is that chemical changes in the brain and genetic factors are to blame. In history, people believed demonic possessions and other occurrences were the cause of psychiatric disorders, but modern advances in the field suggest otherwise. Bipolar disorder is described by the U.S. National Library of Medicine as a condition in which a person has periods of depression and periods of being extremely happy or being cross or irritable.1 Bipolar disorder can affect both men and women equally. Bipolar disorder can also be classified under two types, bipolar I and bipolar II, both rough on the patient, but more so in I than in II. Bipolar II is often more associated with depression. The disorder usually begins to become prominent in early childhood or as late as the forties and fifties. More frequently though, the disorder is seen for the first time during adolescence. Since moodiness and various other crisis arise around school and developing relationships in this time, it is easy to understand that early symptoms of the disorder can be mistaken for rational reactions to “normal” adolescent problems. Too often do doctors fail in arriving at an early diagnosis. “People with bipolar disorder, on average, see 3 to 4 doctors and spend more than 8 years seeking treatment before receiving a correct diagnosis.”2 “Bipolar disorder often stems from a genetic vulnerability that runs in the family”2 Evidence of this genetic vulnerability interacting with everyday stresses triggers the symptoms. However as the disorder develops more over time, the symptoms can recur without noticeable cause. There is usually no clear cause for the episodes of extreme happiness or depression....
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