Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression disorder, is a serious two-faced mental illness that affects approximately two million people all across America today. Bipolar is characterized by a cycle of mood swings between elation (mania) and extreme depression. (web)
Mania is the euphoric phase that is characterized by an exhilarated or irritable mood that generally lasts at least one week. A manic episode is represented by change from normal feelings to having feelings that often interfere with work, school and personal relationships.
Usually, Mania is the first episode in males. Some people experiencing a manic episode require hospitalization to return to a normal level of functioning, others require anti psychotic medications such as Quetiapine, Olanzapine or chlorpromazine. Symptoms of Mania include: excessive talking / pressured speech, an inflated self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, distractibility, irritability and excessive involvement in activities with pleasurable activities or high potential for destructive consequences. (web) When people in a manic state experience the symptom of racing thoughts or ideas, they feel like they are tuned into two or three sets of televisions on at once which may cause a person to switch a topic from on conversation to another or become greatly confused and agitated. When a manic person has inflated self-esteem, they feel as though they could do things that they, normally, would never be able to accomplish, such as winning the Olympic gold medal or become the President of the United States of America or more simply, fly when jumping out of a building. The decreased need for sleep is the most common symptom of the manic period.
A person experiencing mania may only get a few hours of sleep every night or not get sleep at all and claim to feel refreshed and energized. There are three stages of mania that starts with hypomania. During the hypomania stage, the bipolar patients say that they are energetic, and assertive. The hypomania state seems as though the patients are addicted to their mania.
The second stage to mania is shown by a loss of judgment and an irritable mood. The third stage is evident when the patient experiences delusions and behavior becomes hyperactive. The other phase of Bipolar Disorder is the depressive phase. A depressive episode is characterized by a depressed mood or a loss of interest that often lasts longer than the manic phase and is more frequent.
A depression episode is represented by change from normal feelings to an illness that impairs the person that is having a depressive episode. Usually, Depression is the first episode in females, and it reoccurs several times before a manic episode takes place. Symptoms of depression include: depressed mood/ low self esteem, sadness, loneliness, helplessness, guilt, fatigue, insomnia or oversleeping, and/ or suicidal thoughts & feelings (web). Patients with insomnia have difficulty falling asleep, waking and restlessness during the night, or waking up earlier than usual and not being able to fall asleep.
Hypersomnia is when a patient feels narcoleptic and is always sleepy. Feelings of worthlessness or guilt is a symptom that a patient makes unrealistic evaluations about themselves, or negative self-blame, such as feeling that is your fault for world poverty or, more simply, your fault for the illness of a sibling. Another symptom of depression is when small physical activity, such as lifting groceries, may feel like a huge workout and may take longer than usual. The most dangerous aspect of the depressive phase is the recurrent thoughts of death and suicide. Many times, bipolar patients report that the depressive phases longer and occur more frequently as the person becomes older (web) (web) There are two main classifications of Bipolar Disorder.
They are known as Bipolar I and Bipolar II. In Bipolar I, both phases of the illness, Mania and Depression, are clear and show. Bipolar I is diagnosed when a person has a manic episode and has very little depressive phase, or no depressive phase. People with Bipolar II never have a full-blown manic episode, but the Depressive episode is usually mild or severe to the extent where it is misdiagnosed as clinical depression.
As a person becomes older, recurrences of Bipolar I or Bipolar II tend to come more frequently and last longer. (web) The pattern of the mood alternations varies from person to person. In some cases, years can come in between phases of manic and depressive episodes. Others cycle frequently, up to three or four times a year. And some patients cycle through the mania and depression frequently. For some, an episode may only occur once in a lifetime.
One out of every five people with bipolar disorder begins in late childhood or adolescence. But usually the illness shows in the late teens to late twenties, sometimes early thirties. About twenty percent of bipolar victims commit suicide, usually when they are passing from one phase to another and feel disoriented. (web) Bipolar Disorder has been a mystery since the 16 th and 17 th century. In the past, civilization had very little knowledge of any mental illness so there was nothing that society could do to help people with Bipolar Disorder. It didn't matter whether a person had bipolar disorder or was schizophrenic or just clinically depressed; all the mentally ill people were often thought to be possessed by the Devil.
During the 1700's, many mentally ill people were simply locked away and ignored. During the 18 th and 19 th century, hospitals and asylums were created and took in the mentally ill. Eventually, a few disorders became recognized as medical and not spiritual. Doctors believed that the causes of any illness were in the blood or digestive system. So, doctors would use a method called bloodletting, which was just letting the blood drain from a person, often leading to death. During the 20 th century, there were much less people being sent away to permanent hospitalization although some then and still now, some bipolar sufferers still have to be hospitalized for a while but can find help at community health center and doctors' offices.
Today, patients are given medication and other treatments that have worked well in the past. (web) In most cases of bipolar disorder, it can be treated successfully. Lithiucarbonate (lithium), an alkali metal, was discovered in 1817 and is used to treat many illnesses including bipolar. In the 1880's, lithium was prescribed for repeated depressive symptoms and now it has become the most widely used treatment for bipolar. With proper treatment, patients may return to normal. But that doesn't mean that they are permanently cured; treatment for bipolar disorder is temporary and not always effective, but bipolar patients have a greater chance of leading more productive, happier life now than in the past.
(web) Bipolar Disorder is a serious mental illness that can have devastating affects to a sufferer's life. There are two distinctive sides, Mania and Depression. Although there is no actual cure, there is treatment for the illness and those who receive treatment have a very good chance at leading a normal life. Word Count: 1, 243.