Bipolar Disorder, also known as a manic depressive illness, is classified as a brain disorder; that causes unusual shifts in the mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry-out day to day tasks. The majority of bipolar individuals experience alternating episodes of mania such as an elevated or euphoric mood or irritable state (US Department of Health 1) (Thackey 127). Bipolar Disorder falls under the category of a mood disorder, 3% of the general population suffers from bipolar disorder. A mood disorder interferes in everyday life with a person for an extended time.
The moods that the diagnosis experience do not go away on their own and cannot be shaken off. The illness affects more than just mood, however it also impacts thoughts and behaviors to the extent that the patient’s life is disrupted. The individual goes through moods of being energetic to sad and hopeless, then back again too happy. The moods swings can last from a day to months; depending on the patient (Abramovitz 13). People with bipolar disorder experience intense emotional states that occur in distinct periods called “mood episodes”. A mood episode is a drastic change from a person’s usual mood and behavior.
An overly joyful and excited state is called a manic episode; and an extremely sad or hopeless state is called a depressive episode. A manic episode not only has a mood change but a behavioral change. Such as talking fast; jumping from one idea to another, easily distracted, taking new risks, being restless, having unrealistic beliefs and engaging in high risk behaviors. A depressive episode is not only a mood change but a behavioral change. Such as feeling tired, problems concentrating, making decisions, being irritable, changing in habits, and thinking of death, suicide or attempting suicide.
However, symptoms of both mania and depression may occur. Lastly, people with a bipolar disorder also may be explosive and irritable during a mood episode. Bipolar disorder mood swings differ, for example some people experience hypomania, a less severe form of mania. Bipolar disorder studies show that the majority of bipolar disorders start in a person’s late teens or early adult years (US Department of Health 2-3) (Kahn 67). Having a bipolar disorder can affect the individuals’ relationship with others due to their conditions. Dealing with a person with a bipolar disorder can be intolerable.
Many people in the manic phase spend ridiculous sums of money, which can deplete bank accounts and cause problems with families of the individual. Also, they exhibit wild behaviors like partying and sexual tensions that lead to causing breakups in relationships both dating and marriage. In a depressive phase, the relationship of a individual with bipolar disorder causes others to constantly be relied on by the bipolar person; they are having suicide thoughts or attempting suicide (Abramovitz 62-76). The first case study that illustrates bipolar disorder is, The Case Study of Susie: Bipolar I Disorder.
Susie is a 20-year-old sophomore at a small Midwestern college. For the past five days she has gone without any sleep whatsoever and she has spent this time in a heightened state of activity which she herself describes as “out of control. ” Susie has experienced two previous episodes of wild and bizarre behavior similar to what she is experiencing now; both alternated with periods of intense depression. When she was in the depressed state, she could not bring herself to attend classes or any campus activities; she suffered from insomnia, poor appetite, and difficulty concentrating.
At the lowest points of the depressive side of her disorder, Susie contemplated suicide. Susie is clearly displaying symptoms of bipolar I disorder. “She believes that she is a “superwoman” who does not need a male to help her reproduce, therefore having no need for menstruation. She also believes that she was able to switch souls with a senator making her more than eligible for a position within the U. S. government. Finally, she is campaigning for an election that is not even taking place at the time. This all points to psychotic episodes, which is a symptom only present in the bipolar I category.
This is not Susie’s first episode of mania and in the past her mania was followed by a deep depression that even led her to suicidal thoughts. However, she does have relatives on both the maternal and paternal sides of her family that have been treated for depression. The relatives were both second generation relatives (i. e. grandparent, aunt, uncle). The age at which her family members were diagnosed with depression is unclear, although it can be assumed that since it was during menopause that her aunt was in the later stages of her life” (Cooper) Susie is only twenty, so the genetic ties are not as clear in this case, but they do exist .
As Susie’s case has demonstrated, bipolar disorder can affect a person’s mood and cause changes in their behavior (Cooper Susie Case study). Lastly, the case study that illustrates bipolar disorder is, When Bipolar Masquerades as a Happy Face At 45, the patient Bruce was at the pinnacle of his career, with a lucrative law practice. Then his life was cruelly turned upside down by two medical events, a crushing first episode of major depression and a series of strokes from untreated hypertension. “For many years, Bruce struggled with severe depression and high blood pressure without much headway.
Then something strange happened. He suddenly pulled out of the depression and dove into his work. Not only that, but he felt the surge of energy and self-confidence that he used to have. ”(Friedman) “No hurdle seemed too high or problem unsolvable, he recently recalled. No one questioned his renewed energy and vigor, because he had always been vivacious” (Friedman). Nor did his combative behavior and ever increasing volume of provocative e-mail messages to friends and colleagues raise a suspicion that something might be but, Bruce in his therapy, he spoke loudly and rapidly, and the doctor had difficulty interrupting him.
“It wasn’t hard to figure out that he had been living with an unrecognized and untreated psychiatric illness that had driven him to the edge of ruin — bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression” (Friedman, When bipolar masquerades as a happy face). ?“The source of bipolar disorder has not been clearly defined. Because two-thirds of bipolar patients have a family history of emotional disorders, researchers have searched for a genetic link to the disorder. ” (Thackey 128). The source of a bipolar disorder can be found in the biological start of the condition of a bipolar disorder.
Several studies have uncovered that possible genetic connections link to bipolar disorders; which correlates with bipolar II. “Susceptible genes are located in specific regions of chromosomes 13,18,21. The building blocks of genes, called nucleotides, are normally arranged in a specific order and quantity. If these nucleotides are repeated, a genetic abnormality usually results. ” (Thackey 128). Also there are environmental influences as well, such as child abuse as a young child (Abramovitz 41-42) There are many people not only in America but also in the world that suffer from bipolar disorder.
There are plenty of case studies (evidence) out there that can help families and individuals themselves that suffer from bipolar disorder. Also, available to the public, is the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), that provides education and support to bipolar patients (Abramovitz 72). Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5. 7 million American adults, or about 2. 6 percent of the U. S. population age 18 and older in a given year. Bipolar Disorder cannot be cured, but it can be treated effectively over a long term period. Proper treatment helps many people with bipolar disorders.
They gain better control of their mood swings and related symptoms. However long-term treatment is needed since it is a lifelong illness. Treatment is more effective if you work closely with a doctor and talk openly about your concerns and choices. An effective maintenance treatment plan usually includes a combination of medication and psychotherapy. The types of medications are mood stabilizers, atypical antipsychotics, and antidepressants. The different types of psychotherapy are Cognitive behavioral therapy, family-focused therapy, interpersonal and social rhythm therapy, and psycoeducation.