Abnormal Psychology: Bipolar Disorder

1275 Words Mar 23rd, 2005 6 Pages
Bipolar Disorder

Mental illness has plagued human kind for as long as we have been on this earth. The science of psychology has made great strides in past century. The stigma of being mentally ill has begun to fall away and people are finally starting to get the help that they need to recover. Bipolar disorder is one illness that we have come to more fully understand. Through assistance from a psychiatrist, family and medication a patient with bipolar disorder can enter remission and live a normal life. Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder (MDD), affects people of all races, colors, and economic backgrounds. Approximately two million Americans aged 18 and older are affected by this disorder.
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Also, the patient 's thyroid status should be assessed. A University of North Carolina study has proved that depression is three times more likely for those with hypothyroidism than those with normal thyroid function (Dranov).
Psychiatrists must do a full psychiatric evaluation in order to diagnose a patient with bipolar disorder. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) IV is used for diagnosis; the DSM-IV criteria for bipolar disorder must be met in order to diagnose a patient. Tools such as scales are very helpful in aiding of the diagnosis of the patient. Scales are a series of questions relating to the disorder in question and according to the score, clinicians can either confirm or rule out a diagnosis. Typical scales for bipolar disorder are: Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS), Montgomery-Asberg Depression rating scale (MADRS), and The Global Assessment of Functioning scale (GAF) (Psychiatry). When scales are repeated during the course of treatment, efficacy of medication can be assessed. As MDD patients are historically under-reporters of symptoms, it may be helpful for a close loved one to accompany the patient to treatment. Patients may also not recognize the extent of their behavior and it helps to have a secondary report (Butler).
Treatment options
Medication is the first line of defense in treating bipolar disorder. Traditionally, lithium was the drug of choice for bipolar patients. Though lithium is still used

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