Bipolar Disorder Essay

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Bipolar Disorder

The severe mood fluctuations of bipolar or manic-depressive disorders have been around since the 16-century and affect little more than 2% of the population in both sexes, all races, and all parts of the world (Harmon 3). Researchers think that the cause is genetic, but it is still unknown. The one fact of which we are painfully aware of is that bipolar disorder severely undermines its victims ability to obtain and maintain social and occupational success. Because the symptoms of bipolar disorder are so debilitation, it is crucial that we search for possible treatments and cures.

The characteristics of bipolar disorder are significant shifts in mood that go from manic episodes to deep depressive episodes in a up
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Elation is probably the most obvious component, and it is often misplaced and without any real reason for being in this mood. Manic episodes bring with them extreme self-confidence and energy to meet people and engage in all sorts of activities and adventures. It is not uncommon to be unable to understand what a person in a manic state is saying because they are talking loud and fast, and can jump from one subject to the next without any provocation or knowing why. Irritability and lack of attention span are also trademarks of this state. In its most extreme, mania can also bring about violence and rage from the individual. During this period the sufferer often enrolls themselves in many activities or responsibilities that they cannot fulfill after the mania subsides, lending to further problems even after the episode has subsided (Encyclopedia Britannica, 23:847).

The depressive state is the darker side of this disorder. There are two types of the depressive state, the agitated state and the retarded state. In the agitated state one may have sustained tension, over-activity, despair and possibly have apprehensive delusions. For the retarded state the stage becomes darker still as their activity is slowed and can almost become catatonic. The patient is dejected and sad, and beats himself down with self-degrading talk. Suicide is most likely to happen in the depressive side of bipolar disorder and the patient must be closely watched for suicidal tendencies.
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