Essay on Bipolar Illness

2556 Words 11 Pages
Bipolar Illness


Bipolar illness, also called manic depression, is misdiagnosed on the average of two out of three times; unfortunately it is an illness that kills one in four afflicted persons. Major psychiatric disorders such as bipolar illness make up half of the leading causes of disease related disability in the United States (www.windsofchange.com/bipol.html).

Bipolar illness is a major psychological disorder characterized by episodes of mania, depression, or mixed moods. One or the other phase may be predominant at any given time; one phase may appear alternately with the other, or both phases may be present simultaneously. Causes of this illness involve biologic, psychological interpersonal, social and cultural
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Bipolar disorder has many effects on the families lives as well. They range from emotional to social issues; they deal with changes in family members and the structure of the family. The family must learn how to deal with the very real threat of suicide. After the diagnosis, many families may have a series of mixed emotions such as anger or extreme guilt. They may also feel ashamed or anxious. Sometimes they worry about having caused their loved one to become bipolar because of being short-tempered or because they had been un-supportive.

In the past, a lot of blame was (erroneously) placed on the parents for producing a mentally ill child. In severe cases of recurrent manic depressive illness, the individual may never again be quite the same person the family had known prior to the diagnoses of the illness. The family then goes through a sort of mourning process. They may grieve over the lost hopes and dreams. The families sometimes feel shame because of the unfulfilled expectations, and also with the stigma of mental illness. One of the reasons that mental illness carries such a stigma is because it is often associated with decreased productivity (less nowadays). The value of productivity has been the mainstay of North America. Anxiety is often present because the family members grow to anticipate the a change in mood or a return of symptoms. Families find it stressful to plan any activities or events for fear of the affected…