Characteristics of Bipolar Disorders Essay

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Characteristics of Bipolar Disorders

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain
disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person's mood, energy, and
ability to function (Mental Help Net, 2004). Different from the normal
ups and downs that everyone goes through, the symptoms of bipolar
disorder are severe. They can result in damaged relationships, poor
job or school performance, and even suicide.

Bipolar Disorder is broken down into two types:

Bipolar I: For a diagnosis of Bipolar I disorder, at least one manic
or mixed episode clearly is or has been present (APA, 2000). DSM-IV
Criteria for Bipolar I Disorder consists of:

One or more Manic or Mixed episodes
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Bipolar II: Similar to Bipolar I Disorder, there are periods of highs
as described above and often followed by periods of depression.
Bipolar II Disorder, however is different in that the highs are hypo
manic, rather than manic (APA, 2000). In other words, they have
similar symptoms but they are not severe enough to cause marked
impairment in social or occupational functioning and typically do not
require hospitalization in order to assure the safety of the person.

A person's family history and genetics (diathesis) often play an
important role in the greater likelihood of someone having bipolar
disorder in their lifetime (Mental Help Net, 2004). Increased stress
and inadequate coping mechanisms to deal with that stress may also
contribute to the disorder's manifestation. Bipolar disorder is most
often experienced as a swing between a manic and a depressed mood,
which may often be related to increased stress or other event in a
person's normal life (Mental Help Net, 2004). Nearly anything can
trigger a person to shift in mood, and sometimes there is no obvious
trigger at all. Often, the first manic episode is triggered because of
some external stressor the person has experienced. However, the
hallmark of Bipolar disorder is that the person's extreme moods often
seem to come on of their own accord (Mental Help Net,…

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