[[[Bipolar Disorder By: Kelsey Hubin]]]

First paragraph. Bipolar Disorder, defined by the book Discovering Psychology, as “a mood disorder involving periods of incapacitating depression alternating with periods of extreme euphoria and excitement,” (Hockenbury 523) affects about 7.5 million people in the United States and three percent of the worlds population, not including minor and borderline cases (Bunch). People that suffer from bipolar disorder live in cycles of depression: lows and mania: highs (Nekola 61). This illness often becomes first apparent with a serious depression that can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to as long as multiple months (DBSAlliance.org). This time of depression needs no trigger point, although sometimes one maybe evident (familydoctor.org). Unexplainable crying spells, persistent lethargy, and loss of enjoyment in ones favorite activities, are some of the more noticeable symptoms, although the less observable indications are often the most dangerous. These include the abuse of drugs and alcohol, extreme irritability, a complete change in appetite, and reoccurring thoughts of death and suicide (Nekola 61-62). A depressed character might lye in bed for days without feeling refreshed from sleep or they may cry about something that wouldn’t normally bother them. The depression cycle of bipolar disorder is known for causing its patrons to withdrawal from their friends as well as their normal self.
Second paragraph. The opposing side of this condition is mania. Sure there are upsides to mania such as being happy, having high energy levels, increased optimism, as well as self-confidence. Nonetheless, mania is not always good. There are many downsides such as being impulsive, having trouble concentrating, insomnia, experiencing risky behavior, or making decisions on a whim without considering the consequences they may hold; and that’s just to name a few (DBSAlliance.org). A person that is overcome by the mania stage of the cycle could easily go splurge-shopping charging many unaffordable items to a credit card without thinking about the debt. Another example of a mania-stricken individual, would be one that may come off as being overly friendly and have an increased sexual drive; they would be willing to have sex with a complete stranger without being careful to prevent pregnancy or disease (familydoctor.org). It’s kind of disappointing when even the upside has negatives! A mixed state is when symptoms of depression and mania are at odds with each other. This could be elation and ecstasy mixed with irritability, anger, and rage (Nekola 62-63). One suffering from mixed states may come off as
being obnoxious and manipulative and also complain a great deal. They are often very spirited and enthusiastic one day becoming tired and pessimistic the next (familydoctor.org). The mixture of these behaviors is a reflection of both extremes caused by this illness protruding at one time. The outcome of this manic mood would be coming off as depressing and belligerent, rather that pleasant and exciting (Nekola 62). An example of mixed state would be a teenager or adult that is pleasant throughout the day with their friends and coworkers, but may act out when they return home around their parents, children, or spouses. As you can see, mixed state is often a milder form of bipolar disorder, although this is not always the case!
Third paragraph. The causes of Bipolar Disorder remain unknown. Some feel that it maybe genetic and run in families, partly due to the fact that it affects and equal number of men and women (familydoctor.org). This illness usually affects people ranging from the age of 18 to 44 (Nekola 63), but patients of all ages have been diagnosed (familydoctor.org). All in all, the only thing researchers are positive of, is Bipolar Disorder is related to abnormal brain function, and stress sometimes triggers episodes. Although bipolar disorder is incurable, treatments are available. The recommended treatment usually consists of a combination of medication, psychotherapy, disease education, and when the need arises, hospitalization.
Fourth paragraph. Bipolar disorder is not to be taken lightly and individuals that can no longer care for themselves, have lost touch with reality, or are at risk of suicide should be hospitalized (Nekola 62). The medications regularly administered for the treatment of this illness include a mixture of mood stabilizers made of light metal lithium that help to reduce the intensity of both the mania and the depression, combined with anti-depressants (Bunch). Regular counseling and proper education of this illness are also vital (Nekola 63). Without treatment, manic episodes are known to last as long as three months and depression episodes much longer. Treatment also allows occurrences to become shorter and milder (familydoctor.org). It is important to know that the more intense the symptoms, the more the medication is known to be successful. Therefore, no severity is too severe for medication! The outcomes of bipolar disorder can differ drastically, having much to do with the severity, as well as the treatment used. This illness is chronic and recurrent and without proper treatment can become deadly. Mania if left untreated could result in exhaustion and the tendency to collapse. More severe and long term problems include, heart attacks, cerebral hemorrhage, and dehydration, are not uncommon. Untreated bipolar patients frequently attempt suicide so it is crucial that individuals are tested and diagnosed so they can begin proper treatment immediately!
Fifth paragraph. The diagnosis of bipolar disorder is a very difficult one. In the past, it has been mistaken for many other diseases and disorders but in recent years has become more easily diagnosable (Nekola 64). One reason bipolar disorder is sometimes miss diagnosed is because it is often mistaken for depression (First). This is because the patient may have only been seen by the doctor during a depression part of the cycle and the doctor and perhaps the patient may not be aware of the manic episodes at the time of that diagnosis. Unfortunately, bipolar disorder is only detectable in the mania stage of its cycle (Nekola 64). The main approach used by doctors to correctly distinguish between the two is to use the system printed in the DSM IV. The most distinct things doctors look for in an individual include inflated self esteem, decreased need for sleep, and distractibility. They also gauge the pleasure taken in the patients favorite activities and pressure the individual to stop talking without telling them (First). These all lead to the true diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Once properly diagnosed with bipolar disorder, there are plenty of ways to improve your behavior. For starters, research the illness and teach your family and friends what you learn. It will be much easier for everyone to cope if they are aware of what they may have to cope with (Nekola 65). Next, compile a regular schedule and stick to it. It will be hard to show true signs of depression and mania if you are busy engaged in a regular schedule of work, meals, and exercise (familydoctor.org). Be sure to take your medicine everyday (Bunch), don’t stop taking it even if you begin to feel better (familydoctor.org). Try to avoid stress to the best of your ability. Everyone will encounter some stress, but try to eliminate factors that may contribute too much stress (DBSAlliance.org). Lastly, and most importantly, know the early warning signs of this illness and be sure to let your doctor know when any changes arise (familydoctor.org).

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