Bipolar Disorder can be characterized as alternating episodes of mania or hypomania activity and depression. This disorder was first named in 1851 and was originally called circular insanity (Falret). Bipolar Disorder is established by patterns of stability and relapse that have a significant impact on quality of life. Episodes can be very severe or minor depending on the patients concept of reality. Bipolar disorder can also be referred to as manic depression. Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that causes severe periods of depression and mania that can greatly disturb a person’s life.
Bipolar disorder begins when the patient becomes depressed, starts feeling sad, or feels very lonely. They tend to lose interest in their usual daily activities and struggle to find happiness and/or a sense of purpose. These periods of depression are followed by sudden bursts of energy during which they are active and experience extreme euphoria. Euphoria is the state of being intensely excited and happy. Sadly this can lead to sleeplessness, constant judgement of others, and it can heavily affect their ability to think clearly. Bipolar Disorder can also lead to social isolation as well as weight loss. Social isolation is due to the sense of not feeling okay around others. With this disorder the patient will never feel quite right or normal.
Knowing if the patient has Bipolar Disorder is very important. The main thing to look out for is serious mood swings. These mood swings can lead to them doing something very dangerous, whether it be going sky diving because they are feeling overconfident, or they feel the want to self harm. Excessive sleeping can be easily missed as a symptom due to the fact that they may just say they are tired. The excessive sleep is due to the person going through a depressive episode and they possess no interest for everyday activities. If the patient holds a job they may quickly lose interest in the work and/or personal goals they may have. Simply having Bipolar Disorder doesn’t mean they will always be extremely happy, or extremely sad. In the best case scenario mood swings can be rare, they may only happen a few times a year. Even though the person that posses the disability won’t have a major episode, they may still had sudden mood changes just not as severe or obvious.
Bipolar Disorder can be characterized two ways, Bipolar l and Bipolar ll. Bipolar l is defined as having at least one manic episode that might be followed by a hypomanic episode (MFMER.) In some cases this results from a break in reality. The patient will have no sense of hypomanic episode until they are informed or come out of the state. Bipolar ll differs from Bipolar l because with Bipolar ll they have had at least one depressive episode and one hypomanic episode. Patients with Bipolar ll don’t experience manic episodes (MFMER.) Bipolar l is more commonly diagnosed because most patients will experience manic, depressive, and hypomanic episodes. Bipolar l is ultimately more severe than Bipolar ll. Bipolar ll is less destabilizing but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be easier to live with.
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong disorder that can be managed if the patient is willing. Sadly less than half of patients have a positive outcome to treatment, but the proper treatment is key to a more active life. When it comes to the treatment of Bipolar Disorder medications are very important. Lithium is proven to be the most effective when needing to keep episodes under control. Lithium will help to reduce how often someone will experience manic episodes. Valproate semisodium is given in order to help stabilize a constant and more normal mood (Depakote ). Carbamazepine, also known as Tegretol, is used to help prevent upcoming or recurring episodes. Olanzapine is used to make the good days last longer. It is also used for the prevention of relapsing a depressive mood. Many other forms of medications exist ,yet they are not proven to be as effective.
A possible unconventional treatment is putting a placebo in place. A placebo is a fake pill or other medication that is used to see if it will have a psychological effect. Back in 2005 a doctor that is listed by the name of S.Karger started a clinical trial to test the use of a placebo to see its effects on people with Bipolar disorder. This clinical trial was for patients that had mild or early onset Bipolar Disorder. This trial had some unclear results due to the fact the doctors were unsure of how long to make the trial. The trial resulted in some patients having less manic or depressive episode but it did not cure anyone (S.Karger.) There has been and will continue to be many more clinical trials in place to test the effect a placebo has on bipolar patients. This shows unconventional medication can work in order to help relieve those how are having a difficult time.
If left untreated the patient will most likely experience many very severe depressive and manic episodes. This will make them not able to work due to having no interest whatsoever. Not having proper medication can lead to heavy substance abuse. The patient ,during an episode, will try to cure the way they are feeling anyway they see possible, whether that is drugs or alcohol. Studies show that 56% abuse drugs and 44% abuse alcohol.(Health Guides.) Unfortunately, one third of people with untreated Bipolar Disorder commit suicide due to never feeling themself. Early diagnosis and early treatment can offer a good chance at a full and productive life.
There are many myths when it comes to Bipolar Disorder. First of all a lot of people believe that Bipolar Disorder is a rare condition. This disease has affected 5.7 million American adults and will affect them for the rest of their lives. Millions of teen may also suffer from Bipolar Disorder but it is often overlooked as a possibility. Many parents and even physicians don’t think of Bipolar Disorder as a diagnosis due to the young age. Secondly a common misconception is thinking Bipolar disorder is just another name for mood swings. Normal mood swings aren’t as serve as the mood changes associated with Bipolar Disorder. Mood swings can go from a more normal happy to sad, but mood changes with Bipolar Disorder can change from depressive to very happy. Another very common myth is people tend to think people with Bipolar Disorder shift back and forth between depression and mania very fast. The truth is a depressive state as well as a mania state can last weeks or even months at a time.
Bipolar Disorder doesn’t only affect the person who has the disorder but also the people around them. For doctors the patients are very high profile cases that require somewhat constant care. Bipolar disorder is estimated to be a US cost of $7 billion in direct costs and $38 billion in indirect costs (Wyatt RJ,Henter l, Leary MC). The people who are most affected are the family members of the patient. The family members will be responsible for making sure the patient takes their medications, they will have to be willing to be patient with them, and finally they will be on constant watch to make sure the patient is okay. Health problems can occur in family members due to emotional stress such as guilt and grief. If the patient is fortunate enough to have a job this disorder will affect relationships with not only coworkers but with their boss as well. There is a possibility of losing their job if a depressive episode is to occur, and then in turn this creates financial stress. Financial stress can also occur when patients have a manic episode because they are known to make extravagant purchases.
What can others do to help people with Bipolar Disorder? First thing is to be educated as much as possible about the illness. Never stop asking questions whether that be to a doctor or the utilization of the internet. Give the family and the person with the disorder never ending support. Just being there can make a world of difference in a person’s life. Most importantly believe in them, especially when they don’t believe in themselves. And finally love them even when it gets hard and giving up seems like the best option, don’t give up.
Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that causes potentially long periods of depression and mania that can greatly disturb a person’s life. There are limited but seemingly effective treatment options. Bipolar Disorder is a very tough lifelong disorder with many up and downs ,but having the right people and environment around it could not seem so bad.
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