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The Weird Ways of Bipolar Disorder in Teens Over the decades and since the beginning of life on earth, mental disorders have existed and tormented many different people. The one group of people who tend to be getting more mental disorders than others are teenagers. The teenage years are a time for growth, mistakes, and trying to grow up and be responsible so of course developing a mental disorder at this age is pretty common. But what even is a mental disorder? According to Psychology Today, “A mental disorder is a syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotion regulation, or behavior that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning” (“The New Definition of a Mental Disorder”, n.d.). One mental disorder that tends to get diagnosed in teenagers is bipolar disorder, or manic depression. Leahy writes “Bipolar disorder is a chronic and often devastating illness that may go undiagnosed because of its complex and diverse presentation” (Leahy, 2007). There are even different types of bipolar disorder.

Depressive symptoms. Yet people feeling the depressive side may experience: having problems thinking and making choices, feeling depressed and disheartened, feeling overly worried, having less energy, forgetting things, insomnia, sleeping not on a proper time schedule and erratically, feeling like they cannot enjoy the things they usually love, thinking about death and having suicidal thoughts, overeating or not eating enough, and feeling exhausted or physically and emotionally slowed down (“Bipolar Disorder”, n.d.). Causes The exact cause of bipolar disorder is still unknown, but it is known that biological differences and genetics have an effect. According to Mayo Clinic, “people with biological differences, have physical changes in their brains, yet the significance of it is uncertain” (“Bipolar Disorder”, 2018). Also, if a person has an immediate family member such as a sibling or parent that has bipolar disorder, then they will most likely have it too, making it genetic (“Bipolar Disorder”, 2018.). Diagnosis Bipolar disorder is an illness that often gets misdiagnosed, so it requires different methods. According to Mayo Clinic, the first thing that will happen is the doctor will check to see if any medical problems are causing the symptoms (“Bipolar Disorder”, 2018). Then the doctor will refer you to a psychiatrist if nothing medical is found. They will see what is wrong mentally by talking about feelings (“Bipolar Disorder”, 2018). Then family members may be asked to provide information about what they have noticed about the symptoms (“Bipolar Disorder”, 2018). Lastly, the psychiatrist may associate the symptoms with the standards for bipolar disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (“Bipolar Disorder, 2018.). Types Bipolar disorder is not an illness that is clean cut and obviously one thing. Bipolar disorder comes with different levels and variations. Bipolar disorder I. The first type is Bipolar disorder I, which is “defined by manic episodes that last at least 7 days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care.

Lithium carbonate is “used primarily for long-term (‘prophylactic’) treatment of BD with the aim to prevent further manic and depressive recurrences” (Alda, 2015). According to webMD, other medications are used such as Depakote, Equetro, Lamictal, Neurontin, Trileptal, Topamax, Haloperidol, Abilify, Saphris, Zyprexa, Risperdal, Latuda, Symbyax, Seroquel, and Vraylar (“Understanding Bipolar Disorder Treatment”, n.d.). There is also treatment through psychotherapy, and even a mix of therapy and medication. The different kinds of psychotherapies that are used are cognitive behavioral, interpersonal/ social rhythm, family therapy, and group therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is therapy that focuses on someone’s thoughts and someone’s actions and tries to alter both at once instead of just one on its own. It makes it so someone becomes conscious of incorrect and undesirable thinking so that situations are retorted to in a good way (“Cognitive behavioral therapy”, 2017.). Interpersonal therapy. Interpersonal therapy is therapy that focuses on things that happen in someone’s life such as life stage transitions, personal shortcomings, relational conflicts, and griefs, it also tries to find underlying causes (“”, n.d.). Group and family therapy. According to Good Therapy, “Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy in which a group of patients meet to describe and discuss their problems together under the supervision of a therapist” (“”, n.d.). Family therapy is group therapy for families. It involves digging into the family’s problems and trying to get over them positively. It is best if a medication is used while going through a therapy so that treatment will be more effective. For those who taking the medication does not work, electroconvulsive therapy could be used, but generally it is not used, and surgeries are not used (Colin, 2013). Other simple things like adequate sleeping, exercising, and eating properly is helpful in improving bipolar disorder. Conclusion Overall, bipolar disorder is a very difficult mental disorder to deal with. It has multiple symptoms that create a rollercoaster of emotions, and it has different variations and episodes that frequently switch and have their own symptoms. It has effects that someone with bipolar disorder cannot control, such as how they feel and how frequent the emotion changes.

These effects tend to ruin relationships and makes it complicated to do work and to focus. It has very specific ways of being diagnosed such as having to meet certain requirements and symptoms. It is also important when being diagnosed that it is correctly diagnosed. It has treatments that are helpful and beneficial and does not require major medical changes like the different kinds of medications, mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics, and anti-depressants; and therapies including cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, group and family therapy. Bipolar disorder is a wild ride to be on, living with it is very complex and far from easy. Without medication and support, bipolar disorder is hard to manage and destroys any form of relationship. Bipolar disorder is a disorder that should be taken very seriously, and not seen as making someone a bad and crazy person. Bipolar disorder is one of the most complicated disorders because of its different types, different stages, different episodes, and different symptoms.

  • Alda, M. (2015). Lithium in the treatment of bipolar disorder: Pharmacology and pharmacogenetics. Molecular Psychiatry, 20(6), 661. doi:10.1038/mp.2015.4
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Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms and Treatment


Bipolar disorder is sometimes referred to as manic-depression. It is a kind of illness that affects the brain causing unusual changes in mood, levels of activities, the state of energy and the capability to handle the daily tasks. It has severe symptoms which are very different from usual on and off that all the people go through time and again (Goodwin, 2007).

The signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder can lead to the disruption of relationships, meagre performance in the places of work or at institutions which can then lead to suicide. Nevertheless, bipolar disorder can effectively be treated. As a result, individuals suffering from illness can lead happy lives. In most cases it starts immediately before the age of 25 years. Others can experience their initial symptoms during the early childhood periods or during late life time.

The bipolar disorder is hardly identifiable especially at its onset with the symptoms appearing to be separate problems that are not easily recognized as being parts that comprise the larger problem. Some groups of people suffer from the disorder for several years before proper diagnosis and treatment can be taken. Similarly to diabetes or rather the heart diseases, bipolar disorder is found to be a long-time kind of illness that needs careful management in the entire life of a person.

The symptoms of bipolar disorder

Majority of the people who suffer from bipolar disorder always experience intense emotional conditions that are not usual and they occur in different periods that are referred to as mood episodes. The overexcited condition is referred to as manic episode while the extremely sad condition is considered to be depressive episode. The mood episode sometimes has symptoms such as; mania as well as depression that are referred to as mixed state. The symptoms of explosion and irritation may show up among the individuals suffering from the bipolar disorder, especially during the mood episode (Mueser, 1998).

High levels of changes in activities, energy, behaviours and sleep go hand in hand with the shifts in mood. Chances of individuals having bipolar undergoing long-lasting periods of poor moods which are not stable are always extremely high. It is considered that an individual may have an episode of the bipolar disorder in case that particular person has several depressive symptoms most of the time, more so on daily basis or two weeks. Sometimes the symptoms are very severe to the extent that a person may not function normally in school, at workplace or simply at home (Goodwin, 2007).

The symptoms of a manic episode

Changes in mood.

These include the following; the long lasting moment of high feelings and exceeding irritable mood, full of jumpy feelings and agitation.

Behavioural changes

These involve the following;

  • Easily distracted
  • The state of being restless
  • Faster talking, possession of racing thoughts
  • Having very little sleep
  • High-risk behaviours

The symptoms of depressive episode

Mood changes.

There are increased moment of worried feelings and the abandoning of activities due to the lost interest especially after the enjoyment in the action.

The behavioural changes

  • Feeling so tired
  • Change of the eating and sleeping habits
  • Attempting suicide or just thinking about death

Sometimes, an individual with mania episodes which are severe may have psychotic symptoms as well for instance; delusions or rather hallucinations. With psychotic symptoms it means that a person has extreme mood. Other forms of psychotic symptoms which an individuals suffering from the disease include the following: There is always a belief of possessing a huge amount of money; being highly famous and having extraordinary powers.

Similarly, an individual with a depressive episode is most likely to believe that she or he has been destroyed and is very penniless. As a result, a person having the disorder and who has psychotic signs is not diagnosed in the proper way. People who have bipolar disorder have been identified with behavioural problems. Sometimes they may be found to abuse alcohol, undergo some relationships difficulties and perform very in school or rather at workplaces. Initially, recognizing some of these problems as being signs for this main mental illness is very hard (Goodwin. 2007).

How bipolar disorder affect people

Both the male as well as female are affected by bipolar disorder. In the majority of the people, the initial symptoms turn up in their beginning of twenties. Though, it has been discovered that the initial bipolar disorder episode actually occurs earlier. In case the episode is frequently diagnosed within the adolescence period and in children may result into the disorder.

It has been recently argued that children and teens that are affected by the bipolar disorder they normally have no similar behavioural patterns unlike which is in the adults with same attack of the disorder. For instance, those kids that do have bipolar disorder are most likely to experience quick mood changes with additional of other mood-associated symptoms such as; increased level of anxiety and irritability. However, they are found not show some other symptoms that are frequently experienced in adults.

Due to the insolvents of the brain, the ways individuals with bipolar disorder act, feel and think they are entirely affected. This is considered to be difficult more so for individuals to comprehend their conditions (Mueser, 1998). It may be found to be exceedingly frustrating in case other people behave as if a person with bipolar disorder is expected to instantly come out of the problem. Bipolar disorder is actually not taken as a sign of character flaw, but as a critical medical condition which in actual sense requires treatment, simply like the rest of conditions. The following are the major types of the bipolar disorders;

Bipolar Disorder I

It is basically defined by the mixed episodes which last for seven days. Usually, the individual with this type of disorder is found to have depressive episodes that last for a minimum of two weeks. Depression is found to be the main change from the normal behaviour of an individual with bipolar disorder I.

Bipolar Disorder II

This is defined by the depressive episodes changing from time to time with episodes of hypomanic, but there are no mixed episodes.

Bipolar Disorder with no specification

The diagnosis of the disease is done when an individual having the disease is having symptoms which cannot fulfil the diagnostic requirements for both bipolar II or rather bipolar I. These symptoms are most likely not to last for a longer period of time and sometimes there may be very few symptoms within a person that can be diagnosed with either bipolar I or bipolar II.

The Cyclothymic Disorder

This is also known as the Cyclothymia Disorder. Cyclothymic Disorder is considered to be a calm type of the bipolar disorder. Individuals having the disorder in most cases have hypomania episodes which change with time and also with the mild depression for a minimum of two years. Nevertheless, the signs in most cases do not always attain the diagnostic requirements for the other forms of bipolar disorder.

Rapid-cycling form of bipolar is a condition when there are four or rather more types of episodes such as; mania, mixed symptoms, depression or hypomania that are diagnosed in a person with this disorder.

Rapid cycling tends to be very common among those people who severely suffer from bipolar disorder. It was discovered that individuals with the rapid cycling experienced their initial episode some four years of its early occurence, which was between during mid and late teens of age that is totally different from people without this king of disorder. Rapid cycling is found to be more common with women than with men (Schneck, 2008).

Illness which co-exist with the bipolar disorder

Substance abuse is found to be very common among the people suffering from bipolar disorder. Some individuals with bipolar disorder may decide to overcome their symptoms through the use drugs. However, with substance abuse the symptoms of bipolar disorder may be triggered that may as well result into difficulties in behavioural control which may be related to mania (Bizzarri, 2007).

A good number of disorders of anxiety for example social phobia as well as post-traumatic stress takes place among individuals having bipolar disorder. In addition, this disorder co-occur the attention deficit kind of hyperactivity disorder that has symptoms which overlap with the bipolar disorder like; ease of being distracted and restlessness (Strakowski, 1998).

Bipolar disorder diagnosis

The preliminary steps aimed at accomplishing proper diagnosis of the bipolar disorder involve a discussion with the medical practitioner who does the interview as well the lab tests together with physical examinations. Presently, it is not possible to diagnose the disorder through blood test and brain scan. Nonetheless, the test can help in averting the contributing factors such as stroke and brain tumor. The medical practitioner is entitled to give referral to an expert in mental health such as a qualified psychiatrist who is highly experienced in diagnosis and bipolar disorder treatment (Krishnan, 2005).

People faced with bipolar disorder seek support especially when they seem to be depressed than at the time of hypomania experience. Therefore, medical history that is very careful is required to correctly explain the diagnosis of bipolar disorder as a main depressive order (Krishnan, 2005).

The treatment of bipolar disorder

Due to long-lasting and the recurrence of the illness of bipolar disorder, faced with the disorder are required to have long-term treatment to keep the symptoms of bipolar under control. Efficient care of the disorder entails medication as well as carrying out the process of psychotherapy so as to avoid the lapse and also reduce the signs and symptoms (Bizzarri, 2007).

Bipolar disorder is hardly identifiable especially at its onset with its symptoms appearing as distinct problems that may not be easily recognized as being parts that encompass the larger problem.

  • Bizzarri, J. (2007).The spectrum of substance abuse in bipolar disorder: reasons for use, sensation seeking and substance sensitivity. Bipolar Disord. Vol.9, No.3, 213-220.
  • Goodwin, K., (2007). Manic-Depressive Illness: Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression, Second Edition. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Krishnan, K., (2005). Psychiatric and medical comorbidities of bipolar disorder. Psychosom Med. Vol. 67, No.1, 1-8.
  • Schneck, C., (2008). The prospective course of rapid-cycling bipolar disorder: findings from the STEP-BD. New York: Am J. Psychiatry.
  • Mueser, K., (1998). Trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder in severe mental illness. J Consult Clin Psychol. Vol. 66, No. 3, 493-499.
  • Strakowski, M, (1998). Course of psychiatric and substance abuse syndromes co-occurring with bipolar disorder after a first psychiatric hospitalization. J Consult Clin Psychol. Vol. 59, No.9, 465-471.

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Bipolar Disorder’ Causes and Treatment

Bipolar disorder is a condition of the brain, which causes abnormal shifts in activities and moods. There are two types of bipolar disorders: bipolar I and bipolar II. The general symptoms of bipolar I (a single manic episode) include talking very fast, making loud speech, insomnia, substance abuse, hyperactive activity and hyper-sexuality (Townsend, 2014; National Institute of Mental Health [NIH], n.d).

On the other hand, the general symptoms of bipolar II (recurrent bouts of major depressions) include, talking very fast, making loud speech, jumping from one idea to another and sleeping less. In both categories, individuals are characterized by being overly restless, engaging in high risk behaviors, having unrealistic beliefs, thinking of death and attempting suicide.

Biological influences play significant role in bipolar disorders. According to NIH (n.d.), people with particular genes have a higher possibility of developing bipolar disorder than those without such genes. For instance, children whose siblings or parents have bipolar disorder have a higher chance of developing it than their counterparts.

Besides, identical twins frequently share bipolar disorder than fraternal twins (US Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, 1992). As such, twin and family studies support genetic link that exist between bipolar disorder and biological influences.

There are biological reasons why an individual may exhibit behaviors relating to bipolar disorder. For instance, abnormal emotional behaviors relate to the increase of subcortical activity, particularly the amygdale, which causes the deficiency of prefrontal control towards negative emotions (Seo, Patrick, & Kennealy, 2008).

In addition, the hypofunctioning of prefrontal cortex (PFC), especially the orbitomedical area is associated with the impaired regulation of manic and emotion behaviors. Thus, such abnormalities predispose people to aggressive behaviors and emotional dysregulation.

The medication acts as a foundation of treating bipolar disorder, especially in controlling bipolar symptoms. Mood stabilizers such as Lithium (Lithobid or Eskalith) are used to treat depressive and manic episodes. Anticonvulsants (Lamotrigine and Valproic acid) treat seizures and control moods (NIH, n.d).

Besides, individuals can control bipolar disorder symptoms via lifting weights, getting enough sleep, running and eating healthy. Notably, a knowledgeable and experienced psychiatrist is required to provide care to bipolar disorder patients.

Bipolar disorder affects the memory of an individual in numerous ways. For instance, during the manic episodes, both the memory and cognition of individuals are at the lowest levels (Young, Ferrier, & Michalak, 2010). During depressive phases, individual memory is filled with negative thoughts about oneself and the world.

Besides, during depressive phases, an individual lacks concentration. Besides, the treatment of bipolar disorder, especially using lithium interferes with the memory (Kaplan, 2011). In short, manic phase, depressive phase, medication side effects and psychotic phase degrade the ability of the brain to store information.

There are notable biological influences on the memory of individuals with bipolar disorder. According to Kaplan (2011), bipolar disorder is inherited via numerous genes. Besides, familial situations can compel genes to express themselves within a clinical environment. For instance, a family whose parent has bipolar disorder is likely to be characterized by chaos because of the absence of the parent to the children. In twins, monozygotic co-twins have a higher chance of getting bipolar disorder than dizygotic co-twins.

Besides, a child is likely to inherit bipolar disorder from parent and relevant attributes such as cognitive and memory impairment. Notably, individuals with bipolar disorder are characterized by certain chemical messengers or neurotransmitter imbalances in their brain (Miklowitz, 2010). Chemical messengers such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine facilitate cells communication. Since a child has a higher risk of inheriting bipolar disorder, there is a elevated chance of inheriting neurotransmitter imbalances.

The bipolar disorder distorts the memory of individuals through attention bias, distorted interpretation of information and memory bias. In attention bias, individuals tend to be concerned with information which is congruent with their current mood and beliefs (Macneil, 2009).

For instance, manic individuals tend to recall a perceived success, while depressed people tend to focus on environmental cues that confirm their negative beliefs and failures. Notably, depressed individuals face difficulties while trying to recall certain memories (Macneil, 2009). In memory bias, people with bipolar disorder tend to rewrite their past and attribute it with negative or positive events.

The two personality theories include psychodynamic and humanistic theory. Psychodynamic theory relies on the concept of unconscious as a determinant of behavior and motivation (Carpenter, & Huffman, 2013). Notably, what individuals think or do, whether normal or not, is influenced by inner forces within the subconscious level of their minds where they have control.

Psychodynamic theory connects mechanism of mood vacillations in a flexible and adaptive manner in order to counter complex dynamics as well as underlying mechanism that exhibit both linear and nonlinear behaviors (Koutsoukos, & Angelopoulos, 2014).

Humanistic theory is based on the assumption that the personality of individuals is decided by distinctive ways in which each person view the world (Carpenter, & Huffman, 2013). Such perceptions establish individual’s side of reality and guide one behavior in the realization of self-actualization. Humanistic theory can be applied in treating bipolar disorder through parent training as well as group experiences that are meant for enhancing personal growth (Bernstein, D. (2010).

Integrative group therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are used to treat bipolar disorder. Notably, integrative group therapy is effective in promoting the adherence to medication prescriptions, abstinence from drug abuse and symptom recognition in maintaining mood stability as well as substance use disorders relapse prevention (Roger, Weiss, & Connery, 2011).

On the other hand, cognitive behavioral therapy is effective in treating bipolar disorder because it focuses on the manner in which individuals think and behave with reference to emotions and mood swings (van Dijk, 2009).

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Carpenter, S., & Huffman, K. (2013). Visualization psychology . New York: New York State: John Wiley & Sons.

Kaplan, S. T. (2011). Your child does not have bipolar disorder: How bad science and good public relations created the diagnosis . Santa Barbra, Carlifonia: ABC-CLIO, LLC.

Koutsoukos, E., & Angelopoulos, E. (2014). Mood regulation in bipolar disorders viewed through the pendulum dynamics concept. International Journal of Bipolar Disorders, 2 (9), 1-20.

Macneil, C. A. (2009). Bipolar disorder in young people: A psychological intervention manual . Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Miklowitz, D. J. (2010). Bipolar disorder, second edition: A family-focused treatment approach . New York, New York State: Guilford Press.

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Young, A. H., Ferrier, I., N., & Michalak, E. E. (2010). Practical management of bipolar disorder . Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

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Bipolar Disorder Essay

  • 5 Works Cited

Biological, Psychological And Social Influences On Bipolar Disorder Essay

“Bipolar disorder, also commonly known as manic depression, is defined as a serious mental illness in which common emotions become intensely and often unpredictably magnified. Individuals with bipolar disorder can quickly alternate from extremes of happiness, energy and clarity to sadness, fatigue and confusion. All people with bipolar disorder have manic episodes abnormally elevated or irritable moods that last at least a week and impair functioning. But not all become depressed ” (American Psychological Association, 2015). Bipolar disorder can vary in each individual. The symptoms fluctuate in pattern, severity and rate of recurrence. Some people are more susceptible to either mania or depression, while others change proportionately between the two types of episodes. Some have frequent mood disruptions, while others live through a few throughout their lifetime.

Bipolar Disorder : Bipolar And Depression Essay

There is no known specific pathophysiology that is associated with Bipolar spectrum disorder, nonetheless, it’s thought that this disorder arises from many areas such as, genetic, physiological, environmental, epigenetics and psychosocial

Bipolar Disorder Research Paper

Bipolar Disorder is a brain disorder that is characterized by abnormal changes in mood, energy and activity levels (“National Institute of Mental Health”). Manic-depressive illness is also another name that bipolar disorder is commonly referred to as (“National Institute of Mental Health”). This disorder has four basic types including, bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymic, and any other which do not perfectly fit the first three. All four of the types have episodes of extreme highs, manic periods, and extreme lows, depressive periods. Symptoms can range greatly and depend on what type of episode the affected is having. Manic episodes can include, but are not limited to: having extraordinarily high amounts of energy, activity,

Symptoms And Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder

There are different symptoms and different types of bipolar disorder. The primary symptoms of bipolar disorder are dramatic and unpredictable mood swings. Mania symptoms may include excessive happiness, excitement, restlessness, less need for sleep, and high sex drive. Depression symptoms include sadness, anxiety, loss of energy, uncontrollable crying, need for sleep, and thoughts of death or suicide.

Bipolar II Disorder And Mental Disorders Essay

Approximately 0.5-1 percent of Americans will develop bipolar II disorder in their lifetime, worldwide the prevalence is 0.4 percent (Rosenberg & Kosslyn, 2011). Bipolar disorder is one of the main causes of disability, because of its cognitive and functional impairment, the high rate of medical and psychiatric comorbidity, and the relevant suicide risk (Dell 'Osso, et al., 2016). Bipolar II disorder is one of the two most commonly diagnosed subtypes of Bipolar disorder, which are distinguished by the amount of burden the depression causes, the number, frequency, duration, and severity of the depressive episodes, and the occurrence of specific sub threshold episodes (Dell 'Osso, et al., 2016). Although bipolar II disorder diagnosis are on the rise we lack extensive research on the features and treatments of this disorder (Datto, Pottorf, Feeley, Laporte, & Liss, 2016). Bipolar II disorder is now recognized in the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) under a new chapter dedicated specifically to bipolar disorders. Which proves that bipolar disorders are their own set of disorders in terms of symptomatology, family history, and genetics (MĂśller, et al., 2014). This allows an enhancement in the accuracy of diagnosis, which in turn leads to earlier treatment. In the DSM-5 it states that bipolar II disorder can lead to effects such as disability, comorbidity, mortality, and an impact on the quality of life (Datto, Pottorf,

Bipolar Disorder ( Bipolar )

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness in which common emotions become intensely and often unpredictably magnified. Individuals with bipolar disorder can quickly swing from extremes of happiness, energy and clarity to sadness, fatigue and confusion. Bipolar disorder more commonly develops in older teenagers and young adults; it can appear in children as 6. The exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown; there are two types of this disease:

Bipolar disorder also known as manic depression has always been a mystery since the 16th century. History has shown that it can appear in almost everyone. Bipolar disorder causes mood swings in energy, thinking, and other behavior. Having a bipolar disorder can be very disabling (Kapczinski). A study was evaluated and about 1.3% of the U.S population of people suffers from bipolar disorder. Stressors and environmental influences can trigger and cause a person to go through numerous episodes. Bipolar disorder is characterized according to the severity of the stages. According to Kapczinski, there are four different stages that a person with bipolar disorder can experience. The prognosis of a disorder is different in each particular patient

Bipolar Disorder Annotated Bibliography Essay

This source gives the readers an in-depth overview of Bipolar Disorder and the causes of having the mental health issue. There’s a great distinction between the ups and downs people experience and bipolar disorder. Due to the ups and downs teens and children experience, bipolar disorder is hard to diagnose during those early years. The National Center of Biotechnology Information’s research program is run by Senior Investigators, Tenure Track Investigators, Staff Scientists, and Postdoctoral Fellows which makes the source credible. The source contained

There are several different categories of symptoms when dealing with bipolar disorder; there are psychotic symptoms, manic symptoms, cognitive symptoms, and depression symptoms. Figure 2, by Terence Ketter, has a list of some of the more common symptoms from each category, and I will be breaking down the categories into a thorough list of the most common symptoms.

Bipolar : A Mental Illness

Bipolar disorder affects nearly 5.7 million adults each year, which is about 2.6% of the United States population (Doheny, 2015). Bipolar tends to occur in people during adolescence and early adulthood. There are four different types of bipolar disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the four different types of bipolar are bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, bipolar disorder not otherwise specified, and lastly cyclothymic disorder (National Institute of Mental Health, 2016). The DSM-5 goes in detail describing each of the different types of bipolar disorders. The recurrence of bipolar can lead to substance abuse, bad job performance, poor school performance, attempted suicide, family and relationship problems, as well as subsyndromal symptoms between the varies episodes that tend to occur (Lam, 2010). There are a severity of problems that people with bipolar can face, but bipolar is treatable. Bipolar is often stabilized by medication (Lam, 2010).

The Operational Definition Of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, or manic depressive disorder, is a disorder characterized by extreme mood changes. People with this disorder undergo unusual shifts in his or her mood, activity levels, energy and the ability to carry out daily activities (National Institute of Mental Health, n.d.). A person can go from being very outgoing and energetic to feeling irritated and worthless over a period of a few days, months, or even years. People with bipolar disorder experience “mood episodes”, represented by a drastic change in a person’s unusual mood or behavior (National Institute of Mental Health, n.d.). A manic episode he or she may experience is overexcited and overly joyful; however, someone in a

Essay about Symptoms and Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

The main symptom of bipolar disorder would be the dramatic and irregular mood swings. These mood swings would consist of the person being in a great mood one second, and then being extremely angry the next. Other symptoms of bipolar disorder would be extreme fatigue or low energy levels. Feelings of despair and difficulty concentrating may also be signs of

Essay Bipolar Disorder

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Where and how bipolar disorder is caused is still a bit of a mystery. Some information is known but nothing concrete, and a lot of dead ends. Genetic predisposition is one possible cause for bipolar disorder. The disease usually can be seen throughout a family tree of an affected individual. Twin studies have been conducted to see if there is a higher chance of identical twins, who have the same genetic make up, both getting the disease. These have shown that there is an increased likely hood of one twin to have bipolar disorder if the other has it, but it is not a certainty. The gene for bipolarity has mainly been traced to chromosome 18 as well as some others. It is uncertain which is responsible because it has been found in some cases that chromosome 18 is unaffected in bipolar patients. It is most likely that bipolar disorder is linked

Essay on bipolar disorder

Bipolar Disorder also known as Manic Depressive Illness involves outstanding mood swings. The individual has periods of depression, and periods when they feel either unusually good or pressured and irritable. It affects 1-2% of the population. Genetics plays a significant role. About 15% of children with one bipolar parent develop the disorder.

Treatment, Symptoms, and Prevention of Bipolar Disorder Essay


Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that is manifested by drastic mood changes — bipolar manifests in two main extremes, namely depression, and mania (Peacock, 2000). Depression manifests when an individual feels tired and sad. On the other hand, mania manifests when an individual experiences periods of extreme excitement and restlessness. Symptoms of bipolar depend on the extreme that individual experiences at a certain period.

In many cases, an individual is diagnosed with clinical depression and later with bipolar. During an episode of depression, individuals experience feelings that include hopelessness, extreme sadness, worthlessness, lethargy, and irritability (Peacock, 2000). In severe cases, an individual might contemplate suicide. On the other hand, episodes of mania are characterized by feelings of happiness, joy, irritability, and extreme creativity.

Prevalence and incidence

According to the World Health Organization, more than 10 million individuals have bipolar in the United States (Peacock, 2000). The disorder is a leading cause of disability in the world. It has a lifetime prevalence of approximately 3% around the globe. Statistics have revealed that more than 0.8% of the American population experiences at least a manic episode at one time in their life.

On the other hand, 0.5% of the population experiences a hypomanic episode. 6.4% of the American population has been shown to have bipolar spectrum disorder (Peacock, 2000). Studies have revealed that the incidence of bipolar disorder among men and women is the same. The incidence rate is similar across people of different origins and ethnic backgrounds.

However, its severity varies across the world. In the U.S., the rate of incidence is higher among African Americans than among Americans of European descent (Peacock, 2000). The disorder affects people mainly in their adolescence and early adulthood years. In many cases, individuals with experienced bipolar episodes of mania after the age of fifty.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder depend on the mood that an individual experiences at a certain period. Individuals experience extreme mood changes that affect their behaviors and thinking patterns. Mania is characterized by over-excitement, while depression is characterized by extreme sadness.

During episodes of depression, individuals experience feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, and loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed, such as sex and social interaction (Fink & Kraynak, 2012). Their thinking is predominantly negative, and they rarely see the positive aspects of their lives. Their behavior also changes. They are restless, irritable, indecisive, and insomniac. Moreover, they experience problems with concentration and memory (Peacock, 2000).

Symptoms of mania

Symptoms of mania include hyperactivity, high quantities of energy, extreme irritability, impulsive behavior, restlessness, risk-taking, extreme happiness, and excitement, as well as unrealistic belief in personal capabilities (Fink & Kraynak, 2012).

Hypomania is a less severe form of mania that is characterized by moderate productivity and happiness. In other cases, both episodes of depression and mania might manifest at the same time. During such episodes, individuals become insomniac, agitated, and may harbor sundial thoughts (Fink & Kraynak, 2012).

Treatment of bipolar disorder includes us of both medication and therapy (Miklowitz, 2011). Bipolar is a disorder that affects individuals for the rest of their lives. Therefore, combining medication with therapy lowers the prevalence of the various mood changes associated with the disorder (Fink & Kraynak, 2012).

The recurrence of a maniac and depressive episodes makes life difficult for victims. Successful treatment of bipolar disorder involves the use of different treatment remedies. According to studies, medication alone is not enough to treat bipolar disorder effectively. One of the most important aspects of bipolar treatment is education and awareness about causes and ways of management.

Victims should read extensively about the disorder, join support groups, and make lifestyle changes that enable them to manage their symptoms (Ketter, 2007). The most common treatment methods for bipolar include medication, psychotherapy, education, lifestyle changes, and support. Drugs such as mood stabilizers aid in the minimization of symptoms. The most common and most effective mood stabilizer used to treat bipolar is lithium (Ketter, 2007).

Antidepressants such as Prozac and Amitriptyline are also used. Antipsychotic medications include Ariplazole, Quetiapine, Risperidone, and Clozapine (Ketter, 2007). Other drugs used together with mood stabilizers include Lamictal, Symbax, Zyprexa, and Seroquel. Psychotherapy teaches individuals different ways of coping with difficult times and different mood changes (Fink & Kraynak, 2012). Types of therapy available to individuals include cognitive-behavioral therapy and family-focused therapy (Ketter, 2007).

Education involves understanding the various symptoms of bipolar and their management. Finally, support involves interacting with individuals with the disorder for moral, emotional, and psychological support. Support groups facilitate the sharing of experiences that could be helpful to other individuals with similar challenges (Ketter, 2007). Complementary treatments include acupuncture, deep meditation, as well as light and dark therapy.

Prevention of a bipolar disorder

To prevent bipolar disorder, it is important to learn about it to control mood changes and other symptoms. It is also important to practice lifestyle management. Lifestyle management involves changes such as alcohol avoidance, practicing meditation, physical exercise, and thinking positively (Miklowitz, 2011).

Prevention of bipolar disorder mainly focuses on stress reduction. High levels of stress increase the risk of developing bipolar for genetically susceptible individuals. Stress reduction can be achieved through regular physical exercise and participating in relaxation methods such as meditation and yoga (Ketter, 2007).

Risk factors

Bipolar disorder’s risk factors include genetics, lifestyle, alcohol and drug abuse, high-stress levels, environment, and major life changes. Research has revealed that bipolar disorder has a basis in the genes of individuals. Therefore, the risk is very high for individuals who come from families with a history of the disorder. Research has shown that children from families in which one or both the parents have the disorder have a high risk of developing the disorder (Fink & Kraynak, 2012).

Major life changes such loss of a loved one, sexual abuse, or traumatic events such as accidents increase the risk of developing the disorder. Individuals who undergo prolonged periods of stress are also at high risk of developing the disorder (Fink & Kraynak, 2012). Medical practitioners recommend physical exercise and meditation as two of the most effective methods of reducing stress. Alcohol and drug abuse also increase the risk of developing the disorder.

Environment plays a critical role in the development o bipolar disorder. For instance, children who grow in abusive and violent families have a very high risk of developing bipolar (Miklowitz, 2011). Stressful environments play a key role in triggering depressive episodes that herald the development of bipolar.

Diagnosis is carried out through evaluation by a medical professional following diagnosis guidelines as provided in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorder (DSM) (Fink & Kraynak, 2012). Successful diagnosis is mainly based on the observation of major changes in mood patterns and behavior. After a successful diagnosis, a patient is given medication based on past medical history and the severity of the condition.

Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that is characterized by extreme mood changes that range from mania to depression. Risk factors include lifestyle, genetics, environment, drug and alcohol abuse, and major life changes such as death or abuse. Symptoms depend on the type of mod. Symptoms observed during the mania phase include hyperactivity, risk-taking, restlessness, and unrealistic belief in one’s capabilities.

During the depression phase, symptoms include insomnia, poor concentration, lack of appetite, loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable, and feelings of hopelessness as well as helplessness. In severe cases, individuals contemplate suicide. Effective treatment involves the use of both drugs and psychotherapy. Drugs used include mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and psychotic medication.

Forms of therapy applied to include cognitive-behavioral therapy, family-centered therapy, as well as interpersonal and social rhythm therapy. Prevention involves participation in physical exercise and stress reduction activities such as meditation and yoga. According to the World Health Organization, more than 10 million individuals have bipolar in the United States.

On the other hand, 3% of the world’s population suffers from the disorder. Research has revealed that bipolar disorder has a basis in the genes of individuals. Therefore, the risk is very high for individuals who come from families with a history of the disorder. Research has shown that children from families in which one or both the parents have the disorder have a high risk of developing the disorder.

Fink, C., & Kraynak, J. (2012). Bipolar Disorder for Dummies . New York: John Wiley & sons.

Ketter, T. (2007). Advances in Treatment of Bipolar Disorder . New York: American Psychiatric Publishers.

Miklowitz, D. J. (2011). The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide, Second Edition: What You and your Family Need to Know . New York: Gilford Press.

Peacock, J. (2000). Bipolar Disorder . New York: Capstone.

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Bipolar disorder, top of body.

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that causes unusual shifts in mood, ranging from extreme highs (mania or “manic” episodes) to lows (depression or “depressive” episode).

A person who has bipolar disorder also experiences changes in their energy, thinking, behavior, and sleep. During bipolar mood episodes, it is difficult to carry out day-to-day tasks, go to work or school, and maintain relationships.

What Causes Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder affects millions of adults in the U.S. Most people are diagnosed with bipolar disorder in their teens or twenties, however, it can occur at any age and although the symptoms can persist, many find ways to manage their symptoms successfully. People are at a higher risk if they have a family history of bipolar disorder, experienced a traumatic event, and/or misused drugs or alcohol. Differences in brain structure and function may also play a role. If you think you may have it, tell your health care provider.

Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

When a person has a manic episode, they feel overly excited, productive, and even invincible. On the other hand, when a person has a depressive episode, they feel extremely sad, hopeless, and tired. They may avoid friends, family, and participating in their usual activities. A severe manic or depressive episode may trigger psychotic symptoms, such as delusions (false beliefs) or hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that others do not see or hear). These drastic behavior changes usually cause concern among friends and family. Everyone’s experience with bipolar disorder is different, and the signs and symptoms vary:

A "manic" episode may include

A "manic" episode may include:

  • Intense feelings of euphoria, excitement, or happiness
  • Appearing abnormally jumpy or wired
  • Having excessive energy
  • Insomnia or restlessness (a decreased need for sleep)
  • Speaking fast or being unusually talkative
  • Having racing or jumbled thoughts
  • Distractibility
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Doing impulsive, uncharacteristic, or risky things like having unsafe sex or spending a lot of money
  • Increased agitation and irritability

A "depressive" episode may include

A "depressive" episode may include:

  • Feeling down, sad, worried, worthless, anxious, guilty, empty, or hopeless
  • Lack of interest, or no interest, in activities
  • Feeling tired, low energy
  • Forgetfulness
  • Indecisiveness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in sleep, either sleeping too much or too little
  • Changes in appetite, either eating too much or too little
  • Thoughts of death and/or suicide

Types & Treatment Bipolar Disorder

Types of bipolar disorder.

Each type of bipolar disorder includes periods between manic or depressive episodes when symptoms lessen, or people feel stable. The major difference between the types of disorder is how extreme the mood states are and how long they last.

  • Bipolar I Disorder:  having a history of at least one manic episode, but sometimes also having depressed or hypomanic episodes as well.
  • Bipolar II Disorder: mood states that vary from an even mood to high to low, but the highs are less extreme and are called hypomanic states. The depressive episodes may be just as severe as those in Major Depressive Disorder and/or Bipolar I Disorder.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder:  more chronic mood instability (both highs and lows) that are not as long, severe, or frequent as those experienced in bipolar I or II disorder.

Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition that doesn’t go away on its own. While it can feel overwhelming and isolating at first, an early, accurate diagnosis is the first step toward getting better. Proper treatment, along with support and self-care, helps people with bipolar disorder live healthy, fulfilling lives.

If you think you may have bipolar disorder, tell your health care provider. A medical checkup can rule out other illnesses that might cause your mood changes.

Bipolar disorder is treatable with a combination of medication and therapy.

  • Medications. Mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants can help manage mood swings and other symptoms. It is important to understand the benefits and risks of medications. People may need to try different medications before determining which works best for them. They should never stop taking a medication without their doctor’s guidance.
  • “Talk therapy” (psychotherapy). Therapy helps people accept their disorder, recognize the warning signs of a manic or depressive episode, develop coping skills for handling stress, and stick with a medication schedule. Therapy also improves communication and relationships among families.
  • Long-term, continuous treatment. While there may be times between episodes where a person feels fine, a long-term, continuous treatment plan can reduce the severity and frequency of mood swings.

These healthy lifestyle habits, along with professional treatment, can help manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder:

  • Keep a consistent sleeping schedule. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. Being sleep deprived can put people at risk for manic or depressive episodes. Sleeping more than usual may be a sign of a depressive episode. Limit caffeine, which can disrupt sleep.
  • Eat well and get regular exercise. A healthy diet will give your body proper nutrition, and exercise may help improve your mood.
  • Always take your medicine as prescribed. You should do this even when your mood is stable.
  • Check with your doctor before taking over-the-counter supplements or any medications prescribed by another doctor.
  • Keep a mood journal. By tracking how you feel day-to-day, you can notice triggers, monitor how your treatment is working, and spot changes in your eating or sleeping patterns. This written information can be especially helpful to your doctor if your medication needs to be adjusted.
  • Keep your primary care physician updated. They are an important part of the long-term management of bipolar disorder, even if you also see a psychiatrist.
  • Avoid using alcohol and other drugs.
  • Minimize stress. Simplify your life when possible. Try relaxation activities, like meditation or yoga.
  • Maintain a support network, of family and friends there to help during a crisis. Educate your loved ones about bipolar disorder so they can best support you. Ask them to help you recognize the warning signs of manic or depressive episodes.
  • If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat .
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Bipolar disorder diagnosis and treatment

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Bipolar disorder is a key community health problem, with diagnosis frequently happening years after the disorder’s inception. Controlling it calls for a lifetime regimen of therapy and medication. The affected families are heavily affected psychologically and socially. Control of mania is well-recognized. Research related to the management of cycling, mixed and depressive episodes, as well as amalgamation therapy had been dynamic in the recent past secondary to the escalating incidences. The condition is an arduous psychiatric syndrome to manage, even for psychiatrists, due to its numerous occurrences and comorbid syndromes resistant to the treatment.


Bipolar disorder is also referred to as manic-depressive illness. It is a brain syndrome condition that causes strange changes in brain activity levels, mood, the capacity to perform daily chores and energy. The known types of bipolar consist of marked variations in activity levels, mood, and energy. The moods range from phases of extreme elation and animated behavior to very miserable stages commonly called depressive episodes. Bipolar I Disorder is characterized with hysterical incidents lasting for more than seven days or agitated symptoms that are so serious that the individual requires instant hospital care.  Depressive phases also occur that normally last for two weeks.  Bipolar II Disorder is characterized by a sequence of hypomanic and depressive stages that never develop into full-scale manic episodes such as those of Bipolar I disorder.

Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis Using DSM-5 Criteria

In DSM-5, bipolar and associated disorders are classified between schizophrenia spectrum disorder and depressive disorder, that consists of bipolar I disorder which according to DSM-5 represents definitive depressive syndrome, with the exclusion that neither a psychosis nor a depressive episode must exist and bipolar II disorder. DSM-5 would appear to arise from the notion that bipolar disorder has been under-recognized (Regier et al., 2013).  Nonetheless, the requisite sign (gate A criteria) which must exist to satisfy the standards for a manic or hypomanic occurrence have been quantified in return. Although previously just a distinctive period of persistently and abnormally high, irritable or expansive disposition was needed, these signs must now exist in amalgamation with insistently elevated energy or activity almost every day and most of the day. Whereas several people do not consent with this stage, for logical reasons, it is a prudent approach especially when dealing with bipolar II disorder diagnosis.

Bipolar II disorder happens to be the solitary psychiatric syndrome classically manifested by the lack of the vital elements such as hypomanic periods during diagnosis. Therefore, the analysis is usually consigned to young patients exhibiting their initial big depressive episodes. The diagnosis in these cases is founded on psychiatric account taken as opposed to present psychopathological psychiatrist evaluation. Concisely, any reflective recollection is disposed to recall preconception, especially during a depressive period (Leibenluft, 2011). Moreover, with a hypomanic occurrence, there exists a state which can be described as severe enough to affect deficiency in occupational or social functioning. Consequently, discovering if, at the certain point previously, there has been a mood change, related with a clear adjustment in functioning that is unusual of the person when not showing the symptoms might considerably be contingent to the evidence delivered by others, such as partners, close friends or relative. Regrettably, the evidence delivered by these people is seldom collected in controlled readings comprising subjects associated with the establishment of a bipolar II disorder diagnosis.

Compare and Contrast Bipolar Disorder and Dysthymic Disorder

The key variance between depression and bipolar disorder are the mania signs typified by extreme irritability and excitement, illusions of splendor and extreme elation that are related to the bipolar ailment. In fact, till very recently, bipolar disorder was frequently baptized manic depression, a word that highlights both illness poles depression and mania. Whereas mood fluctuations between depressed and manic states are key characteristics of bipolar disorder, depression is unipolar, implying that there are no up in the ailment.  In its place, depression is categorized by a passionate, protracted “down” condition that impedes an individual’s daily life and the capacity and craving to engage in regular activities and relationships.

Evaluate of Peer-Reviewed Research Studies Using the Research Analysis

“Quality of life in bipolar disorder” by Erin E Michalak, Lakshmi N Yatham and Raymond W Lam addresses the review of studies that target the evaluation of health related and generic bipolar patient’s quality of life (QoL). The paper “A Review of ambivalence in Bipolar Disorder Research” uses participants pooled from those who had not been part of any mental health systems. Instead, they used activist and friend’s network and therefore coming up with study devoid of bias (Liebert, 2013). “The quality of life constructs in bipolar disorder research and practice: the past, present and possible future” by Murray and Michalak (2012) used cross sectional and case study methodology for empirical reflection. The authors posit that the Quality of Life in Bipolar disorder measure was generated to evaluate one’s satisfaction and enjoyment in life.

Intervention and Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

Numerous procedures of psychosocial mediation for intervention have been found effective in the management of bipolar disorder such as social and interpersonal therapy, family-focused therapy, group or individual psychoeducation and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Coupled with pharmacotherapy, these intermediations can lengthen the time to reversion, increase medication devotion and minimize symptoms severity (Geddes, & Miklowitz, 2013). Family-focused therapy strives for the reduction the extraordinary stress and conflict levels in the kinfolks of bipolar patients, thus enhancing the patient’s disorder progress. Social and interpersonal rhythm therapy concentrates on steadying the nightly and daily habits of bipolar patients and solving critical interpersonal complications. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps patients in adjusting dysfunctional behaviors and cognitions that might worsen the progress of bipolar disorder. Group psycho-education offers a helpful, collaborative environment in which the sick are educated on their illness and how to handle it.

  • Geddes, J. R., & Miklowitz, D. J. (2013). Treatment of bipolar disorder. The Lancet, 381(9878), 1672-1682.
  • Leibenluft, E. (2011). Severe mood dysregulation, irritability, and the diagnostic boundaries of bipolar disorder in youths. American Journal of Psychiatry .
  • Liebert, R. J. (2013). A review of Ambivalence in Bipolar Disorder Research. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry , 15(3), 180-194.
  • Murray, G., & Michalak, E. E. (2012). The quality of life construct in bipolar disorder research and practice: past, present, and possible futures. Bipolar Disorders , 14(8), 793-796.
  • Regier, D. A., Kuhl, E. A., & Kupfer, D. J. (2013). The DSM‐5: Classification and criteria changes. World Psychiatry , 12(2), 92-98.

Essay on Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar illness is a mental disease that is defined by unusual emotional changes such as ‘lows’ (depressive episode) and ‘highs’ (Hypomanic or manic episodes). During depression, people with bipolar disorder may feel sad, guilty and lose pleasure or interest in most activities. In contrast, when their moods shift to hypomania or mania, they may feel very happy, creative, full of energy, more talkative, and friendly. Regardless, such an elevated mood among people with bipolar disorder is short-lived and difficult to maintain as such individuals cannot follow a plan. Such unusual mood swings adversely affect an individual’s activity, sleep, behavior, energy, judgment, social relationships, and other aspects of life.

The signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder vary among individuals. For instance, in some, the symptoms may last for several months or years, while others may experience emotional highs and lows concurrently or in quick succession (De Girolamo, McGorry, and Sartorius, 2019). There are several forms of this mental illness, which include type I, cyclothymic, and type II bipolar, respectively. Although most researchers have not identified any single cause of the bipolar disorder, they believe that several risk factors include genetics, environmental factors, and differences in brain structure. Diagnosis is primarily done using a criteria set out in the DSM-5 whereby one must have symptoms lasting for at least a week or less if they were severe enough to require medical attention(Shah, Grover, and Rao, 2017). Although there is no known sure way of preventing the illness, recent research reveals that early intervention and treatment can help manage the symptoms associated with bipolar disease, thereby preventing it from worsening. The primary treatment options for this disorder include psychotherapy, medication, electroconvulsive therapy, and lifestyle remedies. This paper aims to discuss the prevalence, causes and risk factors, signs and symptoms, types, diagnosis, and the available treatment options of bipolar disorder.

Prevalence of Bipolar Disorder

Based on Our World in Data, approximately 46 million people (0.55% males and 0.65% females) worldwide have bipolar disorder. According to Dattani, Ritchie, and Roser (2018), the U.S. is recognized as the country reporting the highest cases of bipolar type I (1%), with nearly 2.8% of U.S adults being diagnosed with the bipolar disorder each year with a similar prevalence rate being recorded in both males and female (2.9 and 2.8 % respectively). Dattani, Ritchie, and Roser (2018) reveal that the prevalence rate of this mental disorder is highest (4.7%) among individuals aged between 18 to 29 years (with nearly 2.9% of adolescents suffering from the disorder with 2.6% reporting severe impairments) followed by those aged between 30 to 45 years old (3.5%) and finally people aged above 60 years old recording the lowest rates (0.7%).

Several studies have explored the prevalence rates of bipolar disorder based on some socio-demographic factors such as occupation level, income, and socio-economic status. Some evidence reveals that the prevalence rate of this illness is higher among unemployed people and those with low income. Conversely, some studies have revealed that people with higher creativity, socio-economic status, and occupational level are at a high risk of suffering from bipolar disorder. However, such interactions cannot be ruled out due to the small sample size used in these studies (De Girolamo, McGorry, and Sartorius, 2019).

Causes and Risk Factors of Bipolar Disorder

Although the precise cause of this mental illness is not known, several risk factors are associated with bipolar disorder. These include genetics, environmental factors, and biological differences. In terms of differences in brain structure, some types of scans that provide detailed images of the brain may reveal specific physical changes associated with bipolar disorder. However, little is known on how these structural differences in the brain influence the diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder (Vieta et al., 2018). The risk of having bipolar disorder is higher among individuals who have a first-degree relative with this illness, such as parents or siblings than those who do not have family members suffering from the illness. According to Vieta et al. (2018), this genetic risk factor is primarily attributed to the multiple nucleotide polymorphisms in the genetic coding of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor associated with this mental illness.

Several environmental factors are associated with bipolar disorder. First, stressful events such as early childbirth, divorce, disability, or the loss of a loved one may trigger a depressive or manic episode, leading affected individuals to develop bipolar disorder. Emotional abuse, such as maltreatment during one’s early childhood, is also believed to trigger the development of bipolar disorder later on in the affected individual’s life. Besides, bipolar disorder patients with a history of childhood maltreatment have been reported to indicate poor bipolar treatment outcomes characterized by more frequent and severe mood episodes (Shan, Grover, and Rao, 2017). Another environmental factor that is a risk factor for bipolar disorder is substance abuse. Frequent misuse of substances such as cannabis, sedatives, opioids, cocaine, and alcohol has been identified as a risk factor for developing psychotic disorders and bipolar mental illness.

Major Signs of Bipolar Mental Illness

People with bipolar mental illness often go through periods of extreme emotions, changes in behavior, sleep patterns, activity, individual judgment, and other aspects of life without realizing their detrimental effects. Such mood episodes may last for a day or even more extended periods, such as several weeks or even a year. The signs and symptoms of this mental illness are classified into two; manic or hypomanic episodes (emotional high) and depressive episodes (emotional low). Manic episodes are more severe and result in more noticeable difficulties in performing social activities at work or school and difficulties in initiating and maintaining social relationships. Such episodes may trigger psychosis, thereby leading to hospitalization.

On the other hand, hypomanic episodes comprise less intense manic symptoms that persist for at least four days in a row rather than a week. They do not cause noticeable problems in an individual’s day-to-day activities or daily functioning. Manic episodes comprise symptoms such as loss of appetite, being talkative about many unrelated things, racing thoughts, increased energy or activity, impaired judgment distraction, and feeling euphoric. On the other hand, a depressive episode is characterized by symptoms that result in noticeable difficulty in performing day-to-day activities at work or school and maintaining social relationships with other people. These symptoms include feeling sad, hopeless, or desperate, difficulties focusing, irritability, eating less or more, being anxious about minor issues, extreme fatigue, feelings of guilt, suicidal thoughts, and loss of pleasure or interest in most activities.

If a manic or depressive episode becomes intense among individuals with bipolar disorder, they may experience psychosis. In other words, they may enter a phase where they cannot differentiate between reality and fantasy. As such, psychosis symptoms during a manic episode may include hallucinations and delusions whereby individuals see or hear things that are not there in real life or believe they possess special powers or rankings in society which is not the actual case. On the other hand, psychosis symptoms during a depressive episode may include believing that one is broke, ruined, or has committed a serious crime. In some instances, individuals may experience the symptoms of both manic and depressive episodes concurrently. Such an episode is known to have mixed features. In this regard, individuals in a period with mixed features may experience symptoms such as feeling extremely sad and hopeless while at the same time feeling euphoric or energetic.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is classified into three major types; bipolar I, cyclothymic and bipolar II. Type I is characterized by manic episodes that are persistent for at least a week or symptoms of the same that are extremely severe and require immediate medical attention. This type of bipolar disorder is also characterized by depressive episodes with symptoms lasting for at least 14days. In some instances, people with bipolar I disorder may experience mixed feature episodes or a neutral mood. Diagnosis for this type of mental illness requires an individual to have experienced at least a single manic episode or a major depressive episode with at least five of its main symptoms.

Bipolar type II is characterized by hypomanic periods, with depression being the most dominant state. Individuals with bipolar II Disorder may feel happy and show increased energy and activity levels, but their mood may not be stable, and they may sink into depression. Sometimes, people think of this type of illness as a milder version. However, this is not the case. According to Vieta et al. (2018), individuals with bipolar type II may encounter depression more frequently due to their vulnerability to other mental illnesses like substance use and anxiety disorders compared to those with bipolar type I. Diagnosis of bipolar type II requires one to have experienced at least a single hypomanic episode, one or more depressive episodes, no alternative diagnosis to explain the unusual mood swings. People with this type of disorder often resume their usual functioning between episodes. Also, they often seek first treatment after experiencing a major depressive episode since hypomanic episodes are characterized by the extreme pleasure that facilitates a significant increase in their performance at school or work.

Cyclothymic bipolar disorder is often described as a milder form of this mental illness characterized by frequently occurring hypomanic and depressive episodes with less intense symptoms than the type I and II bipolar disorders. Diagnosis of cyclothymic bipolar disorder requires one to have reported at least two years (1yr in children) or many hypomanic and depressive episodes with less intense symptoms than a major depression (De Girolamo, McGorry, and Sartorius, 2019).

Medical Diagnosis of Bipolar Mental Illness

Diagnosis of this mental condition is done primarily using a criteria set out in the DSM-5. The process involves the following steps:

  • Comprehensive assessment of respective patients and their caregivers.
  • Assessment of patient’s medical history with relevant information about the type of the first episode, duration and intensity of periods, presence or absence of agitation, suicidal behavior and periodic variation in symptoms occurrence, and the presence of mixed or rapid cycling.
  • Assessment of patient’s history on precipitating factors at the onset of the illness such as psychosocial stressors or other biological disturbances.
  • Physical assessment including measuring and recording the patient’s body mass index (BMI), weight, and blood pressure.
  • Cognitive state assessment.
  • Formulating the diagnosis based on the criteria set out in the DSM-5.
  • Differential diagnosis and eliminating the possibility of a secondary disorder.
  • Assessing patient on the risk of any suicidal behavior such as suicidal thoughts or plans, past attempts to commit suicide, history of completed suicide in the family line, psychotic symptoms in the form of intense hallucinations, anxiety, and substance misuse disorders.
  • Factors to be assessed in the current episode such as the severity of signs and symptoms, comorbid mental and physical conditions such as the risk of harm to others or self, anxiety, and substance misuse disorders.
  • History of previous treatment methods used, duration and patient’s response to the same, associated side effects, and the main reasons for termination.
  • Basic tests such as electrocardiogram, haemogram, blood and urine tests to examine the blood sugar level, lipids level, liver, and renal functions.
  • Assessing caregivers to gather and record information regarding what they know about the disorder, including its treatment options, beliefs, and attitudes about the same, its effect on their personal and social well-being in terms of being a financial burden, and stigmatization.
  • Evaluating the patient on their response to current treatment that is underway, ease of access, associated side effects, and their adherence to the same.

Warning Signs that Indicate When One should Seek Medical Attention

Despite the unusual mood swings associated with this mental illness, people with bipolar disorder barely recognize the impact of these disruptions on their individual lives and their friends and family. At first, one may enjoy feelings of increased activity, energy levels, and pleasure, but this will eventually be followed by an emotional crash that will make you feel depressed and maybe leave you with financial or relationship problems. Hence, it is crucial to recognize that bipolar disorder does not go away on its own. Thus, if anyone realizes that they have manic or depressive symptoms, including suicidal ideations, behavior, and plans, they should confide in a close friend or relative to support them in seeking immediate medical attention from a medical professional.

Treatment Options for Bipolar Mental Illness

Although there is no precise cure for this mental condition, several treatment options for this mental illness are available. These include medication, psychotherapy, lifestyle remedies, and electroconvulsive therapy. Certain drugs are administered to bipolar disorder patients to help stabilize their mood and the symptoms associated with the illness. These include mood stabilizers like lithium and lamotrigine, antidepressants such as bupropion and tricyclic, first and second-generation antipsychotics, anticonvulsants to ease off manic symptoms, and drugs to aid with anxiety and insomnia. Some of these drugs have side effects that affect individuals differently. Thus, patients should consult with their doctors before taking or withdrawing any of these medications.

Psychotherapy can also be used to treat bipolar disorder effectively. It may involve various approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy family-focused and interpersonal social rhythm therapies to provide guidance, support, and education to bipolar disorder patients and their families. Besides, such approaches can help people with this type of mental illness identify the first signs of an episode or trigger factors like stress and employ appropriate mechanisms to manage the same. Also, psychotherapy can help patients learn how to engage the support and help of their friends and family members.

Some lifestyle remedies can help in mood stabilization and relieve the symptoms of bipolar disorder. For example, engaging in regular exercises such as yoga, swimming, weightlifting, and cycling, maintaining a balanced and healthy diet, establishing and maintaining a routine such as regular sleep patterns to avoid insomnia, creating a life chart to record daily life events, and mood changes among others. The last treatment option is electroconvulsive disorder. It refers to a simulation procedure on the brain to help relieve the severe signs associated with bipolar disorder. It is done through several sessions that take several weeks to complete. It is often done under anesthesia precisely when physiotherapy and medication prove ineffective or unsafe for a bipolar disorder patient.

Dattani, S., Ritchie H., & Roser, M. (2018). Prevalence of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders.  Our World in Data.  Retrieved from

De Girolamo, G., McGorry, P. D., & Sartorius, N. (Eds.). (2019). Age of Onset of Mental

Disorders: Etiopathogenetic and Treatment Implications.  Springer International Publishing .

Shah, N., Grover, S., & Rao, G. P. (2017). Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of the Bipolar Disorder.  Indian Journal of Psychiatry ,  59 (Suppl. 1), S51.

Vieta, E., Salagre, E., Grande, I., Carvalho, A. F., Fernandes, B. S., Berk, M., & Suppes, T. (2018). Early Intervention in Bipolar Disorder.  American Journal of Psychiatry ,  175 (5), 411-426.

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