I chose the Zaps Bipolar experiment because my dad has Bipolar disorder. I've seen first hand how Bipolar disorder intervenes in a person's life and affects their mood. I've also learned how to recognize the symptoms typical of a manic phase and depressive episode. The purpose of this experiment is just that: to explain the typical symptoms of a manic episode and a depressive episode, and the most salient differences between the two. In addition, the experiment aims to introduce two patients with different mood disorders; one with bipolar disorder, one with depression, in order to identify and contrast the two disorders.
I was first introduced to Del, a 55-year-old man diagnosed with a mood disorder. The experiment began with a video of Del explaining the symptoms typical of a depressive episode. After the video, I was given an excerpt of Del's explanation of his typical depressive episode symptoms and asked to identify by highlighting the symptoms within the excerpt. The typical symptoms of a depressive episode can include sadness, apathy, lethargy, an unwillingness to get out of bed, crying, not wanting to look at anything, eat, achieve, live up to responsibilities, feeling sick, canceling plans, and hopelessness.
Next, I viewed a video of Del describing his symptoms of a typical manic episode. After the video, I was asked to identify again within the context of a paragraph the symptoms of a manic episode with a written excerpt from the video. The typical symptoms of a manic episode can include talking more than usual, creating a close physical proximity to the person they are talking to, widening eyes, becoming demanding, being controlling and commanding, and surreal feelings. Next, I was asked the most salient differences between a manic and depressive episode. The major difference is that a manic episode is accompanied by feelings of grandiose, euphoric moods, mind racing and a lessened need for sleep. A depressive episode is accompanied by feelings of hopelessness, sadness, loss of pleasure and withdrawal from social activities, and often has a sleep disturbance and loss of appetite. The next part of the experiment was to identify which disorder Del suffered from, which I deduced was Bipolar disorder (as was explained in the intro). It was explained that since Del suffers from both manic and depressive episodes, the answer is Bipolar disorder since depression only includes depressive episodes, while Bipolar disorder includes depressive and manic episodes.
Next in the experiment, I was given 4 graphs and asked to pick which represented the best schematic representation of both symptoms of manic and depressive episodes and the transition between them. I chose graph four, which represented the episodes by a straight line (the midpoint) and even curves varying between both sections, not in a sudden decline to either plane, but a slower transition.
On the next part of the experiment, it was explained that Lithium is typically used to...