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Bipolar Disorder Essay

925 words - 4 pages

Bipolar Disorder

     Bipolar disorder is often considered a hereditary disease. According to the National

Mental Health Association (2001) a specific genetic link to bipolar disorder has not been found.

Studies show that 80 to 90 percent of those who suffer from bipolar disorder have relatives with

some form of depression (NIMH, 2001). Bipolar disorder is a mental illness involving one or

more episodes of serious mania and depression which causes individuals to feel an euphoric type

high or feeling really low. Over 2.5 million people in America have bipolar disorder. This

disorder usually occurs during adolescence or early adulthood and continues throughout life.

Although, young children can be diagnosed with manic depression as well. Bipolar disorder also

shows symptoms by being very irritable and having destructive tantrums throughout the day.

Sommers (2000), wrote that teenage guys and girls are equally likely to experience manic

depression, but it is often more apparent in girls ( p.15 ). This is because guys do not like

admitting to being depressed because it makes them look weak and have no control, so they tend

to hold back their feelings which will only make their life more difficult. In contrast girls are

more prone to talk about their feelings than guys are. Diagnosing individuals with bipolar

disorder is very difficult due to the fact that many people deny that anything is wrong because he

or she likes the feeling of being in high mood. Another reason diagnosing is difficult is because

the problem may be related to some other type of illness or accompanied with a coexisting

problem like substance abuse, poor performance in schoolwork and jobs.

     Bipolar disorder ( a.k.a. Manic Depressive illness) is a disorder that causes unusual shifts

in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function ( National Institute of Mental Health

[NIMH], 2001 ). This disorder consist of severe episodes of highs and lows that individuals go

through. These highs and lows have a much greater impact on an individuals life than the normal

highs and lows people go through everyday. These episodes can lead to unwanted behaviors,

depression, anxiety and can lead to suicide if not treated. There are four categories in which

bipolar disorder is classified according to symptoms severity. According to DSM-IV, “there are

Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder, cyclothymic disorder, and bipolar disorder not otherwise

specified” ( American Psychiatric Association [APA], 1994). In order to diagnose an individual

with a certain bipolar disorder, an individual would have to have signs and symptoms that are

listed in the criteria of mania, depressive, mixed, or hypomaniac episodes. According to the

DSM-IV criteria, “Mania episodes “ are distinctive periods of abnormally and persistently

elevated, expansive, or irritable mood, lasting at least...

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