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Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms, Effects, Diagnosis and Treatment Research Paper

The other name for bipolar disorder is Manic-depressive illness. This disease specifically causes the patient to experience extra ordinary changes in mood, strength, levels of concentration, and the ability to execute daily tasks (Kato, 2007). Unless the disease has been diagnosed, it is difficult to identify the symptoms.

Therefore, the infected person is constantly in conflicts with the people who interact with him/her. For instance, such persons can barely be in a stable relationship for a considerable period. Moreover, they seem to be in a habit of engaging in intense arguments at their places of work. This is probably because they cannot fully concentrate on what they are doing at a particular time.


Bipolar disorder is common in persons under the age of 25 years. However, there are situations that have been reported involving patients who are in their sun set years and others who are considered too young to contract this condition such as children below the age of ten years (Miklowitz, 2008).

Bipolar disorder is considered a long-term condition that often begins gradually because it can take up to 10 years before the symptoms are visible. Usually, symptoms are only uncovered through diagnosis. This implies that bipolar disorder falls into the category of diseases such as diabetes and heart condition, which need to be managed throughout the affected person’s lifetime (Serretti & Mandelli, 2008).

Bipolar patients experience irregular mood swings that range between exaggerated amusement and sadness (Srivastava & Ketter, 2010). This means that the patient can be extremely happy in one minute and the next minute the person looks dull. Such people are easily irritated and hence, should be handled with a lot of care and understanding.

These mood swings are not influenced by the events that are going on in their surroundings because their sadness or joy cannot be linked to anything. For instance, under normal circumstances, people laugh because something funny has been done or said, but to bipolar patients, joy and sadness alternate without a justifiable reason (Miklowitz, 2008).

Likewise, persons suffering from bipolar disorder tend to speak very fast during conversations like there is a matter of urgency. When they embark on making a statement, they hardly finish putting their point across because they encounter numerous distractions in their minds that cause them to divert from the topic of discussion (Kieseppa et al., 2004).

At the end of their conversations, there are so many half-complete stories. Moreover, they have a habit of setting unrealistic goals. This is caused by their thought of having unique abilities and hence they feel they can achieve goals that are deemed unachievable. This overconfidence causes them to handle more tasks beyond their capacity, such as assuming more roles at a go (Kato, 2007).

Furthermore, bipolar patients experience lack of sleep probably because they work for long hours. Nonetheless, they sleep for few hours due to the restlessness that keeps them up all night. Besides, they loose interest in activities that they previously enjoyed and in most occasions, they seem to be carried away due to their low level of concentration.

They are quite forgetful and hence tend to have varied opinion or fail to stick to an agreement’s terms due to their poor memory (Miklowitz, 2008). For instance, the infected person can schedule a meeting and later fail to avail him/herself without a good reason.

Effects of Bipolar Disorder

If a person suffering from bipolar is not diagnosed and the illness persists for a long time, the effects worsen with time. According to Miklowitz (2008), “The behavioral and emotional experiences of the person with bipolar disorder affect everyone – the patient’s parents, spouse, siblings, and children” (p. 5).

A bipolar individual is prone to getting into fights and arguments with friends and relatives including their spouse. In the end, their family ties are disintegrated. Similarly, their employers are hardly satisfied with their performance because they make avoidable mistakes, which may lead to dismissals.

This turn of events makes them to resort to abusing substances such as alcohol and other related drugs (Lam, Wright, & Smith, 2004). They abuse drugs in an attempt to divert their attention. They also experience hallucinations. Furthermore, patients who suffer from this condition are known to have thoughts of ending their own lives and hence, they are likely to commit suicide.

Other Diseases That Co-Exist With Bipolar

Bipolar disorder can go for a long time without being noticed because it exhibits symptoms common to related conditions. These illnesses include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social Phobia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Lack of concentration and restlessness are very common in these diseases and hence one may be confused for the other. When this happens, the medical expert ends up prescribing treatment for the wrong ailment and thus the symptoms persist (Srivastava & Ketter, 2010).

Additionally, bipolar patients are prone to contracting thyroid illness, migraine headaches, heart disorders, diabetes and obesity. It is therefore advisable for patients to consult the doctor if their treatment is not making any positive progress. This will cause the doctor to carry out a thorough diagnosis that could probably unveil other underlying illnesses that could be hindering the effective treatment of bipolar (Miklowitz, 2008).

Risk Factors for Bipolar

There is no exact cause of bipolar disorder. However, several issues have been identified as major contributors to contracting the ailment. The generic background of an individual has been sighted as the major contributing factor. This implies that bipolar disorder is a hereditary ailment because it can be passed on from parents to their children (Mansell & Pedley, 2008).

People who hail from family backgrounds that have had a history of being affected by this disease are more likely to contract the ailment than their counterparts whose families have never had any brain disorder related to bipolar. Twins are also prone to contracting bipolar, but in most cases, its only one child among the pair that tests positive to bipolar diagnosis. This does not mean that the other child will also contract bipolar disease because each of them exists as an independent entity (Serretti & Mandelli, 2010).

Diagnosis of Bipolar

Unlike other illnesses, bipolar cannot be detected through evaluation of blood samples or brain screening. However, these tests can be carried out to unearth other underlying illnesses that could hinder effective treatment of bipolar. The condition is therefore best diagnosed through physical observation coupled with thorough interrogation of the patient (Miklowitz, 2008).

Psychiatrists are in a much better position to handle conditions like bipolar due to their expertise. The medical health practitioner should seek to obtain adequate information regarding the patient’s family history regarding bipolar disorder. If the condition of the patient does not favor interrogation, the practitioner should consult a close relative to the affected person such as brothers, sisters and spouse such as wife or husband. Previous medical records can also be referred to while probing the health history of the patient (Kieseppa et al., 2004).

Treatment of Bipolar

Bipolar is not curable, but it is manageable. People who stick to the prescribed medication are able to regulate mood swings and hence lead healthy productive lives (Serretti & Mandelli, 2008). It is important to note that bipolar is a condition that keeps on recurring and hence the patient has to be on medication for the rest of his/her life.

The medicine for treating bipolar is usually prescribed by licensed medical experts; it cannot be purchased without written prescription. Among the drugs that are used to treat bipolar include Lithium, Valproic acid, Anticonvulsant lamotrigine, Neurontin, and Topamax (Miklowitz, 2008).

Besides medication, bipolar can be treated through psychotherapy. In this form of treatment, the patient is offered emotional support through regular conversations. The patient is helped to stop his/her destructive habits by being made to understand the consequences of his/her actions. Alternatively, the therapy can take place at the family level where the family members counsel one of their own. However, Miklowitz (2008) argue that:

A close working relationship between the bipolar patient and his or her family members can not only address the multiple psychological problems that emerge in the context of this disorder, but can also facilitate the patient’s willingness to follow a prescribed medication regimen. (p. 6)

Similarly, people suffering from bipolar can undergo collective counseling on the effects of bipolar disorder. Moreover, psycho-education is reserved for people who suffer from bipolar disorder. The training empowers them to be in a position to manage this lifetime condition, and seek medical attention while there is still enough time. This reduces the impact of the disease on the patients (Kato, 2007).


Kato, T. (2007). Molecular genetics of bipolar disorder and depression. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 61(1), 3-19.

Kieseppa, T., et al. (2004). High concordance of bipolar I disorder in a nationwide sample of twins. American Journal of Psychiatry, 161(10), 1814-1821.

Lam, D., Wright, K., & Smith, N. (2004). Dysfunctional assumptions in bipolar disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 79(1-3), 193-199.

Mansell, W. & Pedley, R. (2008). The ascent into mania: A review of psychological processes associated with the development of manic symptoms. Clinical Psychology Review, 28(3), 494-520.

Miklowitz, D.J. (2008). Bipolar disorder: A family-focused treatment approach (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Serretti, A. & Mandelli, L. (2008). The genetics of bipolar disorder: Genome ‘hot regions,’ genes, new potential candidates and future directions. Molecular Psychiatry, 13(8), 742-771.

Srivastava, S. & Ketter, T. A. (2010). The link between bipolar disorders and creativity: Evidence from personality and temperament studies. Current Psychiatry Reports, 12(6), 522-530.

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