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.
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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.
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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).
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.