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Bipolar Disorder

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Bipolar Disorder and the American Spirit

What in the world is bipolar disorder? It has been a mystery since the 16th century. It has a striking history proving that it can be found in just about anyone including Vincent van Gogh. In our society it is clear that many people live with the disorder. Bipolar disorder severely undermines its' victims ability to obtain social successes.

Bipolar disorder can also be referred to as manic depression, which is a mood disorder. When a person has bipolar disorder, they will have extreme mood swings which go from mania (state of highly elevated energetic feelings) to depressive episodes. Depressive episodes are characterized by unhappiness in which a person can go from being very afflictive and easygoing to a very sad and grim person that nobody wants to be around. Other symptoms can also consist of one having a loss of energy and severe feelings of worthlessness, recurrent thoughts of death and suicide as well as the decreased need for sleep and poor judgment.

This disorder at the present time is stated as being uncurable, yet it is treatable. Approximately 2% of adults have this mental disease and 15% of them will contemplate suicide. It affects both men and women and the rates are similar in each country. In the early 80's the disorder was characterized having the first episodes occur among younger children to young adults, however, in the present most of these first episodes occur in the early twenties. It is important for those who believe that there is a minute possibility that they have the disorder to seek help before it gets out of hand and starts to interfere among their daily life.

There are two classifications of the bipolar disorder, type I and type II. The type of bipolar disorder that someone has is determined by their combination and degree of mania and depression. It is alos determined by how long each stage lasts and the time frame of having normal moods between stages. In some cases, the cycling of stages may overlap, which is referred to as a mixed episode. Currently the diagnostic system that is used by mental health professionals to determine the degree of the disorder is "The Diagnostic and statistical Manual of Mental Disorders vol. 4." (It is also known as the DSM-IV).

Bipolar I disorder is the most severe from of the disorder. Patients with bipolar I have extreme episodes of mania and experience excessive depression states. They also have a series of mixed episodes and some even have psychotic episodes where they have uncontrollable anger that could and usually does result in violence. The symptoms of bipolar I affect the patients social and/or occupational functioning.

A patient that is diagnosed with bipolar II is one that has had at least one episode of depression and is experiencing or has experienced hypomania. It is important for a person who believes that he/she has had an episode or feels that he or she is bipolar to start some form of treat or at least visit a doctor for guidance.

There are many treatment options for those who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The options are chosen based on the degree of the disorder and circumstances surrounding the patient. The most used form of treatment is through drugs that affect the patients mood and behavior. In these cases mood stabilizers are used and alone can help to control the patients moods and behaviors. Examples of mood stabilizers can include anti-depressants (Zoloft, Prozac), anti-anxieties (Ativan, Valium), and anti-psychotics (Haldol, Risperdol).

Patients typically respond well to drug therapy, however, it may be used in conjunction with other treatments depending on the severity of the disorder. One example of a treatment used in conjunction with drug therapy would include psychotherapy.

There are three major types of psychotherapy. These include insight therapies, cognitive therapies, and behavior therapies. Mental health therapy is the application of techniques intended to treat psychological disorders and to reduce stress. These therapies have been proven to help patients with bipolar disorder especially when used in conjunction with drug therapy.

Insight therapy involves getting patients to discuss problems they are having and emotions they are feeling that are believed to be the cause of their psychological problems. A type of insight therapy is psychoanalytic therapy which helps patients to discover their unconscious motives and develop insights about how to adjust their problems.

Cognitive therapy takes focus not only what patients think but also center on how and why patients think the way they do. One type of cognitive therapy is rational-emotive thereapy. It focuses on the irrational beliefs of patients and the techniques used to replace them with more realistic ones. Behavior therapies help to identify and change inappropriate behaviors. Systematic desensitization, a type of behavior therapy, seeks to replace negative thoughts with positive ones in relation to a specific fear or anxiety.

Science and technology have made significant advances since the times of the ancient Greeks when depression was said to be caused by excessive black bile and mania to be caused by excessive yellow bile. If a patient receives proper medicine and therapy it may help to control the disorder systematically and one has the ability to lead a normal life. Bipolar disorder doesn't have to be a mystery to those who have it.

Bipolar Disorder and the American Spirit

What in the world is bipolar disorder? It has been a mystery since the 16th century. It has a striking history proving that it can be found in just about anyone including Vincent van Gogh. In our society it is clear that many people live with the disorder. Bipolar disorder severely undermines its' victims ability to obtain social successes.

Bipolar disorder can also be referred to as manic depression, which is a mood disorder. When a person has bipolar disorder, they will have extreme mood swings which go from mania (state of highly elevated energetic feelings) to depressive episodes. Depressive episodes are characterized by unhappiness in which a person can go from being very afflictive and easygoing to a very sad and grim person that nobody wants to be around. Other symptoms can also consist of one having a loss of energy and severe feelings of worthlessness, recurrent thoughts of death and suicide as well as the decreased need for sleep and poor judgment.

This disorder at the present time is stated as being

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