Bipolar Disorder: Diagnosis and Treatment Essay

Abstract This paper will be discussing Bipolar Disorder. It will cover some of today’s diagnosis methods and treatment. The treatments covered will involve psychotherapy and antidepressant drugs. Bipolar Disorder Many refer to Bipolar Disorder as manic-depressive disorder. This disorder causes people to swing from very low depressive states to extreme highs of “mania. ” When people are depressed they may feel sad, hopeless and lose interest in everyday activities. However, when their mood shifts in the other direction they may feel extremely happy and full of vigor.

These shifts can occur several times in a year or in worse conditions on a daily basis. This disorder can be quite disruptive long term to your life. However, with a good treatment plan and more importantly following it, this disorder can be controlled. (Mayo Clinic) Let’s define these stages a little deeper. Mania – although less common than depression, it is when someone experiences an extreme euphoric state. They tend to become “pompous” in their behavior and have an inflated self-esteem.

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People in this manic state can become aggressive towards others and in an extreme episode they can be violent, wild and collapse from extreme exhaustion; thus, beginning their depressed state of bipolar disorder. Depression – a feeling of overwhelming sadness, quilt, lose of interest in pleasurable activities and a feeling of worthlessness. People tend to feel tired, blame themselves for their problems, failures in life, and unable to make the simplest decisions. In acute cases people suffer from lack of concentration, insomnia and lose interest if food and sex. (Morris) What is the difference between being sad and clinically depressed?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) definition is as follows: “A person who suffers from a major depressive disorder must either have a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities consistently for at least a two week period. This mood must represent a change from the person’s normal mood and impair his functioning in his daily life. Further, the symptoms should not be better accounted for by bereavement, i. e. , after the loss of a loved one, the symptoms persist for longer than 2 months or are characterized by marked functional impairment, morbid preoccupation with worthlessness, uicidal ideation, psychotic symptoms, or psychomotor retardation. ” (Schimelpfening) Bipolar Disorder can be divided into several subtypes; each with their different set of symptoms. The Mayo Clinic lists the disorders categories as follows: ? Bipolar I disorder. Mood swings with bipolar I cause significant difficulty in your job, school or relationships. Manic episodes can be severe and dangerous. ?Bipolar II disorder. Bipolar II is less severe than bipolar I. You may have an elevated mood, irritability and some changes in your functioning, but generally you can carry on with your normal daily routine.

Instead of full-blown mania, you have hypomania — a less severe form of mania. In bipolar II, periods of depression typically last longer than periods of hypomania. ?Cyclothymia. Cyclothymia is a mild form of bipolar disorder. With cyclothymia, hypomania and depression can be disruptive, but the highs and lows are not as severe as they are with other types of bipolar disorder. (Mayo Clinic). We must remember that these categories are just guidelines. People experiences are often quite different and may vary from these categories. Treatments So, what are the treatments being implemented today for this disorder?

Some therapists believe in psychotherapy, some in drug therapies and others in a combination of both. Psychoanalysis is used to help people deal with their repressed feeling, memories, and thoughts to give them a voice. After a period of time most people start feeling comfortable with their therapist. However, this procedure can be very slow. Drugs are divided into two categories’; antipsychotic and antidepressant. Antipsychotic drugs are primary used for people who have extreme psychological disorders such as schizophrenia. They work will in treating the positive symptoms but not as well in treating the negative ones.

Antipsychotic drugs block the dopamine receptors from allowing and an excess of dopamine to the brain. Antidepressant drugs reduce the uptake of serotonin to the nervous system. This increases the serotonin levels in the brain. Correcting these chemical imbalances in the brain reduces the symptoms of depression and anxiety in most patients. Mental Health Weekly Digest reported that the University of Sidney had reported the following on the use of Lithium: “”Lithium is a unique and effective psychotropic agent…the present paper was to succinctly review the therapeutic profile of lithium particularly with respect to the reatment of mood disorders and consider its unique properties and clinical utility,” scientists writing in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry report…The researchers concluded: “Arguably, lithium is the only true mood stabilizer and because of its unique properties is in a class of its own. ” (Health Weekly) Many other drugs on the market are being used such as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft. However, for many on some sort of drug therapy is not enough. It needs to be complimented with psychotherapy to help people learn why and how to deal with certain aspects of their lives.

Conclusion Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness that can disrupt a person’s life to its very core. Many people go undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed. Depression is not just a state of sadness but a prolonged state of overwhelming sadness that interferes with daily life for an extended period of time. Bipolar Disorder sufferers experience euphoric highs and extreme lows. These episodes can occur several times a year and in extreme cases several times a day. The Mayo Clinic breaks Bipolar Disorder down to 3 subtypes: Bipolar I, Bipolar 2, and Cyclothymia.

Through various therapies; psychotherapy and drug therapy sufferers can eventually lead normal lives and keep their Bipolar Disorder under control. References Mayo Clinic. (2010). Bipolar Disorder. Retrieved from http://www. mayoclinic. com/ health/bipolar-disorder/DS00356/DSECTION=symptoms Morris, C. G. , & Maisto, A. A. (2002). Psychology: An Introduction (12th ed. ). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. American Psychological Assoc. (2007). Bipolar Spectrum Disorder May Be Underrecognized and Improperly Treated.

Bethesda, Maryland, US: US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from PsycEXTRA database. Schimelpfening, N. (2003). Depression. about. com. Retrieved from http://depression. about. com/cs/amidepressed/a/sadness. htmBipolar Disorder Therapy; Scientists at University of Sydney target bipolar disorder therapy. (2010, January). Mental Health Weekly Digest,33. Retrieved February 14, 2010, from Alumni – ProQuest Health and Medical Complete. (Document ID: 1930077161).


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