Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric condition defined as recurrent episodes of significant disturbance in mood.Bipolar Disorder can be a debilitating mental illnesses, if not diagnosed and treated. characterized by dramatic shifts in moods, bipolar patients can suffer from depression one minute to mania the the next. There are a few distinctions between the bipolar mood shifts and clinical mood problems, for example depression suffered from bipolar is order is unipolar depression as opposed to clinical depression.
Many of the symptoms of depression remain the same such as fatigue , irritability, sadness or apathy but the causes are different. While most depression results from a chemical imbalance or a genetic predisposition unipolar depression results form the bipolar disorder itself. People with unipolar depression shift from depression to normal states of mood, but chronic depression is constant. Treatment also varies because targeting only the depression involved in bipolar disorder only treats a symptom not a cause. The other shift in mood resulting from bipolar disorder is mania. Mania is characterized by elevated mood, energy, goal oriented activities. Hypomania is a lowered state of mania that impairs thought processes less than severe mania. During stages of hypomania there is less need for rest and increased metabolism. People with bipolar disorder experience hypomania so often that it their are often diagnosed with severe or chronic mania before being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Acute mania in bipolar disorder is typically treated with mood stabilizers, other forms of treatment for mania are less effective and many don’t work for bipolar disorder.
Diagnosis for bipolar disorder can be difficult. Diagnosis usually involves self reports from patients and families on abnormal behavior followed by secondary signs observed by a psychiatrist, nurse, or counselors. Blood tests are also given with strict criteria to determine chemical imbalances that result in bipolar disorder. The most important step involved in diagnosis is determining if the mood swings account for bipolar disorder. There are two types of bipolar disorder, but diagnoses and symptoms are usually the same but bipolar Disorder I puts less emphasis on depression.
Treatment for bipolar disorder focuses on treating acute symptoms, usually manic episodes and depression. Most symptoms of bipolar depression can be treated with a variety of acute depression medications, but long term medications have little or no effect. Bipolar patients are also treated for manic episodes. Mood stabilizers and setitives can be effective but other options are limited. Hospitalization can occasional occur during episodes of mania, whether voluntary or involuntarily. Counseling is also avalible for bipolar disorder using pharmacological and psychotherapeutic techniques. There is no cure for bipolar disorder.
Peggy was 17 years old when she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Her depression was misdiagnosed twice, the doctors assumed it was the byproduct of bulimia and anorexia. Her shifts from mania and depression occur in a two to three month cycle. Her hypomanic states involve excessive spending, bing eating, and onsets of bulimia. Her depressive states involve anorexia and feeling of hopelessness. She is currently pursuing treatment.