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Understanding Bipolar Disorder

  • Date Submitted: 04/09/2012 09:55 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 32.1 
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Bipolar disorder is the medical name for manic depression and is defined as an illness with ‘directly opposite’ states of mind. Sufferers of bipolar disorder have mood swings, sometimes feeling ‘high’ or manic, and at other times feeling ‘low’ or depressed.

Manic depression causes serious shifts in mood, energy, thinking, and behaviour, from the highs of mania on one extreme, to the lows of depression on the other. More than just a fleeting good or bad mood, the cycles of bipolar disorder last for days, weeks, or months. And unlike ordinary mood swings, the mood changes of bipolar disorder are so intense that they interfere with one's ability to function.

During a manic episode, a person might impulsively quit a job, charge up huge amounts on credit cards, or feel rested after sleeping two hours. During a depressive episode, the same person might be too tired to get out of bed and full of self-loathing and hopelessness over being unemployed and in debt.

Sufferers of Bipolar Disorder will experience mood swings of two extremes; mania and depression. The extent of which these moods will affect the sufferer is determined by the severity of the illness. The distinction between bipolar disorder and unipolar disorder sufferers, is the absence of mania in an individual who suffers from unipolar disorder or clinical depression. Common symptoms for both illnesses include, a sad or happy feeling, lack of interest in activities once previously enjoyed, insomnia and/or excessive sleep, lethargy, difficulty concentrating, lack of libido, withdrawing socially and suicidal ideations.

Bipolar disorder can be divided into two sub-types; bipolar I and bipolar II. Sufferers of bipolar I are diagnosed with mania which is severe enough to require treatment. Psychosis is evident in these instances, in addition to periods of rapid cycling. Bipolar II consists of episodes of hypomania but not acute enough to require hospitalization.

Suggestions into the causes for bipolar...

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