Bipolar Disorder

Features, symptoms, possible causes and treatment of bipolar.

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  • Created on: 09-06-14 10:10
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Also known as manic depression, bipolar is a mood disorder characterised by mood swings and large
changes in behaviour and mood. Your emotions may swing from one extreme to another, i.e. super
happiness to deep depression, with a small `normal/ balanced' period inbetween.
Bipolar disorder should be distinguished from unipolar disorder. Whereas unipolar depression is a
mood disorder which is seen as a constant low, bipolar disorder involves fluctuations between
moods of manic depression and mania.
Bipolar disorder is relatively common, with one person in 100 being diagnosed with the condition. It
can occur at any age, although it often develops between the ages of 18 and 24.
Men and women, from all backgrounds, are equally likely to develop bipolar
The pattern of the mood swings in bipolar varies between people. Some, will only have a couple of
bipolar episodes in their lifetime and will be stable in between, living successful careers and lives.
While others may experience many episodes and need constant treatment.
Some people alternate between mania and depression, but most are depressed more than they
are manic. Mania may also be so mild that it goes unrecognized. People with bipolar disorder can also
go for long stretches without symptoms or be misdiagnosed as a result.
Bipolar disorder also affects your energy level, judgment, memory, concentration, appetite, sleep
patterns, sex drive, and self-esteem.
It has been linked to anxiety, substance abuse, and health problems such as diabetes, heart
disease, migraines, and high blood pressure. Although these problems do not always occur.
Living with bipolar is challenging, it is a long-term mental illness. But with the correct treatment and
time, it can be managed so that it is bearable or hardly noticed.
Bipolar is characterized by more than one bipolar episode (change in mood), with a mixture of both
symptom categories of mania and depression.
There are three types of bipolar disorder:
1. Bipolar 1 Disorder, in which the primary symptom is manic, or rapid (daily) cycling episodes of
mania and depression.
2. Bipolar 2 Disorder, in which the primary symptom is recurrent depression accompanied by
hypomanic episodes (a milder state of mania in which the symptoms are not severe enough to cause
problems but are able to be observed by others).

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Cyclothymic Disorder, a chronic state of cycling between hypomanic and depressive episodes that
do not reach the diagnostic standard for bipolar disorder
Manic episodes include:
A distinct period of excessive and persistently happy or irritable mood, lasting at least 1
week (or less if hospitalised)
During this happy period period, three (or more) of the following symptoms have been
present significantly (4 if the mood is only irritable):
(1) An increased self-esteem
(2) A decreased need for sleep (e.g.…read more

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Biological explanation
· Bipolar disorder tends to runs in families. About half the people with bipolar disorder have a
family member with a mood disorder, such as depression; a person who has one parent with
bipolar disorder has a 15 to 25 percent chance of having the condition. A non-identical twin
or sibling of someone with the illness has a 25 percent chance of it, the same risk as if both
parents have bipolar. For identical twins, this is 40-70%.…read more

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The depression phase of bipolar disorder is often diagnosed first. You may initially be diagnosed with
clinical depression before having a manic episode later (sometimes years later), after which you may
be diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
During an episode of depression, you may have overwhelming feelings of worthlessness, which can
potentially lead to thoughts of suicide.
If you're feeling suicidal or having severe depressive symptoms, contact your GP, care co-ordinator
or the local mental health emergency services as soon as possible.…read more

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·psychological treatment - such as talking therapy to help deal with depression and to give you
advice about how to improve your relationships
·lifestyle advice - such as doing regular exercise, planning activities that you enjoy and that give you
a sense of achievement, and advice on improving your diet and getting more sleep
Help and advice for people with a long-term condition or their carers is also available from charities,
support groups and associations.…read more


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