Bipolar disorder is an illness that affects millions of people across the world. However, many people go misdiagnosed and untreated. This disorder can negatively affect people living with this illness as well as their family and loved ones. It can interrupt daily activities that most people take for granted including their employment, education, and also their personal lives. People with bipolar disorder have difficulties maintaining stable and quality relationships because of this. As a result, it is important that individuals be educated about this illness. Symptoms can be recognized and precautions taken to minimize the severity of its effects. To better understand how this affects others, it is important people learn about bipolar disorder and remain up to date on information, diagnosis, and populations.
Bipolar disorder is an illness that causes dramatic and extreme shifts in mood. However, people living with this disorder experience its affects in different ways. While some express bipolar disorder through manic behavior, others may display depressive behavior. People living with this condition can also experience both. The shifts in behavior are very sever and dramatic, much more than the rest of the population. These shifts are not simply going from happy one moment and sad the next. Bipolar disorder, “causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day to day tasks”, (“NIMH”, 2009). This can negatively affect their lives. As a result of extreme shifts, someone with bipolar disorder may quit their job impulsively during a manic state or attempt suicide in a depressive state. Consequently, bipolar disorder can “disrupt daily life” and dramatically, “interfere with your ability to function”, (Smith & Segal, 2011).
Bipolar disorder can affect different people throughout their different life stages. However, bipolar most often develops during an individual’s teen years or early adult hood. It is often misdiagnosed. People suffering from bipolar disorder may also have other symptoms which include, “energy level, judgment, memory, concentration, appetite, sleep, sex drive and self-esteem”, (Smith & Segal, 2011). However, these symptoms can be very high (manic) or very low (depressive). People who are manic will feel invincible and full of energy despite lack of sleep. However when depressive the individual may sleep consistently and remain in a hopeless state. Therefore, “bipolar disorder tends to worsen if not treated… suffering [from] more frequent and more sever episodes”, (“NIMH”, 2009).
Bipolar is diagnosed using a combination of methods. However, “the patients symptoms are fully assessed using specific criteria from the American Psychology Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder or DSM-IV”, (“Bipolar Diagnosis”, 2012). This is a test that asks a series of questions. Based on a patient’s answer, doctors are able to appropriately diagnose bipolar disorder. However, along with these test doctors, “may ask detailed questions about your bipolar symptoms on reasoning, memory, ability to express yourself and ability to maintain relationships”, (“Bipolar Diagnosis”, 2012). Based on these answers, along with family medical history, doctors are able to diagnose and prescribe the appropriate treatment for the illness. With the right treatment of medication such as mood stabilizers, people with bipolar disorder can lead productive lives with medication management, psychotherapy, and maintaining adequate sleep, diet, and a positive support system.
A new study indicates that America has the highest rate of bipolar disorder out of several nations tested. Currently, 4.4% of Americans are living with bipolar disorder, (Gardner, 2011). Of those affected by the illness, many have a history of mental illness in their family. In addition, people with bipolar are more likely to commit suicide and abuse substances. A study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health, NIMH found that, “most people with bipolar disorder had missed work because of their illness, had other illnesses… alcohol or substance abuse and panic disorders, been treated or hospitalized”, (2009). People with bipolar are more likely to have co-occurring mental illnesses such as ADHD or anxiety. As a result, it is easy to misdiagnose. To separate bipolar disorder from other illnesses, professionals must use a combination of these diagnostic methods.
Currently there is no cure for bipolar disorder. As a result individuals suffering from this illness must learn to live and cope with the disease through treatment and medication. People with bipolar disorder maybe, “reluctant to seek treatment because you like the way you feel when your manic”, (Smith & Segal, 2011). Scholars described manic as being “high”, however this can be associated with “high” energy or “high” mood. Yet, the statement suggests that people in a manic state may receive a rush or feelings of euphoria. Researchers described manic people as those who feel they are famous, invincible, and special. In this way people who are manic will actually feel a natural high from their illness. This high may cause them to enjoy the effects of their mental disorder.
Bipolar Disorder is an illness that affects various people across genders, ethnicities, and demographic location. Although this disorder can cause a major life disruption, the illness is treatable. With the right treatment and resources individuals can better manage this illness. Bipolar is a mental or behavioral disorder and because of this many may not associate a bad mood or irrational behavior with this condition. As a result individuals must be alert and recognize the signs. Being familiar with this disorder and other mental health disorders like it individuals and families can better treat and manage mental illness.
Bipolar Disorder. (2009). National Institute of Mental Health. U.S Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health Publication. Retrieved from: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder/nimh-bipolar-adults.pdf
Bipolar Diagnostics.(n.d). Retrieved 01 October 2012 from webMD website, Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/guide/bipolar-disorder-diagnosis
Gardner, A. (2011, March 07). US has highest ipolar rate in 11-nation study. CNN Health, Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/03/07/US.highest.bipolar.rates/index.html
Smith, M., Segal, J. (2011, July). Understanding Bipolar Disorder: Signs symptoms and treatment of manic depression. Retrieved 01 October 2012 from Help Guide website; Retrieved from: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/bipolar_disorder_symptoms_treatment.htm