Bipolar disorder also is known as manic depression, manic-depressive illness or manic psychosis. Without proper treatment, this mental illness can be accompanied by affective state, the destruction of relationships and career, and some suicidal tendencies. Bipolar disorder is a disease that is characterized by mood swings (poles) from mania to the severe depression.
Bipolar disorder was primarily described by Ancient physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia and afterwards by the German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin.
Gregory Berns stated “The German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin was likely the first to draw attention to the distinction between manic depression and schizophrenia. While the acute presentations of both illnesses can appear identical with delusions and hallucinations, manic depression is characterized by an abrupt onset and a fluctuating course in which the individual returns to a relatively normal state between episodes, particularly early in the course of the disorder. (p. 76)
It is difficult to perceive the reality and function in society for people with bipolar disorder. To date, the cause provoking the emergence of the disease is unknown. However, there are some factors that may be considered as causes of the disease. These factors include biological traits, genetics, hormonal problems, brain-chemical imbalance, and environmental factors. Such a disease usually appears between 15 to 24 years and lasts during a lifetime. Some people have seen only a few symptoms while an increasing number of such symptoms lead the rest of them to the loss of ability to live normally. Featuring by frequent exacerbations and relapses, bipolar disorder has a high risk of re-emergence if the disease is left untreated. Also, patients with acute depression must be hospitalized because of the risk of committing a suicide. Nearly 90% of patients with diagnosis of bipolar disorder, require urgent hospitalization. The half of patients may be hospitalized several times during the disease.
In accordance with the article in Medical News Today Researchers from the National Institute of Mental Health, Genetic Epidemiology Research Branch, reported in Archives of General Psychiatry that bipolar disorder rates in the USA are higher than anywhere else in the world. About 4.4% of US citizens have had a bipolar disorder diagnosis at some time in their lives, while the world average is 2.4%. ("What Is Bipolar Disorder? What Causes Bipolar Disorder?")
The symptoms of bipolar disorder are acutely individual and include:
- difficulties with concentrating as well as remembering details and making decisions;
- overeating or loss of appetite;
- feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and hopelessness;
- frequent fatigue and reduced vitality;
- insomnia, early awakening, excessive sleepiness;
- constant feeling of sadness, anxiety or emptiness;
- loss of interest in favorite activities and hobbies;
- persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, stomach cramps, or stomach-ache;
- thoughts about suicide, suicide attempts;
- irritability, restlessness;
Of course, such a disease requires a long therapy. If there exists a danger of a severe attack of depression, patients must be hospitalized and given necessary medications in order to balance their mood. Such medications include antidepressants, lithium carbonate, anxiolytics and anticonvulsants. Bipolar disorder is managed most effectively with an effective combination of psychotherapy, medication with a social support. When the patient’s mood is stabilized, the strategy of a long treatment will be devised. Such medicines as lithium carbonate can help alleviate as well as eliminate symptoms of bipolar disorder. Group therapy and psychotherapy always must support long-term pharmacological therapy.
In conclusion, it should be said that bipolar disorder is such a brain disorder that causes sharp shifts in energy, mood, as well as the ability to live a normal life. In contradistinction to the usual ups and downs experienced by all people, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are quite complicated, and it is rather difficult to cope with them. What is more, very often, these symptoms are not recognized as an illness, and people may suffer for years before the correct diagnosis and treatment will be known. Bipolar disorder should be closely monitored throughout the life of man.