The following is a psychology essay that describes Bipolar Disorder. It aims to elicit the causes of the disease, describe its psychopathology and manifestations thereof. It also comprehensively elicits the criteria for diagnosis and the varieties of care that the patient can receive. That includes varied modalities of management, both pharmaceutical and other valuable therapeutic options. A short summary of the aforementioned aspects of the disorder serves to conclude the essay.
Introduction to Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a psychological illness that manifests with major alteration of moods. The latter infers to episodes of severe depression and of major excitement also referred to as mania. The two are punctuated by a period of calm also known as normal or balanced mood. The etiology of the disorder remains obscure. It is normally confused with other psychological ailments such as schizophrenia due to overlapping symptoms. Once diagnosed; however, treatment is palliative rather than curative. Those affected, therefore, have it for life. Needless to say, it can be well managed.
Bipolar Disorder: Definition and Classification
As stated earlier, this is an affective disorder whose classical symptoms are distinct variation in moods. As such, it is also called a manic-depressive illness. This definition clearly delineates this disorder from severe depression also known as Unipolar Affective Disorder. The latter, contrary to Bipolar Disorder, is characterized by chronic depressive symptoms (low mood). As will be observed later, the mood swings in bipolar can be subdivided into several sub-levels.
According to the DSM criteria of evaluation, bipolar disorder can be divided into Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder, Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified and Cyclothymic disorder also known as Cyclothymia (Aloi, 2012). Bipolar I is characterized by manic or mixed episodes of disease. These may last up to and longer than two weeks. Bipolar II on the contrary is characterized by depressive episodes alternating with hypomanic periods. Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (BP-NOS) is for those patients with symptomatology that neither fits the first nor the second classification. The symptoms elicited, however, should deviate from normal behavior for them to fall under this classification. Cyclothymia is a mild manifestation of bipolar disorder even though the symptoms are not severe enough to warrant a class I or II classification.
Sometimes, symptoms of major depression alternating with mania or hypomania may occur in a patient as much as four times in a year. In this case, a different terminology is given to describe this form of bipolar disease. It is termed as rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. The importance of a health practitioner taking extensive history to pick this up cannot be understated.
Bipolar Disorder: Epidemiology and Etiology
With many studies being conducted about the disorder by psychologists and psychoanalysts, the following information about its epidemiology has been deduced so far. The disorder affects both males and females equally. The ages of onset vary from child hood up to fifty years of age. The average age of onset, however, is fifteen to nineteen years. As far as racial distribution is concerned, no preference of race has been noted. It is, however, imperative to note that Bipolar Affective Disorder is less common amongst people of Negro and Hispanic descents as compared to other psychological disorders such as Schizophrenia…”
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