condition (NAMI, 2017) Bipolar Disorder is likely caused by

condition called Bipolar Disorder, one’s feelings can reach abnormal high or low levels Individuals may feel immensely excited or energetic. Other times, they may find themselves sinking into a deep depression. Some of these emotional peaks and lows can last for weeks or months (Rol, J, 2017). This paper explores the causes, symptoms and treatments of BD. In the second part of this paper I will explore my own experience with the disorder. Finally, I will compare my own experience with the research.
Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness that causes dramatic shifts in a person’s mood, energy and ability to think clearly. People with Bipolar experience high and low moods known as mania and depression which differ from the typical ups-and-downs most people experience. The average age-of-onset is about 25, but it can occur in the teens, or more uncommonly, in childhood. The condition affects men and women equally, with about 2.6% of the U.S. population diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and nearly 83% of cases classified as severe. (NAMI, 2017)
Bipolar Disorder is likely caused by multiple factors that interact with each other. It often runs in families and there is a genetic component to the disorder. For example, chances of getting Bipolar Disorder are higher if one’s parents or siblings have this disorder. However, even though someone may have inherited the genes for Bipolar Disorder, there is no guarantee that this person will develop the disorder. A stressful environment or negative life events may interact with an underlying genetic or biological vulnerability to produce the disorder. In other words, some people are born with genes that make it more likely that they will get Bipolar Disorder. It is not known why some people with these genes develop Bipolar Disorder and others do not. Often, a stressful event seems to trigger the first episode. Therefore, an individual’s coping skills or style for handling stress also may play a role in the development of symptoms. In some cases, drug abuse (e.g., alcohol, amphetamines, LSD, cocaine, etc.) can trigger the dis-order. Stressful life events also may lead to a loss of sleep or a change in usual routines. Such changes in one’s schedule can contribute to the onset and recurrence of depression and mania. (Otto, M.W 2011).
Like most diseases, Bipolar Disorder comes in different shapes and sizes and can be difficult to diagnose. Few people or physicians would miss classic Bipolar Disorder, with its cyclic episodes of severe depression and full-blown mania. After all, there is nothing subtle about mania, grandiose and often psychotic thinking, elated mood, superhuman energy and libido and reckless judgment (NY Times, 2004).
Treatment helps many people—even those with the most severe forms of Bipolar Disorder gain better control of their mood swings and other bipolar symptoms. An effective treatment plan usually includes a combination of medication and psychotherapy (also called “talk therapy”). Bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness (NIMH, 2016). Medications generally used to treat Bipolar Disorder include: Mood stabilizers, atypical antipsychotics, Antidepressants. There are a lot of different medications that people can take to treat their bipolar symptoms. The most common type of medication that a person will take is called a mood stabilizer. Mood stabilizers treat and prevent the highs of a manic or hypomanic episode, as well as the lows of depressive episodes. When a person has Bipolar Disorder, it can be difficult to function at work, school or in social situations. This type of medication helps minimize the negative effects of bipolar disorder in those situations. Some of these medications include: Depakene, Tegretol, Lamictal, and Lithobid.
While bipolar disorder cannot be prevented, it’s important to be aware of early warning signs of an impending episode of bipolar depression or bipolar mania. Early recognition of bipolar warning signs and seeing your doctor regularly can allow you to monitor your mood and medications and keep illness from escalating. In fact, although treating bipolar disorder moods is critical, there is a convincing case supported by scientific studies that the prevention of further mood episodes should be the greatest goal. According to a study conducted at Mount Sinai Hospital, Our findings suggest that resilience to genetic risk of bipolar disorder may reflect the capacity to adapt network connectivity to ameliorate the effects of underlying network dysfunction,” wrote the researchers. (Dima D. Robert 2016). Someday, this new research suggests, neuroplasticity may become the basis for new and innovative treatments to help those who suffer from this often debilitating illness.
Bipolar disorder can be severe and long-term, or it can be mild with infrequent episodes. Patients with the disease may experience symptoms in very different ways. A typical patient with bipolar disorder averages 8 – 10 manic or depressive episodes over a lifetime. However, some people experience more and others fewer episodes. Patients with bipolar disorder generally have higher death rates from suicide, heart problems, and death from all causes than those in the general population. Patients who get treatment, however, experience great improvement in survival rates (Umm, 2013).
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