Bipolar disorder, in its severest form, is characterized by unexpected and unusual mood swings, activity levels, energy or the ability to perform daily activity. The disorder affects the brain causing an individual to have maniac attacks that may be impossible to control. People with bipolar disorder often experience periods when they are happy and active followed by other periods when they feel seriously depressed or deprived of energy (Goodwin & Sachs, 2010). The periods of happiness and a lot of energy are known as manic episodes while periods of reduced activity, depression and sadness are known as depressive episodes. Bipolar disorder affects the quality of life of the affected individual and also takes a toll on the surrounding people.
There are four basic types of bipolar disorders. Bipolar I disorder is the first type. It is characterized by maniac symptoms that are very severe to require medical attention. The episodes can last for at least 7 days. While mostly involving maniac periods, depressive episodes and mixed periods of maniac and depressive episodes can occur. Bipolar II disorder is characterized by depressive and maniac episodes that are not as severe as in bipolar I disorder. Cyclothymic disorder is a characterized by long-lasting episodes of hypomanic and depressive symptoms, usually for 2 years (Goodwin & Sachs, 2010). However, the symptoms do not meet the criteria for diagnosis as depressive or hypomanic episodes. The final type of bipolar disorder entails other unspecified or specified bipolar and related disorders. Essentially, the symptoms in this category are symbolic of those of diagnosed bipolar disorder but do not meet t...
he threshold outlines to fall into depressive or maniac episodes.
There is no clarity regarding the cause of bipolar disorders. However, medical experts allude to abnormal brain structure or genetic components as possible causes. The mental illness begins to manifests in a person’s life during teenage years or the early adult years. However, children can also show symptoms of bipolar disorder. The disease lasts during the whole period of an individual’s existence. If a person experiences frequent mood swings or suspects to have it, he or she should undertake a medical check-up. In case one is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he should take medication or subscribe to the various intervention that can improve their quality of life. If not managed, the illness can not only affect the individual severely but also other members of the society.
The lack of treatment of bipolar disorder can lead to poor academic or job performance, damaged relationships or suicide. The illness causes difficulties in concentrating at work or school. Additionally, individuals may be subjected to stigma in school or work. This affects their overall commitment to job or academic responsibilities. The illness threatens family relationships by creating a distance between the affected person and the close relatives. The estrangement results from confusion and significant strains (Goodwin & Sachs, 2010). The individual may feel isolated from the society due to the stigma associated with the mental illness. As the symptoms worsen, the person may withdraw from the society. Members of the society who fail to understand the illness may also alienate the individual. People maintain
a social distance of they feel that they cannot help or if the illness interferes with their lives. People suffering from bipolar disorder may attempt to combat the social isolation or stigma associated with the illness by turning to substance abuse. In some cases, they may commit suicide.
- Goodwin, G., & Sachs, G. (2010). Bipolar Disorder. Abingdon: HEALTH Press.