The rate of mental illness is increasing due to factors that tend to increase the excitement, depression and other issues related to genetics or biological factors. Psychiatrists and professionals in the medical fields have undertaken many studies over the past century to determine mental illnesses. One of the most increasing type of mental illness that has gained more focus since the 1990s is the bipolar disorder. The disease is defined as a chronic mental illness credited for causing dramatic mood shifts. The moods can either be too high, mild, or too low and they are accompanied by periods of excitement, overactive symptoms, and depression either high or low. The high, mild, and low mood shifts are described as mania, hypomania, and depression respectively. Due to the psychological issues involved and the differences in human reactions, no single cause credited to being the cause of bipolar disorder. Past records conclude that about 2.9% of the American population are diagnosed with the illness whereby 83% of these people are classified as having severe conditions ("NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness | Bipolar disorder", 2017). The paper intends to discuss three main bipolar disorders, the symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment of the illness.
Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Types of Bipolar Disorders
The understanding and determination of the type of bipolar disorder an individual is suffering from are dependent on the symptoms. These symptoms are either manic, hypomanic, and depression. Manic state is defined as having the extreme high psychotic symptoms, for instance, hallucinations or delusions. It is characterized as having extreme excitement, sudden changes from sheer joy to critical conditions, for example, hostility, over-activeness, increased energy leading to less sleep, unusual high sex drive, inflated ego, restlessness, and impaired judgment due to their impatience, and fast speech. The behaviors of people experiencing mania are mainly risk taking, drug abuse, over-friendliness, gambling, and may even resign from their jobs while at these episodes. Depression is termed as the complete opposite extreme of mania as it involves the extreme low mood. It I characterized by extreme sadness, worthlessness, depreciated energy, delusions, drug abuse, not enjoying anything, sleeplessness, and thoughts or attempts of suicides. Unlike in mania, and depression, hypomania episode is relatively mild, and one can concentrate and is relatively short compared to both mania and depression.
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The cause of these mood shifts have no single factors but are mainly contributed by genetics, stress, and brain structure. According to past scientific studies, an individual from a family with a history of suffering from the illness is more prone to suffer from the disorder compared to a person from a family that has no history of the disease. The studies also prove that these genetic issues are not absolute. Stress can be as a result of many problems, for instance, economic downturns, loss of loved ones, family crisis, and other issues and it is credited to be a major trigger of the first bipolar episodes ("NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness | Bipolar disorder", 2017). The ability of an individual to manage stress is important in preventing the disorder as poor management can result in drug abuse which also triggers bipolar disorder. Lastly, brain structure although it is dependent on other factors, for example, stress.
These symptoms or episodes are used in the differentiation or classification criteria used to determine the type of bipolar disorder the patient is suffering from after diagnoses. Diagnoses of bipolar disorder are necessary to ascertain the kind of the disease. The process of diagnoses is performed by a doctor who performs physical examinations and interviews. Blood tests are also proposed to determine whether the patient is suffering from other illnesses that have similar symptoms, for example, hyperthyroidism. Once the doctor confirms that the person is not suffering from other diseases or reactions from medication, the doctor should recommend the individual visits a psychiatrist who is responsible undertake interviews on the extremes of either the high or low episodes of mania or hypomania and their durations ("NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness | Bipolar disorder", 2017). For a person to be diagnosed with the illness, he must have experienced at least one episode of either mania or hypomania.
There are three major types of bipolar disorders. The first category is known as Bipolar I Disorder which shows that the person has experienced at least one manic episode. Most people under this type have episodes of both mania and depression although the episode of depression is not mainly focused on the mania episode must have lasted at least one week or are extreme to the point the person is hospitalized ("NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness | Bipolar disorder", 2017). The second major type is known as Bipolar II Disorder. It means that the individual has experienced shifts of depression episodes and hypomanic episodes, but the episodes have never reached a full mania episode. Lastly, Cyclothymic Disorder is the type of bipolar disorder for people who experience unstable mood that shifts from mild depression to hypomania episodes that last for less than eight weeks, and the condition has been experienced for at least two years ("NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness | Bipolar disorder", 2017).
The treatment of bipolar disorder has been one of the most complex issues in mental health due to the complexity of the causes of the illness the side effects of medication that may result in relapse. Most medical treatments have revolved around antidepressants and mood stabilizers. Traditional preferences of antidepressants have been discouraged following studies showing that antidepressants contribute to manic switches (Geddes & Miklowitz, 2017). The other inhibitor of determining the best combination of medication is due to the issues related to drug reactions and being sufficient for only the first stage of the illness or leading to addiction since the treatment process is long-term. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and bupropion have been used for a long time by most clinicians. Antidepressants and mood stabilizers have been shown to be ineffective in completely healing the patient and with the issue of mania in bipolar disorder patients tend to use Lithium, due to its prevention of relapse (Geddes & Miklowitz, 2017). Determining the best combination of medication is difficult due to the issues discussed above hence, multiple studies have proposed pharma-therapy as the best combination rather than trying to find the best medication.
The studies claim bipolar patients should use both medicine and therapy sessions. There are many types of therapies that have been investigated with different outcomes, but the studies argue that involving family members, peers, and friends in the therapy sessions is important and more successful when undertaken for about one to two years compared to other therapies or short-time therapies. The involvement of family, friends, caregivers, and peers is important since they are educated on the different ways they can support the patient, and the patient can trust those around him to him/her to assist them to overcome the illnesses (Geddes & Miklowitz, 2017). The effectiveness of the treatment is based on determining the best medication, therapy and time combination to ensure that the patient continues with the treatment even when they feel they are healed to eradicate the chances of a relapse.
The paper discusses bipolar disorder by determining the mania, hypomania, and depression episodes that characterize the different mood shifts. The article also explains the different types and causes, and it is evident that the disorder is a complex and chronic. It is also apparent that due to the various episodes, time, and outcomes, treatment of the illness is also complicated and difficult to determine the best combination. The studies on the treatments are encouraging, but it is clear that the best combination must involve medication and therapies due to the multiple issues associated with the illness. In conclusion, it is clear that family, peers, friends and caregivers should be included in the long-term therapy sessions for successful treatment of the disorder.
Geddes, J. & Miklowitz, D. (2017). Treatment of bipolar disorder . Retrieved 3 March 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3876031/
NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness | Bipolar disorder . (2017). Nami.org . Retrieved 3 March 2017, from http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Bipolar-Disorder