Bipolar disorder 2 Essay

Submitted By jtreese85
Words: 3022
Pages: 13

Bipolar and Me
Jamie Treese
Pennsylvania Highlands Community College

Try imagining being happy one second and crying the next. Can you imagine laughing and then in a bat of an eye being so angry that you could scream? I know I could but then again I have bipolar disorder, a mood disorder, which is accompanied by socialphobia. I researched bipolar disorder because I have been diagnosed with it for 12 years and would like to know more about my disorder. Some days I feel perfectly normal and other days I can barely get out of bed. Sometimes I can go a few days without going out of my house. Luckily for me, with the help of medication and a good support system of family and friends, these instances have become far and few between. Coping with my disorder has been a long and stressful journey. To this day, I still have many problems. Sometimes my medicine stops working for me and I spend weeks trying to regain my normalcy. I have lost jobs and friends from my illness. My hypothesis is that bipolar is hereditary. Since being diagnosed I always wondered why this has happened to me and why no one else in my family had it. I watched television shows and read some articles about the illness possibly being hereditary yet no one in my family had it except for me. Soon I found out that others did have it but they were either in denial about it or didn’t even know they had it. Bipolar disorder (BD), formally known as manic depressive illness is a mental illness. The illness is biologically based and is one of the leading causes of disability in the world. Bipolar disorder is particularly crippling to many patients, and suicide attempts occur in 25 percent to 50 percent of patients (Causes of Mood Disorders 2010). Depression and bipolar are commonly referred to as mood (or affective) disorders. Major hallmarks of depression include a persistent low or sad mood, decreased or absent interests in almost all activities, loss of self-confidence, and a feeling of worthlessness (Causes of Mood Disorders 2010). BD is marked by moods varying from extreme highs (mania) to extreme lows (depression), and is often associated with anxiety disorders, self-harm, suicide attempts, and suicides (Morton, Schloss, Krajewski-Jaime, Brown, n.d.). Mania, which can be thought of as the opposite of depression, is characterized by an elated or elevated mood, increased activity, an overblown self-image, and an exaggerated sense of self-confidence. Usually, both depression and bipolar disorder are episodic, that is, bouts of illness are separated by symptom-free periods characterized by feelings of relative well-being (Causes of Mood Disorders 2010). The exact causes of depression and bipolar disorder are not well understood, but some combination of genetic predisposition and psychological and medical factors appears to play a role in these disorders (Causes of Mood Disorders 2007). When people get depressed, chemical changes occur in the brain, and researchers believe that these changes are linked to the symptoms of mood disorders, especially depression. The brain is composed of distinct regions, each made up of networks of nerve cells called neurons that transmit messages throughout the nervous system. Individual neurons are separated by small gaps at each end called synaptic clefts (Causes of Mood Disorders 2007). Chemicals called neurotransmitters bridge the synaptic clefts and pass messages from one neuron to the next. Imbalances in three particular neurotransmitters, serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, appear to contribute to depression and bipolar disorder, although less is known about changes in the brain that occur during the manic phase of bipolar disorder (Causes of Mood Disorders 2007). One specific brain region thought to be involved in depression is the limbic system, which affects our emotional behavior. An area within this system, the hypothalamus, regulates the pituitary gland, which in turn