“Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks” (National Institute of Mental Health). Bipolar disorder symptoms vary from person to person. A person suffering from bipolar disorder may experience relationship problems, poor school and work performance, and even suicide thoughts or attempts. Currently there are four types of bipolar disorder. I’m focusing mostly on Bipolar II disorder. Compared to Bipolar I disorder, Bipolar II is less severe. Although a person may experience irritability, depression, and changes in mood most people are able to function in their everyday lives. In addition, many experience hypomania, which is a less severe form of mania, which is common amongst Bipolar I. Most researchers agree that there is no singular cause of bipolar disorder. However, researchers have pinpointed a few factors including: genetics, brain structure, and functioning. First of all, bipolar disorders may run in families so genetics plays a huge role in establishing what causes bipolar disorder in some cases. For instance, children with a parent(s) who suffer from bipolar disorder are more then likely to acquire it themselves. “Studies report rates of bipolar disorder between 4% and 15% in children with one bipolar parent, compared to 0% to 2% in the offspring of parents who don’t have the disorder. And if both parents are bipolar, rather than just one, a child is about 3.5 times more likely to develop the condition” (Health). In addition, scientists have used brain-imaging tools like the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) to take pictures of the living brain at work. Using these tools, scientists have been able to stud how the brain works and its structure and activity.
Signs and Symptoms: With bipolar disorder, a person generally experience two states: manic episodes and depressive episodes. A manic episode includes a long period of feeling high and behaviors can include: talking very fast, having racing thoughts, becoming easily distracted, running on very little sleep, and behaving impulsively. In contrast, a depressive episode includes mood changes such as: loss of interest in activities that the person usually enjoys and feeling sad or hopeless with very little energy. Behavioral changes include sleep disturbances, eating habit changes, having problems concentrating, remembering, and making decisions. Also many experience suicidal thoughts. In addition, many people who suffer from bipolar disorder abuse alcohol or drugs. “An estimated 60% of all people with bipolar disorder have drug or alcohol problems” (Bipolar Disorder Health Center). A person suffering from Bipolar II may experience a longer depressive episode versus a maniac episode (Mayo Clinic).
Population Effected: Bipolar disorder usually occurs in both males and females under the age of 25. At least half of all bipolar cases start before the age of 25. Many cases begin during the teenage years and even early childhood. However, cases could definitely be discovered in adulthood. Currently at 2.4%, the United States holds the highest lifetime rate of bipolar disorder (CNN).
Prognosis and Treatment: Unfortunately, bipolar disorder cannot be cured. But people who have this disorder can live a somewhat ‘normal’ lifestyle with regular medication. However, there are always setbacks to being dependent on medication such as Celexa and other medications. Continuous treatment is needed because bipolar disorder is a life-long