Bipolar Disorder: a Deeper Understanding Essay

Submitted By onlyus2011
Words: 800
Pages: 4

Bipolar Disorder: A Deeper Understanding
Brandy Barnum

The term Bipolar Disorder is commonly used amongst psychologists and is being diagnosed more often in recent years. People everywhere in the world are getting treated for this “disease” based on symptoms that potentially all of us experience in our lifetime – periods of depression and anxiety, followed by periods of irritability and agitation; but the difference is, those diagnosed may have them more frequently and more intensely, experiencing these cycles more than once in a calendar year, sometimes even more often. The symptoms of Bipolar Disorder include, but are not limited to: extreme mood swings- from manic highs to depressive lows alternating in “cycles”; some “rapid-cycling” occurs in certain patients; irritability, frustration, and distraction; I believe everyone has experienced these same feelings at times.

Bipolar Disorder: A Deeper Understanding The subject of Bipolar Disorder seems to be misunderstood by a lot of people, hence the terms disorder and disease, but it hits close to home with me. I see its effects, and live with them every day, because this diagnosis was given to my wife a few years ago and she has the burden of living with it. (She has given me permission to reference our life as it relates to living with this.) She never thought about being “bipolar” until she was diagnosed with the illness. Before that, everything was “normal” - her thoughts, actions, and reactions to situations, but now, now that she had it put in her head by a professional that there is something wrong with her, every thought and action is considered a symptom of her diagnosis, and not just a normal expression of self. Most people view bipolar disorder as a disease, but to those who are afflicted by it, it is a way of life, and though it can be quite a burden, many live with it every single day and are fully functional, very successful individuals.
Bipolar is defined in the dictionary simply as: Relating to or having two poles or charges, relating to a device capable of using two polarizations, such as a transistor that uses positive and negative charge carriers, relating to or involving both of the earth's polar regions, and having two opposite or contradictory ideas or natures. However, as it relates to psychology, bipolar is defined as: Relating to a major affective disorder that is characterized by episodes of mania and depression. Psychology Today defines bipolar disorder “…also known as manic depression, is a chronically recurring condition involving moods that swing between the highs of mania and the lows of depression.” During the “highs” of mania an effected person could experience a “mix of irritability, anger, and depression, with or without euphoria” however, depression is usually the “pervasive feature of the illness”. The Mayo Clinic further states that “mood shifts may occur only a few times a year, or as often as several times a day. In some cases, bipolar disorder causes symptoms of depression and mania at the same time.” Common misconceptions of bipolar disorder include the assumptions that those diagnosed are non-functioning, unable to maintain relationships, hold jobs or serve in positions of authority, and even more tragic is the misconception