December 17, 2012
Carlos Guzman, Ph.D.
Psychological Disorder: Bi-polar disorder
Everyday someone has to deal with a mental disorder and sometimes it is not easy. Bi-polar disorder is one of those mental illnesses that are extremely hard to deal with both as a person and as a medical professional. Bipolar disorder or bipolar affective disorder (historically known as manic-depressive disorder) is a psychiatric diagnosis for a mood disorder in which people experience disruptive mood swings (Bergen, 99). These mood swings are a frenzied state known as mania (or hypomania) usually followed or switched with symptoms of depression. Bipolar disorder is defined by the presence of one or more episodes of very high energy levels, cognition, and mood with or without one or more depressive episodes.
When a person is in the lower levels of mania, such as hypomania, that person may come across as energetic and excitable. But at a higher level, that person may behave erratically and impulsively, often making very bad decisions due to unrealistic ideas about the future, and may have a hard time with sleep. Within the highest level, people can show psychotic behavior, including violence. Individuals who experience manic episodes will most definitely experience depressive episodes, or symptoms, or a mixed state in which both mania and depression are happening at the same time. These differences are usually separated by times of "normal" mood; but, depression and mania may rapidly alternate, which is known as rapid cycling. Rapid cycling is not a very good time for that person as well as that person’s family and friends. Patients that “rapid cycle” are those who struggle to keep a steady job and maintain healthy relationships with people. Severe manic episodes can sometimes lead to such psychotic symptoms as delusions and hallucinations (Bergen, 99). Through all of the new strides in medication this world has seen in that decade, fewer than half of people with the disorder were treated by a mental health professional, and only a quarter of those in lower-income countries seek treatment, according to the 11-nation study in the March issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.
Current research suggests that about 4% of people experience some of the characteristic symptoms at some point in their life (Goodwin, 07). About 2.4% of people around the world have had a diagnosis of bipolar disorder at some point in their lifetime. The United States has the highest lifetime rate of bipolar disorder at 4.4%, and India the lowest, with 0.1%.
Bipolar disorder is similar in men and women and is generally the same across different cultures and ethnic groups. Genetic factors are related substantially to the likelihood of developing bipolar disorder, and environmental factors are also involved. Bipolar disorder is often treated with mood stabilizing medications and psychotherapy. Depending on the country or culture, medication and therapy may or may not be used. In India, with the levels being so low, therapy is used more than medications. In serious cases, in which there is a risk of harm to themselves or others, involuntary commitment to a mental health facility may be an option. These cases of severe manic episodes, generally involve dangerous behavior or depressive episodes with suicidal tendencies. There are widespread problems with social stigma, stereotypes, and prejudice against individuals with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder exhibiting psychotic symptoms can sometimes be misdiagnosed as having schizophrenia. This is not always the case, but in some rare occurrences, bipolar disorder has been misdiagnosed.
Cultural beliefs specific to certain ethnic communities such as the Indian culture, can