Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric illness symbolized by a significant and recurrent shift of mood. As a rule, an individual experiences both sad and elevated moods. At the same time, the person suffering from the ailment faces unexpected changes in the energy and activity levels and experiences a mixture of manic and depressive symptoms. According to the research, the chronic incidences of the bipolar disorder appear to be higher than the official figures WHO officially report (Parker and Kerrie 132). Bipolar disorder has proved to be challenging to diagnose because the condition is always assumed to be a major recurrent form of depression. For this reason, only a qualified psychiatrist can confirm the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Interestingly, the cause of bipolar disorder is a combination of predisposing factors like the environmental influences, neurochemical elements, and genetic predisposition. Parker and Kerrie further argue that bipolar disorder is the sixth leading cause of disability in the United States of America (13). Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder, common among many individuals, and may critically affect people’s lives by shifting their moods, energy levels, daily activities and limiting their daily tasks.
The Types of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is categorized into four groups that include bipolar-I disorder, bipolar-II disorder, cyclothymia, and other “specified or unspecified bipolar conditions” (Malhi 415). For instance, the bipolar-I disorder is exhibited by the patient experiencing continued elevated mood episodes and depression for at least seven days. Bipolar-II disorder, on the other hand, is a milder form of mania that is hard to recognize since the victim is always seen as normal (Malhi 415). By extension, cyclothymia also known as the rapid cyclic bipolar disorder is a combination of depression, mania, and hypomania. Lastly, the fourth specified or unspecified bipolar conditions include BP-NOS, which denote a state different from the above types of bipolar disorder because the person experiences one phenomenon at a time.
The Predisposition and the Risk Factors of Bipolar Disorder
According to Sansone, et al., there is no single causative agent of bipolar disorder. Instead, combinations of controlling factors contribute to increasing the chances of developing this condition (7). For example, the genetic coding of an individual determines whether the person is likely to have the mood disorder. Notably, approximately half of the people with bipolar disorder have the same mood disorder running in the family lineage (Sansone, et al., 9).
Apart from the genetic code factor, the neurochemical aspect enhances the risks of developing bipolar disorder. The three essential chemicals of the brain whose imbalance starts a chain of systematic biochemical reactions that predispose the brain to bipolar depression include dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. In addition, serotonin is a neurotransmitter of the brain that actively affects mood (Grande, et al., 1564). Since a life event can quickly activate a person’s mood, the environmental factor in bipolar disorder remains one of the most critical of all the predominant conditions that cause the mood disorder. For example, the sudden escalation of bright sunshine time is believed to trigger mania or depression by heartwarming the pineal gland.
Signs, Symptoms, and Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder proves to be challenging to diagnose and therefore a certified mental health professional or a psychiatrist are some of the most qualified specialists to prescribe the best form of medication. By extension, the psychiatrist diagnoses the patient taking account of the patient’s history of mania. Nevertheless, a prevailing ill-tempered mood could easily mask the psychotic symptoms or the underlying manic image (Goodwin 15). Sansone, et al. conclude that the professional should take the patient’s history and perform a regular mental examination to determine an overlap with other disorders such as unipolar depression (4). Some of the most prominent symptoms of bipolar disorder include first signs of mania, which develop at a faster speed; excessive irritability; high euphoric mood; poor judgment; and increased sexual drive. On the other hand, the symptoms of depressive mood consist of the feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, guilt, pessimism, lasting sadness, fatigue, difficulty in concentration, and decreased energy (Sansone, et al., 15).
Treatment, Therapy, Medication, and Management of Bipolar Disorder
Cerimele, et al. recommend that the essential general practice for a patient with bipolar disorder is the long-term management and adherence to the treatment (576). Besides, the assessment of therapy efficacy, patient education, healthy lifestyle, and monitoring the situation of the ailment for any adverse effects are some of the primary measures of managing bipolar disorder. Similarly, the physician may prescribe mood stabilizer medicines such as valproate and lithium in a pharmacological perspective (Cerimele, et al., 577). However, there is substantial evidence that valproate causes some hormonal shifts in young girls; therefore, the mood stabilizer treatment can cause lactation and pregnancy risks.
Talk therapy and psychotherapy have proved to be effective methods of treating bipolar disorder. Moreover, Ellison, et al. argue that the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CDT) works by helping the people suffering from bipolar disorder convert destructive and harmful patterns of thought into productive and positive ones (807). Furthermore, family therapy has enhanced the strategies for coping with the recurring new episodes while including problem solving and communication patterns. Conversely, if the medication and psychotherapy do not work, another option of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) could be used (Grande, et al., 1570). ECT is a shock therapy that requires technical skills to administer the treatment; however, in certain cases it may have the effects of disorientation, confusion, and memory loss.
Conclusively, bipolar disorder is a severe psychological illness that inflicts serious adverse effects on an individual’s life. By extension, the bipolar disorder is associated with stress for both the patient and the family members. Ultimately, for optimal management of bipolar disorder, both psychosocial and pharmacological methods of treatment should be integrated to produce the finest possible result for the bipolar patients. A collaborative effort should be made by all the stakeholders to change the attitude of stigmatization and educate the public as well as the policy makers through sensitive criticism.