About Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder has two terms that have their own Ancient Greek meaning, melancholy and mania, (Burton, 2017). The greek meaning behind mania is to rage, and the greek meaning behind melancholy comes from the word melas meaning black, (Burton, 2017). Bipolar disorder, (melancholy and mania) traces back to first century AD a greek man named Aretaeus found a number of people were found to be acting happy by dancing and playing at times and down and depressed at other times, (Burton, 2017).

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Aretaeus found it odd and figured that these people suffered from the same disorder, but it wasn’t until 1854 when Jules Baillarger and Jean-Pierre Falret discovered bipolar disorder, (Burton, 2017). The women discovered that bipolar disorder seemed to be common in families and figured it had to be passed down with genetics. In the 1900’s psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin found that bipolar disorder was different than schizophrenic disorder, where he then named the disorder manic-depressive psychosis, later it was found that not all had both mania and depressive symptoms, (Burton, 2017). Between the 1950’s and 1980’s Kraepelin came up with the term bipolar disorder, he thought that it sounded less extreme than manic- depressive illness. Some still prefer the old name because they think that it describes their illness or their patient’s illness better than bipolar disorder does, (Burton, 2017).

Bipolar I disorder is one of the divisions of bipolar disorders. Common symptoms in bipolar I disorder are; overly energetic, mood extremes, insomnia, lack of concentration, bad judgement, unrealistic beliefs, etc., (Turner, 2013). In DSM-IV the diagnostic features states that Bipolar I disorder is diagnosed by the amount of mixed or manic episodes that the patient has, (American Psychiatric Association, 1995 pg. 350-351). DSM-V states that episodes mania and hypomania happen when there is also depressive episodes, (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Diagnosing someone with Bipolar I disorder depends on whether the patient is having their first episode of mania or if it is reoccurring. In order for it to be recurrent the manic episodes have to be two months without experiencing any manic episodes, (American Psychiatric Association, 1995 pg. 351). When hypomanic turns into manic or mixed episode, or when manic results in mixed episode it is likely to only be a single episode, (American Psychiatric Association, 1995 pg. 351). Bipolar I disorder prevalence varies from 0.4% to 1.6% in a lifetime, (American Psychiatric Association, 1995 pg. 353).

Bipolar I is a disorder that is recurring, over half of the time manic episodes come before or sometimes they follow a major depressive episode, usually after diagnosed your episodes tend to occur in the same order for future episodes, (American Psychiatric Association, 1995 pg. 353). When diagnosed with bipolar I disorder even if properly medicated, patients with bipolar I disorder tend to have roughly four episodes in the time span of ten years. People with Bipolar I disorder tend to have a higher number of episodes than those that are diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Even though they have more episodes, they do tend to decrease as the patient diagnosed with bipolar I disorder ages. Most return back to normal after an episode but around twenty to thirty percent have difficulties, (American Psychiatric Association, 1995 pg.353).

Differential diagnosis’s that are similar to bipolar but are caused by different things are substance- induced mood disorder, where an individual is exposed to a toxin causing them to have episodes, (American Psychiatric Association, 1995 pg. 354). Bipolar II disorder is when the individual is having multiple or one manic or mixed episodes. Psychotic disorder is one of the more difficult to differentiate from bipolar I disorder because a lot of the symptoms are similar, but psychotic disorder symptoms are more severe than bipolar I disorder, (American Psychiatric Association, 1995 pg. 354).

When someone is experiencing bipolar symptoms, they will be really energetic and happy one minute and really sad and depressed the next, (Turner, 2013). Diagnosing bipolar disorder can be difficult because there are many other disorders with similar symptoms, (Turner, 2013). People with family history of bipolar I disorder tend to have higher chances of also having bipolar disorder, (American Psychiatric Association, 1995 pg. 354). Treatment options for those with bipolar I disorder could be medication or therapy, (Turner, 2013). Medications that are commonly used to treat bipolar disorder are mood stabilizer drugs, lithium is a common example. Antidepressants have also shown to be beneficial to some that are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, (Rothenburg, 2018). Medications affect everyone differently and there is no one medication that will universally work to treat someone with bipolar disorder, (Rothenburg, 2018). Psychotherapy is one of the more beneficial therapies for treating those with bipolar disorder. Therapy can be a huge part in those with bipolar disorder living a normal life along with medication, (Rothenburg, 2018).

As a society one of our biggest problems is accepting those with mental illness or feeling comfortable enough to talk your mental illness with others, so as individuals, family and a society, how do we cope and interact with ourselves or our loved ones being diagnosed with bipolar disorder? Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder can be the hardest on your most intimate relationships. As a couple, bipolar disorder is mostly hard on your relationship because it hard to know what feelings are real and what feelings are not because of your mental illness, because of the lack of stability, divorce is two to three times higher in couples that have bipolar disorder, (Neighborhood Psychiatry, 2018). There is a current study of family relations lead by Granek and colleagues that is using couples in Israel to determine the best ways to cope with bipolar disorder in an intimate relationship, (Neighborhood Psychiatry, 2018). The most common solutions were making sure that the couple sought professional support, social support, had emotional coping strategies, instrumental coping strategies and religious and spiritual coping strategies, (Neighborhood Psychiatry, 2018). Couples should seek professional support from therapists, nurses, physicians etc., (Neighborhood Psychiatry, 2018). Social support from other loved ones and especially parents is extremely important in the success in their relationship, (Neighborhood Psychiatry, 2018). Avoiding getting your hopes up and taking things day by day has proven to be beneficial, along with having a normal routine, (Neighborhood Psychiatry, 2018). Religion can be also very beneficial because it can act as a distraction and or something to focus on and believe in, (Neighborhood Psychiatry, 2018). As a society, accepting those with bipolar is important for many reasons mainly because we should not be making people feel uncomfortable and we should be supporting them, (Neighborhood Psychiatry, 2018). Authors did this study to give guidance to those who might be struggling in a relationship, because they are having a hard time coping with one of them having bipolar disorder.

Coping with a loved having bipolar disorder and learning how to cope with it to make your relationship successful is extremely important, but what is more important is knowing how to live your life with bipolar disorder for yourself too. In an article written by David Leite, he discusses his own troubles with functioning with bipolar disorder and provides key points that have helped him live his life is a normal way, (Leite, 2017). He kept journals, did excessive research and always knew what questions to ask his doctors, (Leite, 2017). He also discusses how sleep, diet and exercise are extremely important and play a critical role in his routine, (Leite, 2017). David felt that once he began sleeping right, eating less sugary junk food and walking daily his episodes we less severe, mostly because having a routine is so important when you are suffering with a mental illness, (Leite, 2017). When David was diagnosed he figured that he would be able to take medication and function normally, once he knew that medicine was only part of the solution he realized how important therapy can be to one with bipolar disorder, (Leite, 2017). Being able to talk to someone who doesn’t know you and can stay unemotional to your case and offer unbiased help is just as important as taking your medication can be, (Leite, 2017). David also thought that being able to find humor in things and laugh is crucial, he felt that laughter at times helped him more than any therapy or medication did, (Leite, 2017).

Bipolar disorder, along with all other mental illnesses, is something that as a society we need to be more supportive and acceptable of. When someone is first diagnosed with bipolar disorder it is a major shock and they are sorting through enough and their main focus should be getting themselves on tract and in a routine. From all the articles I have read a routine is very important to people who have bipolar disorder, or any type of mental illness. People with bipolar disorder need to have good eating habits, a good sleeping routine and even an exercise routine is beneficial. Relationships and a support system is also crucial to your treatment. You need people that are going to be understanding, uplifting, dependable, and positive. You will need to be able to determine which of your relationships are healthy and which are toxic. Having relationships when struggling with an illness like bipolar disorder is difficult and sometimes it might feel like it would be easier if you didn’t have to worry about other people’s feelings, but that is not the case. Having intimate relationships in your life is what is going to help you live a normal life. After doing my research I found many articles on how difficult being with someone who is diagnosed with bipolar disorder can be. Although it can be extremely difficult because of random outbursts and behaviors, it is manageable if you are willing to put in the work. Therapy tends to be the most beneficial to those in a relationship with one of the partners diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, some are born with bipolar disorder and some develop it late in their lives. Bipolar disorder affects your job, relationships, interactions with other and also affects the way that people will look at you. It would be wonderful if as a society we did not judge others based on their mental illness, but sadly that is not the case. People with bipolar disorder or any mental illness will always be looked at and talked about differently, it is how they cope with and handle the situation that matters.

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