What Is Bipolar Disorder?
“What a creature of strange moods [Winston Churchill] is - always at the top of the wheel of confidence or at the bottom of an intense depression,” once said William Maxwell "Max" Aitken. Bipolar disorder is a chemical imbalance in the brain that has yet to be unraveled; it causes many mood swings that can happen at a moment’s notice without a word. With many mental illnesses in order to diagnose them it takes time and observation with a health care provider. Treatment is also an aspect that takes planning and reflection mostly on how the patient feels in reaction to the medication that they are taking and other forms of ...view middle of the document...
There are many ways that bipolar disorder affects a person, but two generalized ways are called mania and depression. Depression is the worst one of all; this can cause thoughts of suicide, hopelessness, anxiety, guilt, sleep problems, low appetite and fatigue. There are many more symptoms associated with depression and bipolar disorder; many of these affect the way that the person works and acts around family and friends. Mania is the other side of the spectrum; this can lead to racing thoughts, poor judgment, aggressive behavior, increased sex drive, declined need of sleep, unfocused, and euphoria. Difficult episodes of mania or depression can lead to psychosis, a disconnection from realism. “Emerging evidence from classical and molecular genetics suggests that the division between both unipolar depression and bipolar disorder and between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia is likely to be over lapping” (Rediscovering the Bipolar Spectrum, 2011, p. 169)
As stated earlier there are a number of symptoms for bipolar disorder, this is why it is a difficult disease to diagnose. On the other hand these symptoms are not as clear cut in children. They could experience most of the previously stated symptoms all in one day; they could go for hour as happy as could be and then all of the sudden turn around and have bouts of crying and anger. In order to diagnose bipolar disorder there are a few test that a primary care physician will do first. The physician starts with a physical exam and lab tests ran on blood and possibly urine. The lab tests help to rule out any other feasible problems that may be causing the symptoms before diagnosing bipolar disorder. Physicians also use what is called the manual for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) (The Mayo Clinic Staff, 2012). Mood charting is another good way that physicians are able to diagnosed bipolar disorder; by keeping track of the patient’s mood changes and sleep this helps them as a team to find the best treatment options.
Bipolar disorder requires ongoing treatment even at times when the patient is feeling better. Most commonly bipolar disorder patients have treatment teams that consist of primary physician, psychologist, and psychiatric nurses; all of these parties work with the patient as a team to find the best method of treatment. Commonly treatment will start out with medication, depending on the severity of the disorder. The most common medications used in treating bipolar disorder are Lithium, Anticonvulsants, Antipsychotics, and Symbyax. Lithium is applicable in stabilizing moods and averting the highs and lows of bipolar disorder. Recurring blood tests are required, since some side effects of lithium are thyroid and kidney problems; as well as restlessness, dry mouth and digestive issues. Approximately 20% of bipolar patients require treatment by using a standard antidepressant (The Treatment of Bipolar Depression, 2000). Anticonvulsants may be helpful in...