Mania, depression, and extreme mood swings are the main characteristics of bipolar disease. Bipolar disorder is a kind of medical condition that falls under the category of depressive disorders. Depressive disorders are known to affect the functions of the human brain. According to study, depressive disorders are rampant in the United States. It was estimated that over 17. 4 million of the adult population are acquiring depressive disorder every year (Sheslow, 2008).
Just like any other depressive disorders, bipolar disease is a condition that affects certain functions of the brain. This is a state where an individual experience unusual shifts in mood, energy, and ability to function well. The disorder goes by various medical terms such as: manic depression, manic –depressive illness, manic-depressive disorder, bipolar mood disorder, and bipolar affective disorder. It was estimated that about 5.
7 million Americans or 2.6% of the entire US population suffer from the said condition (Ketter, 2005). In addition, the condition can be present in both men and women. Although it was recorded that the onset of bipolar disorder can be observed during the early twenties, many researches have proven that at present time, the first episode of the said disorder is occurring much earlier. Specifically, the condition often presents itself during adolescence, and even children can acquire the disease (Packer, 2007).It was even recorded that bipolar disease is most prevalent during early adulthood or late adolescence, starting at the age of 18 onwards (Ketter, 2005). Signs and Symptoms The symptoms of bipolar disorder can be an alternating series of highs, which is also known as mania or the manic phase of the disorder, and lows often called as the depressive episode of the person’s emotional state.
When the person is under the manic phase of the disorder, he or she can experience the following signs and symptoms: increased energy, restlessness and activity, extreme euphoric mood or happiness, excessive irritability, racing thoughts and fast talking, inability to concentrate, little sleep or oversleeping, impaired judgment, spending sprees, increased sexual drive, unrealistic belief about his or her own abilities or power, drug abuse, aggressive behaviors, denial and lasting period of unusual behaviors.A person is said to be undergoing the manic phase of the disorder if he or she presents elevated moods which occur with at least three or more of the given symptoms within most of the day, everyday, for the whole week or longer. If the person’s mood is irritable and four of the given symptoms are present, then the person is more likely to be undergoing the manic phase of the disorder.The moderate level of mania is known as hypomania which may appear as a good feeling to the person and is often associated with productivity. However, if hypomania is not diagnosed and treated properly, it is more likely that hypomania can lead to severe mania or in some cases into depression (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2008).On the other hand, the depressive phase of bipolar disorder can be characterized by the following signs and symptoms: long periods of sad, empty and anxious mood, pessimism and feeling of hopelessness, guilt feelings, loss of interest in different activities which include sex, decreased energy, difficulty in concentrating, decision making and remembering, irritability and restlessness, lack of sleep, or sleeping too much, change in appetite which may result in weight loss or gain, chronic pain which is not associated with any physical illness, suicidal thoughts or attempts.The depressive episode of bipolar disorder can be diagnosed if a person shows five or more of the given symptoms within most of the day which is occurring everyday within two weeks or longer. In addition to this, depression often includes psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions.
The said symptoms are a reflection of extreme states of mood, and it was noted that people suffering from bipolar disorders who experience hallucination and delusion are sometimes incorrectly diagnosed with schizophrenia or other forms of mental illnesses (NIHM, 2008).Types of Bipolar Disorder There are actually two subtypes of bipolar disorder: Bipolar I and Bipolar II disorder. Bipolar I disorder involves at least one manic episode that is with or without previous episodes of depression while bipolar II is described and characterized by at least one major depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode.
In addition to Bipolar I and Bipolar II which are known as the full blown type of the disorder, other types of bipolar disorders also exist: (1) Cyclothymia is said to be a mild form of the disease which is characterized by mood swings.However, such mood swings are now as severe as Bipolar I and Bipola II. (2) Rapid cycling bipolar is diagnosed when four or more of the mood swings are evident within 12 months and the shifting of the mood can occur in a fast paced manner just within hours. (3) Mixed stat bipolar disorder is a combination of the symptoms of depression and mania which often occur at the same time (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2008). Causes Experts and scientists are learning about the different causes of bipolar disorder with the help of different studies and researches.Most experts agree that the cause of bipolar is not due to single reason but many factors that lies within it. Causes can be a variety of genetic, environmental and biochemical factors that is present in the surroundings of an individual. Genes play a significant role in the occurrence of the said disorder.
If the parents or a close relative have bipolar disease, it is more likely that the child will also develop the disorder. However, this does not necessarily mean that the child automatically develop bipolar disorder.Biochemical factor is also one cause because it was observed by some studies that there are physical changes occurring in the brain of an individual which may result to chemical imbalance which affect the brain’s function (NIMH, 2008). Environmental factors should not be discounted in the development of bipolar disorder. For adolescents, stressors such as death of a loved one, divorce, or other traumatic incidents could trigger the onset of mania or depression. Changes during puberty can also play a part in the onset of an episode (Sheslow, 2008).
Bipolar Disorder Among AdolescentsA lot of researches mentioned that bipolar disorder can affect a child and can develop during early adulthood. The onset of bipolar disorder is alarmingly getting earlier and can start before a person reaches the age of 20 years old. A recent study indicated that there is a 40 fold increase in the number of American adolescents below the age of 20 suffering from bipolar disorders from 1994-2003. According to the report, between 1994 and 2003 adolescents who received treatment for bipolar disorder increased from “25 in every 100 000 to 1003 per 100 000” (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2007 cited in Tanne, 2007, p.535).
This is a clear indication that the specified disorder is becoming more prevalent in the adolescent group (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2007 cited in Tanne, 2007, p. 535). The onset of bipolar disorder is said to be related to the increasing rate of alcohol and drug use among young adults. Unlike many adults who have bipolar disorder whose episodes are clearly identified, young adults with bipolar disorder frequently experience very fast mood swings in between the phases of mania or depression.
They are likely to be irritable and are prone to tantrums rather than being euphoric. Presence of different symptoms is also prevalent among young adults with bipolar disorder. Most of the time, it is hard to tell and diagnose young adolescents whether they have bipolar disorder or not because of the different symptoms that can be observed on them that may also indicate other psychological illnesses such as having conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and other types of mental illnesses (NIMH, 2008). Impact of Bipolar Disorder Among AdolescentsFor young people with bipolar disorder, depression often comes first which is later on followed by mania.
The result of this condition is said to be an emotional ride because of the fluctuating moods of the young adult between extreme highs and lows. When an adolescent have to deal between depression and mania, they are more likely to create destructions not only with themselves but in the lives of other people as well. This may range from conflict at homes and disruptions in classrooms and other places (Evans & Andrews, 2005).Because elevated moods are the main symptoms of bipolar disorder, an adolescent may appear quick-changing which could result to misunderstanding among the teenager and the people that he or she deals with. Bipolar disorder and depression is also associated with the onset of sleeping disorders which may impair the ability of the student to wake up early, resulting to frequent absences and lack of concentration specifically during the mornings. Medication for Bipolar disorders were also found out to produce effects such as increased thirst, tremors, change in appetite lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.Moreover, impairment in memory function was also seen among teenagers with bipolar disease which is further exacerbated by the medications taken by the patient (Packer, 2007). Moreover, it has been well indicated that bipolar disorder are associated with other mental illnesses which serve as catalysis for the advent of psychotic symptoms and self destructive behaviors like suicide.
Many psychological data suggested that almost 90% of adolescents or young adults who committed suicide are suffering from psychiatric disorders (Brent et al. , 1988, 1993a; Shaffer et al., 1996 cited in Stein, Kupfer, & Schatzberg, 2005). The presence of mood disorders, most especially those that are considered as major depressive and bipolar associated with substance abuse are the major factors that contribute to the high risk of adolescent suicide. One study indicated that adolescents who committed suicide were believe to have be nine times more likely to be suffering from bipolar disorder compared to those adolescents who does not present any suicidal behavior (Brent, et al. , 1993a, 1999 cited in Stein, Kupfer, & Schatzberg, 2005).
On the lighter side of things, there were evidences that some adolescents suffering from bipolar disease exemplifies high creativeness and the “exuberance” experienced by the young adult during the hypomanic episode of the disorder promotes creativity and productivity (Packer, 2008). Treatments As it is known, bipolar is a recurrent condition which requires a lifelong treatment even if the sufferer feels better in between periods. There is a need for appropriate treatment in order to reduce the frequency and severity of occurrence so that the person having the disorder can live a balanced life.Some of the core treatments for the disorder include medications which are considered as a vital part for treating bipolar disease. Although some of the medications can cause serious side effects and health risks such as the development of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, many patients are still using this form of treatment in order to stabilize their condition. Medications such as mood, stabilizers, anti-seizure medications, antidepressants and other medication which includes antipsychotic medications are the most commonly used treatments for bipolar disorder (NIMH, 2008).
Psychosocial therapy is another core treatment for this disorder. Some forms of psychotherapy such as the “talk therapy” are said to be helpful in giving out help, support, guidance, and education to the patient and their families. Some of the most commonly used psychosocial interventions for bipolar disorder are cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, psycho-education and new techniques known as interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (NIMH, 2008). Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is also used to treat people with bipolar disorder.ECT is designed for people who are undergoing severe depressions with suicidal tendencies or for those sufferers who have undergone other forms of treatments but have not seen any improvements with their conditions. ETC involves procedures wherein electric currents passed through the brain in order to trigger the seizure. Long lasting memory problems are the major concern in the usage of this procedure.
However, it was noted that the said effect has been reduced with the introduction of modern ECT strategy (NIMH, 2008).Finally, hospitalization is considered to be beneficial for some bipolar patients because this enables the sufferers, even full-blown episode of manic or deep depression, to have stabilized moods. Other options also include partial hospitalization and day treatment programs (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2008). Apparently, bipolar disorder is a condition that should not be taken for granted whether it occurs with an adult or an adolescent.
Based from the study, more and more adolescents are now suffering from bipolar condition.As difficult as the situation may appear, there is still no absolute cure for the said condition. However, it is good to know that there is help out there that can guide parents, teachers, and other people surrounding the teen who suffer from bipolar disorder in order to further understand the condition and support the patient in any way. As cliche as it may seem, “knowledge is power,” and it is through proper education regarding the disease that one can fully realize the extent of the condition.By doing so, parents of the adolescent as well as the adolescent themselves will be able to communicate well with the condition which is an important factor in getting the effective treatment for the patient. References Packer, L.
E. (2007, December 8). Bipolar disorder. SchoolBehavior.
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Evans, D. & Andrews, L. (2005). If Your Adolescent Has Depression Or Bipolar Disorder: An Essential Resource for Parents. New York: Oxford University Press.Ketter, T. (2005). Advances in Treatment of Bipolar Disorder.
Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2008, January 4).
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08-3679. Bethesda, MD: National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved December 1, 2008 from http://www. nimh. nih. gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder/nimhbipolar.pdf Sheslow, D.
(2007, January). Bipolar disorder. Kids health. Retrieved December 1, 2008 from http://kidshealth.
org/teen/your_mind/mental_health/bipolar. html. Stein, D. , Kupfer, D. , & Schatzberg, A. (2005). The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Mood Disorders. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
Tanne, J. (2007, September 15). Number of bipolar disorder diagnoses leaps among US young people.
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