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Bipolar Disorder: More Than the Ups and Downs of Life

By HERWriter
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Bipolar disorder is known for its ups and downs. But does it go beyond the typical person's up-and-down feelings during life, and how far? This disorder, which is also referred to as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes the characteristic ups and downs, according to the National Institute of Mental Health Web site.

Those who have the disorder may have mood swings and extreme changes in energy and activity levels. This might seem like a severe case of PMS to some, but it’s not. Thankfully there are many treatment options out there, though people can suffer with the disorder throughout a lifetime. Most develop the disorder in late teen years or adulthood, according to NIMH.

There are two parts of bipolar disorder, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness Web site. There is mania and depression. Mania is the more energetic part of bipolar disorder, which includes risk taking, impulsive activities (like sex, shopping and alcohol/drug abuse), quick speech and thoughts, superior strength and brain activity, sleep deprivation with no fatigue, etc.

Besides mania, there is the depression aspect of bipolar disorder. This includes the common symptoms of lack of energy, fatigue, inconsistent sleeping patterns, feelings of loss and uselessness, suicidal thoughts, irritability, guilt, lack of concentration and decreased interest in previously enjoyable activities, among other symptoms.

The mania and depression phase of bipolar disorder can either happen separately or together. When the phases happen together, this is called a mixed state. That is where the popular definition of bipolar disorder stems from.

There are four types of bipolar disorder, according to www.kidshealth.org. These four types are Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Cyclothymic Disorder or Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. The sad thing is that many people with bipolar disorder are not diagnosed properly or are never treated, according to the Web site.

Before diagnosing a patient, doctors need to be completely sure that they are treating a patient for the correct mental illness. If not, symptoms can get worse. This is just like when a person is treated for one disease but really has a different disease. Obviously, the results would not be satisfactory.

If you think you exhibit several of the above symptoms, see a doctor ASAP to talk about a possible diagnosis. It’s better to find out now than suffer unnecessarily for many years, as there are medications and counseling available for those with bipolar disorder, which can allow those who suffer to live a fuller life.


Add a Comment32 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Some of the Bipolar disorder symptoms includes loss of energy, excessive negative self-talk, feeling of worthlessness, confusion and inability to concentrate, difficulty in making decisions, loss of appetite, persistent thoughts of death or dying or suicidal thoughts, etc.

April 3, 2011 - 10:28pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have bipolar, currently treated. This all sounds accurate.

June 30, 2010 - 8:41pm
EmpowHER Guest

Ah yes... Bi - polar, another way of excusing lack of self control. Seems like there are a lot of "medical" reasons out there that allow one to escape the consequences of bad or idiotic behavior. I'd like to see more acceptance of responsibility and less of the blame game.

June 1, 2010 - 11:30am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I am sure your not a moron, although reading your statement I am inclined to think you lump everything into black or white especially medical situations in which you appear to have no insight.

Although there certainly are people who will use bi polar disorder as an excuse for bad behavior (even if they are not), it is a lifelong burden a currently incurable disease that causes 20% of those afflicted to commit suicide. I am bi polar, never use it for an excuse and wish I was never subject to the bouts of severe depression that accompany it.

Perhaps you should learn more about the illness.

June 1, 2010 - 4:52pm
EmpowHER Guest

horrid to have to live with x just wish people could understand me =[

May 13, 2010 - 2:45am
EmpowHER Guest

i think id rather just go through life not knowing than being diagnosed as mentally ill. i think that would put an even bigger strain on an already unstable psyche

February 2, 2010 - 5:15pm
EmpowHER Guest

About your article “Bipolar Disorder: More Than the Ups and Downs of Life”
You are going to school for journalism and take a special interest in health and science. May I suggest a few changes that will make your paper sound more professional?

Pg. 1, Para 6; When you state, "The sad thing is that..."
Perhaps you can change it to, "Statistics show..."

Pg. 2 Para 2; Instead of using the word think, maybe try believe.

Pg. 2 Para 2; Perhaps you can spell out ASAP instead of abbreviating it.

Hope I helped.
- Angel

January 31, 2010 - 3:11pm
EmpowHER Guest

Of course a person should try to improve how they deal with the world. I think those suggestions are all useful and appropriate suggestions. Just based on my experience though I think finding a good psychiatrist who has insight into the disorder can be useful. As an example although I am not one 20 % of those afflicted find complete relief via the drug Lithium. It does require blood monitoring. It is not talked about much because it is cheap and generic, so no ads for this.

January 19, 2010 - 8:24pm
EmpowHER Guest

If you have this kind of problem in your life honestly you shouldn't need a magazine article or an advertisement to tell you what it is, just a friend at most, if you haven't noticed yourself. After realizing you have such a problem, it obviously should be treated, sure. But by drugs, necessarily? It's not like your body has some chemical imbalance resulting from an at all scientifically understood physical disability. That the imbalance is even "unnatural" in the sense that it's the result of an improperly functioning body or brain, is purely theory, and is only held by Some doctors anyway...... Others believe that any changes in your chemistry that may be observed are a regular accompaniment to changes in your emotions, which in turn are the regular result of your exposure to life experience. Different people learn different ways of looking at the world and, with that, different ways of responding emotionally. As with anything learned, misunderstandings can occur. Instead of subjecting yourself to drug-induced zombification that your likely corporate-owned doctor sees fit to diagnose you, believing that at least that way you can Control your disfunctionallity, even if you have to live with it and pay money for it for the rest of your life; there is another option...... You can consult a professional psycho-analyst to help you figure out where in your outlook you may have been going wrong, with inapproriate emotions resulting. If you believe in anger-management, if you believe in trauma recovery assistance, if you believe that sometimes people develope destructive patterns in their ways of thinking without realizing it and could use some help sorting through that, there's no reason why bi-polar disorder, especially mild cases, can't be explained and dealt with in the same way. Actually Dealing with your problems instead of burying them with a drug psychosis is hard work. But it might be worth it.

January 18, 2010 - 3:09pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Well, I look at it this way. I take my lithium and I don't lose control of myself and sleep with everyone in sight (male or female), wind up in other states without knowing how I got there, spending every penny I can get my hand on, self mutilating and drinking myself half to death. I don't take my lithium and all those things, plus others, happen.

I take my lithium and I hold down a job, maintain a marriage, act as a responsible parent and contributing member of society.

I use many, many tools to manage my manic depression - medication is only one of them - but medication is an important one and sometime I won't let go of.

January 19, 2010 - 8:21pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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