Bipolar Disorder and Its Three Types

Name of the Disorder

Angst (2013) defines bipolar disorder as “a brain condition that causes unusual changes in activity levels, energy, and moods” (p. 1). Some psychologists call this condition manic-depressive disease (McCormick, Murray, & McNew, 2015). The bipolar disorder condition is usually characterized by mood swings. The patient will experience periods of both mania and depression. These shifting moods explain why the condition is given this name. The outstanding fact about bipolar disorder is that the patient will “experience moods that shift from one extreme to the other” (McCormick et al., 2015, p. 531). On one side, the patient will feel depressed or unhappy. The other extreme is characterized by overactive feelings or episodes. Such periods are known as hypomanic episodes.

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Criteria for Diagnosis

Physicians and psychologists can use several methods to diagnose individuals who are suspected to have bipolar disorder. The first common method is completing a physical exam (Angst, 2013). The exam is characterized of lab tests to examine if there are medical conditions causing the experienced symptoms. The second diagnostic approach entails the use of a psychiatric assessment. The psychiatrist will ask several questions in order to understand the patient’s behavioral patterns, feelings, expectations, and thoughts (Poon, Sim, Sum, Kuswanto, & Baldessarini, 2012). A self-assessment questionnaire is usually used to assess the individual’s health status. Mood charting has been embraced by many physicians to diagnose the condition. The chart targets specific symptoms such as mood changes, interaction with other people, and sleep patterns (Angst, 2013). The other common approach is the use of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The psychiatrist will have to compare the patient’s symptoms with the established criterion for the condition.

History of Bipolar Disorder

For very many years, the disease known as bipolar disorder remained undefined in the world. The first scientist to identify and describe this disease was Jean-Pierre Falret in the year 1851. The psychiatrist described a condition known as circular insanity (Poon et al., 2012). The condition was associated with manic excitement and long-term depression. Falret was also keen to argue that the condition was linked to people’s genetic compositions. Emil Kraepelin is another scholar who studied the nature of mental conditions. He argued clearly that biological factors were responsible for different mental diseases. The current name was coined by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in the year 1980. The APA defined “bipolar as the two sides or poles of depression and mania” (Angst, 2013, p. 2).


Bipolar disorder is one of the mental conditions that have always puzzled many psychiatrists (Juli, Maria-Rosaria, & Luigi, 2012). This is the case because the causes of the condition still remain a mystery. However, some potential causes have been outlined by scholars. Some physical experiences or changes in the human brain can result in the condition. However, the manner in which such changes occur is unknown. Genetics have also been observed to be a major cause of the condition (Poon et al., 2012). This happens to be the case because the disorder has been observed in different families.

Signs and Symptoms

Some of the common symptoms associated with this condition include mood swings, changes in behaviors and emotions, and depression (Angst, 2013). It should be observed that the patient might experience distinct periods or episodes. Such periods are usually given “the term mood episodes” (Poon et al., 2012, p. 580). Manic episodes are usually characterized by sleeping disorders and excessive energies. They can engage in unhealthy or harmful behaviors. Depressive episodes, on the other hand, are associated with disinterest, energy loss, and lack of morale. More often than not, the individual might become unhappy, suicidal, forgetful, or disoriented. This analysis shows clearly that bipolar disorder is a serious mental condition.

Different Types

There are a number of conditions categorized as bipolar disorder (Angst, 2013). The first one is given the name bipolar I disorder. This kind of condition is distinctive because of the nature of manic episodes. Juli et al. (2012) argue that the condition can result in manic episodes that can last for over six days. The patient might experience depressive moods for over two weeks. Depression is extended and can result in numerous health challenges. Bipolar II disorder is associated with depressive periods or episodes (Poon et al., 2012). Hypomanic episodes might last for 3 to 5 days. Experts believe strongly that this type of bipolar disorder is not severe.

Clyclothymic disorder is the third type and is associated with complex hypomanic symptoms. The patients might remain depressed for several years. This condition affects more youths and underage children. The last type of bipolar is unclassified in nature. Psychologists have argued that there are some manic and depressive symptoms that fail to match each of the mentioned three types (Juli et al., 2012). Such conditions might include depressions and manic behaviors that might occur for prolonged periods or disappear immediately. These symptoms explain clearly that there is an unspecified condition that should be studied further by psychiatrists.

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Angst (2013) indicates clearly that bipolar disorder is a terminal health condition. However, patients can use various medications to control mood swings. By so doing, the patient will be able to overcome the signs associated with this condition. Patients can also engage in different activities such as exercises. Such measures can make it easier for “more patients to manage lows and highs” (Angst, 2013, p. 2).

Treatment Plans

The treatment methods used to deal with bipolar disorder should have both long-term and short-term goals. This should be the case because of the nature of this health condition. The condition is usually terminal in nature and must be addressed using sustainable approaches. The first approach revolves around the use of proper medications. Such drugs will ensure short-term symptoms such as mood changes are prevented. Some of the common drugs used “to produce positive results include antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers” (Juli et al., 2012, p. 114). These treatment measures can therefore be used to deliver both long-term and short-term results.

How to Overcome the Disorder

Many psychiatrists believe strongly that the nature of bipolar disorder explains why it is hard to deal with. This is the case because the methods used to deal with the disease cannot treat it permanently. That being the case, affected people should consider several options in order to ensure the disease does not affect their lives (McCormick et al., 2015). The first approach is the use of appropriate medicines to overcome various signs such as mood swings and depression. Therapies should be available to different patients depending on the nature of their disorders. Family members should be ready to provide the required support to their patients (Geddes & Miklowitz, 2013). Therapies should also be embraced in order to deliver long-term results. When these measures are considered, the individual will definitely overcome the condition and lead a better life.

Parenting Skills

Parents who have a child with this condition can become stressed or depressed. However, the parents should acknowledge the fact that the targeted child will not behave in a normal manner. That being the case, the parents should consider various strategies and skills in order to record positive outcomes. The first one is ensuring that the child is involved in regular duties or activities (McCormick et al., 2015). This kind of predictability will make it easier for them to deal with stress. They chidlren can be soothed whenever they become stressed. A mood log should be kept in order to identify the major triggers and events that can affect the child’s health outcome. Parents should use their competencies to minimize conflicts in the family. These measures will ensure the moods of the child are stabilized (Angst, 2013). The strengths of the targeted child should be used to promote appropriate activities and tasks. This approach will make it easier for the child to embrace the best actions and decisions. A crisis intervention strategy should be designed in order to address the challenges that might affect the child.

Evidence-Based Therapies

The best long-term strategy that can be used to deal with bipolar disorder revolves around the use of psychotherapy. This medical intervention strategy encourages the targeted patients to adjust accordingly. The acquired support, guidance, and care can make it easier for the patients to lead healthy lives. In order to produce positive results, physicians can embrace the use of multidisciplinary teams. Such teams will be able to offer adequate care and support to the patients. Some of the best approaches for effective psychotherapy include “behavioral changes, psycho education, and family support” (Geddes & Miklowitz, 2013, p. 1675).

Some patients might not respond positively to the selected drugs or psychotherapies. Physicians encourage such patients to embrace the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). This kind of therapy can be appropriate for patients who have other health problems. The intervention is also appropriate for expectant women (McCormick et al., 2015). The therapy can be combined with various medicines in order to produce positive results.


This discussion shows conclusively that bipolar disorder is a major condition affecting many people in different parts of the world. Individuals who have this mental condition will find it hard to lead normal lives. Some of the common challenges associated with bipolar disorder include withdrawal, depression, sleeplessness, and maniac episodes. Some patients might experience suicidal thoughts or engage in harmful practices (Geddes & Miklowitz, 2013). The most important thing is to come up with sustainable approaches to deal with this condition. Parents, family members, psychiatrists, and physicians should form multidisciplinary teams in order to ensure the needs of the targeted patients are met (McCormick et al., 2015). Adequate parenting skills can ensure the affected chidlren lead quality lives and eventually realize their objectives.

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Angst, J. (2013). Bipolar disorders in DSM-5: Strengths, problems and perspectives. International Journal of Bipolar Disorders, 1(12), 1-3. Web.

Geddes, J., & Miklowitz, D. (2013). Treatment of bipolar disorder. The Lancet, 381(9878), 1672-1682. Web.

Juli, G., Maria-Rosaria, J., & Luigi, J. (2012). Involvement of genetic factors in bipolar disorders: Current status. Psychiatria Dambina, 24(1), 112-116. Web.

McCormick, U., Murray, B., & McNew, B. (2015). Diagnosis and treatment of patients with bipolar disorder: A review for advanced practice nurses. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 27(9), 530-542. Web.

Poon, S., Sim, K., Sum, M., Kuswanto, C., & Baldessarini, R. (2012). Evidence-based options for treatment-resistant adult bipolar disorder patients. Bipolar Disorders, 14(1), 573-584. Web.

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