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Bipolar Disorder in Medical and Societal Views


Bipolar disorder is a type of mental disease, which predetermines the extreme change in mood from depression to manically exalted mood. Although for a long time, bipolar disorder was not recognized or treated, it is under special consideration of therapists today, considering how destructive it can be for the patients. Both periods of excavated mood and depression can be dangerous, which is why patients need continuous medical attention and treatment. It is proved that there is uniformity among the patients with bipolar disorder “in clinical correlates, suicidal behavior, and comorbidity across each diagnostic category provide evidence for the validity of the concept of bipolar disorder” (Merikangas et al., 2011, p. 241).

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However, it is important to point out the fact that there are still some problems regarding the approaches to the treatment of the bipolar disorder, as well as its recognition and lack of proper attention to the disorder in developing countries. For that reason, the objective of this research paper is to analyze the symptoms, causes, and ways of diagnosing bipolar disorder from different points of view, to investigate periods and episodes of bipolar disorder, and to explore the practice of its treatment and management. The paper is also to examine the societal attitude and prognosis of bipolar disorder.

Symptoms, causes, and diagnosis of bipolar disorder

The main first indication of bipolar disorder is at least one episode of either depression or mania that is then followed by another episode or intermission (Miklowitz, 2010). While depression by itself is a separate condition, an episode of mania often shows a linkage to bipolar disorder. It is also important to emphasize that the level of how severe an episode of mania manifests itself varies from one case of bipolar disorder to another. Of course, the main features of such conditions are increased productivity, high level of energy, and impulsiveness. However, those features are usually quite noticeable because their intensity changes the behavior of the patient drastically. Equally important is the fact that such an impulsive and hyper-energetic behavior is accompanied by the lack of judgment in the patient’s decision and actions, if not the distorted perception of the events (Miklowitz, 2010). As the episode of mania develops and reaches its peak, some biological mechanisms in the mind of a patient slowly switch the condition to either an episode of depression or an intermission between them. Nevertheless, on the basis of one manic episode, an especially severe one, bipolar disorder can often be diagnosed.

There are different opinions on the cause of bipolar disorder, but overall precise mechanisms or reasons for the disorder itself remain uncertain. However, the theories that are trying to interpret the causes of bipolar disorder vary from genetic to purely environmental (Purcell et al., 2009).

First of all, the very fact that the switch mechanism between depression and mania are unknown implies, in some ways, that it is a genetic phenomenon, otherwise, it would have been understood (Purcell et al., 2009). On the other hand, there is the lack of genetic evidence, which is why a considerable number of researchers support the idea that the causes of bipolar disorder can be associated with either the environment in which individual lives and functions or the psychological background, including the influences in family, childhood, etc.

Types of bipolar disorder

Alongside the already mentioned periods of depression and mania, it is also paramount to note that bipolar disorder can be of different types, including bipolar type I disorder (BP-I) that has one or more mania episodes, bipolar type II disorder (BP-II), in which depression episodes prevail, and sub-threshold bipolar disorder that has an irregular cycle of episodes (Miklowitz, 2010).

Overall, In terms which type of disorder prevails, aggregated lifetime prevalences constitute “0.6% for bipolar type I disorder (BP-I), 0.4% for BP-II, 1.4% for sub-threshold BP, and 2.4% for BPS, twelve-month prevalences were 0.4% for BP-I, 0.3% for BP-II, 0.8% for subthreshold BP, and 1.5% for BPS” (Merikangas et al., 2011, p. 247).

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Prevention and management of the bipolar disorder

From the perspective of the psychological approach to bipolar disorder, the best way of preventing the development of it is to manage stress levels, especially in children. However, despite the fact that those who support various approaches related to genetically do not recognize stress as a cause of the bipolar disorder, they also admit that stress makes individuals more vulnerable to any mental illness, including bipolar disorder.

Although mental illnesses started to receive more attention both from the governments and researchers, it is hard to deny the fact that”treatment needs for BPS are often unmet, particularly in low-income countries” (Merikangas et al., 2011, p. 241).

The basic treatment, from any perspective of defining the bipolar disorder, is mood stabilizers that help the patients to go through both mania and depression episodes. Nurses can also assist in recognizing bipolar disorder during patient screening.


Overall, there are different opinions on the cause of bipolar disorder, but overall precise mechanisms or reasons for the disorder itself remain tentative. However, considering the dangers of it, it is important to attend to careful recognition and management of bipolar disorder on every level.


Merikangas, K. R., Jin, R., He, J. P., Kessler, R. C., Lee, S., Sampson, N. A.,… & Ladea, M. (2011). Prevalence and Correlates of Bipolar Spectrum Disorder in the World Mental Health Survey Initiative. Archives of General Psychiatry, 68(3), 241-251.

Miklowitz, D. J. (2010). Bipolar Disorder: A Family-Focused Treatment Approach. New York, New York: Guilford Press.

Purcell, S. M., Wray, N. R., Stone, J. L., Visscher, P. M., O’Donovan, M. C., Sullivan, P. F.,… & O’Dushlaine, C. T. (2009). Common Polygenic Variation Contributes to Risk of Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. Nature, 460 (7256), 748-752.

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