Bipolar Disorder, Its Types, Symptoms, Treatments


Angst (2013) defines bipolar disorder as “a brain condition that results in usual mood, activity, and energy shifts” (p. 2). The disorder (also given the name Manic-Depressive Illness) makes it impossible for the affected patient to perform his or her day-to-day activities. Psychologists believe that bipolar disorder is a critical condition that can encourage patients to engage in risky behaviors. Sometimes the affected patients might become suicidal. This research paper gives a detailed analysis of the major issues associated with this mental condition.

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Types of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar I Disorder

This condition is characterized by manic episodes that can last for 5-7 days (Goodwin, 2009). Sometimes the episodes might be severe thus calling for adequate medical support and hospitalization. Depressive modes might take a period of two or more weeks (Angst, 2013). The common signs of the disorder include manic symptoms and extended depression.

Bipolar II Disorder

This disorder presents various depressive episodes. Some hypomanic episodes might also occur for a period of 3-5 days (Goodwin, 2009). However, this version of bipolar disorder is less severe. Patients should also be provided with adequate medical support.

Cyclothymic Disorder

This condition is known to portray numerous hypomanic signs and symptoms. Affected patients can be depressed for a very long period. Some symptoms have been recorded for over two years. Children and youths with this type might record such symptoms for over a year (Angst, 2013). The condition does not result in hypomanic episodes.

Unspecified Bipolar

Some depressive conditions might occur but fail to match any of the above three types. Such symptoms are therefore associated with an unspecified bipolar disorder (Goodwin, 2009).

Signs and Symptoms

The above types of bipolar disorder present various signs and symptoms. Proper knowledge of such symptoms is relevant to getting the most desirable care. People with the condition experience changes in sleep, energy levels, emotions, and behaviors (Angst, 2013). The distinct periods characterizing this condition are known as mood episodes (Goodwin, 2009). Individuals having a manic episode will have a lot of energy and sleeping problems. They can also become irritable, think fast, and engage in risky behaviors. A depressive episode will result in energy loss and decreased physical activity. The individual might become hopeless. Many patients become forgetful, tired, and suicidal (Goodwin, 2009). Family members should monitor the presence of mood swings and activity changes. This is necessary because bipolar disorder is associated with complex symptoms that can result in numerous health problems. Lack of effective medication can cause severe depression or mania (Angst, 2013).


Individuals who suspect to have this condition “should consult a licensed mental health professional” (Goodwin, 2009, p. 349). The professional will complete a simple physical exam to diagnose the condition correctly. A mental health evaluation should be conducted in order to come up with positive results. Experienced psychiatrists can also be consulted during the diagnosis process.

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Risk Factors and Causes

Psychiatrists and researchers have been conducting numerous studies in order to understand the possible causes of this condition. Modern scientists believe that several factors cause this psychological problem. The functional processes of the brain might predict the absence or presence of the disorder (Juli, Maria-Rosaria, & Luigi, 2012). Some analysts believe that certain genes in the body might dispose people to this disorder. The condition has also been observed to “run in different families” (Juli et al., 2012, p. 114). This fact explains why children of affected parents have higher chances of developing bipolar disorder.

Management and Treatment

Bipolar disorder is one of the lifelong diseases affecting humanity. Patients should, therefore, have access to long-term and adequate management plans. Several medications have been observed to control most of the symptoms associated with this disorder. The commonly used medicines include “antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and atypical antipsychotics” (Goodwin, 2009, p. 354). Individuals with the condition should get appropriate advice from their caregivers and pharmacists.

Psychotherapy is another useful method used to treat bipolar disorder. This approach provides adequate education, guidance, support, and care to people with bipolar disorder. Multidisciplinary teams can also support the needs of the affected family members. The major approaches used to treat this condition include “psycho-education, family-focused, social rhythm, cognitive-behavioral therapies” (Goodwin, 2009, p. 359).

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is useful when the patient does not respond to the above treatment methods. As well, ECT is appropriate when the targeted patient is pregnant or experiencing other medical problems. However, the approach presents various side effects such as memory lapse, disorientation, and confusion (Juli et al., 2012). Many patients with the condition will have trouble getting enough sleep (Angst, 2013). New medications should be introduced if the patient is unable to sleep.


Statistics indicate that many people have bipolar disorder (Angst, 2013). Affected persons find it hard to have normal lifestyles. The individuals encounter numerous challenges such as sleeplessness, suicidal thoughts, and withdrawal. Proper management practices and therapies can, therefore, support the needs of every patient. Medications should also be introduced in order to improve the lives of the affected patients.

Reference List

Angst, J. (2013). Bipolar Disorders in DSM-5: Strengths, Problems and Perspectives. International Journal of Bipolar Disorders, 1(12), 1-3.

Goodwin, G. (2009). Evidence-based guidelines for treating bipolar disorder: recommendations from the British Association for Psychopharmacology. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 23(4), 346-388.

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Juli, G., Maria-Rosaria, J., & Luigi, J. (2012). Involvement of Genetic Factors in Bipolar Disorders: Current Status. Psychiatria Dambina, 24(1), 112-116.

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