Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms, Factors and Treatment


Bipolar disorder is a neuropsychological disorder characterized by changing moods and energy levels that affect the ability of the patients’ memory to function normally. The disorder affects the neurons in the brain, hence causing uncoordinated functions of the same. The effects on the brain depend on the periodic episodes of depression and mania that characterize the disorder. Halgin and Whitbourne explain that manic depression changes the moods of the patient by eliciting fears, affecting rational thoughts, causing great trauma and developing suicidal feelings (183). The disorder disrupts neuropsychological coordination resulting into cognitive impairment, and it occurs in two period episodes viz. mania, and depression. Therefore, what are the symptoms, predisposing factors, and effective treatment plan of bipolar disorder?

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Examination of bipolar disorder in Faces Interactive website shows diagnostic features that entail both manic and depressive episodes. The Faces Interactive website illustrates how intermittent depressive and manic episodes affect neuropsychological functions in patients making them to have abnormal behaviors. During the depressive episode, the patient experiences low mood and loss of interest to the daily activities because of depressed cognitive abilities. The signs and symptoms of the depressive episode include depression, feeling of helplessness, loss of pleasure in activities, fatigue, irritability, sleep disturbance, suicidal feelings, and chronic pain amongst other clinical symptoms.

Kohn argues that severe cases of bipolar disorder result into severe depressive mood pushing the patient into psychosis, hallucinations, and delusions (Para. 2). The state of severe bipolar depression may last for about two weeks to several months in adults but in children, it may take several hours to days. Patients at the depressive episode have low mood and energy to perform usual activities, therefore cognitively experience delusions and hallucinations.

The Faces Interactive website further portrays diagnostic features that the patient experience in manic episode. During the manic episode, the patient experiences high moods with high energy levels in the body that increases the activity leading to psychosis, anxiety, and irritability. The signs and symptoms of the manic episode include increased activity, extreme irritability, high energy levels, little or no sleep, aggressiveness, poor judgment, and distractibility amongst other symptoms. If these signs and symptoms occur daily for a period of two weeks, then the patient is in the manic episode.

The activity of the patient is due to the high energy levels that the body generates. According to Kohn, cognitive impairment results from the high energy levels in the brain that makes patients experiences anxiety, irritability and psychosis as attributes of aggressive behavior (Para. 5). In addition to depressive and manic episodes, patients may experience mixed episodes of bipolar disorder, which severely distorts neuropsychological coordination thus impairing cognitive functions. Based on information from Faces Interactive website, proper diagnosis of bipolar disorder requires consideration of both manic and depressive symptoms.

Predisposing Factors

Based on information from Faces Interactive website, a profile of a person who is likely to be suffering from bipolar disorder should depict manic episodes that can persist for at least a week and occasionally depressive episodes. Scientists have discovered that bipolar disorder occurs due to the combination of several factors. Many scientific studies suggest that the possible causes of bipolar disorder are genetic, environmental, and physiological factors. Additionally, genetic studies have revealed that the patients suffering from bipolar disorder have at least one or more members of their families who had suffered from some other psychiatric condition if not bipolar disorder. Hence, because it is a genetic disorder, individuals in the families with psychotic conditions or bipolar disorder are more predisposed as compared to the general population.

Further scientific studies have proved that environmental conditions can also predispose one to bipolar disorder. Prospective and case studies have revealed that about a third of adult patients with bipolar disorder had traumatic and abusive experiences in their childhood, which predisposed them to develop bipolar disorder. Moreover, Kohn argues that, creative artists like musicians, writers, painters, and actors are susceptible to bipolar disorder as compared the general population (Para.7).

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Hence, interactions of the genetic and environmental conditions influence the susceptibility to the bipolar disorder. Another cause of the bipolar disorder is the physiological condition of the brain due to its structure. Comparative examination of brains shows that the bipolar patients have relatively an abnormal brain structure. The abnormal structure of the brain affects the physiological chemicals that are critical in normal functioning of the brain. For instance, insufficient neurotransmitters and defective neurons contribute to the occurrence of the bipolar disorder.

Interview Review

Analysis of the patients’ interview shows they do understand that they are suffering from the bipolar disorder for they can explain what they experience in both the manic and depressive episodes. For example, in depressive episode, a patient feels depressed, loses pleasure in work or activities, is disturbed in sleep, experiences chronic pain, and develops suicidal feelings. However, according to Faces Interactive website, during manic episode, a patient can experience changing sleep patterns but cannot realize changed behaviour due to symptoms such as increased activity, extreme irritability, high energy levels, belligerence, poor judgment, and distractibility. This shows that a patient feels more normal in the depressive episode than in the manic episode.

Treatment Plan

An effective treatment plan focuses on alleviating the symptoms, preventing occurrence of disorder episodes, and enhancing ability to cope with the symptoms. I agree with current treatment offered to the patient as per Faces Interactive website for it is very effective for it consists of chemotherapy and psychotherapy. Chemotherapy is critical in stabilizing intermittent moods of the disorder, thus alleviating the symptoms and preventing occurrence of the disorder. Psychotherapy and education are imperative in enhancing the awareness of the bipolar disorder for the patients to cope with challenging manic and depressive episodes. Through psychotherapy and education, patients are able to gain lifestyle managements skills of minimizing symptoms of the disorder. Lifestyle management skills such as having regular sleep patterns, exercising consistently, coping with stress, and refraining from drug abuse are very effective in controlling the occurrence of the disorder episodes


Bipolar disorder affects the patient’s memory by disrupting neuronal and psychological coordination in the brain. Poor neuropsychological coordination impairs cognitive functions. The two periodic episodes of bipolar disorder, mania and depression, differentially impair neuropsychological coordination in the brain. During the depressive episode, there is depression of cognitive abilities due to low energy levels and can lead to severe bipolar condition where the patient experiences delusions and hallucinations. In the manic episode, aggressive behavior occurs due to the high energy levels characterized by irritability, anxiety, and psychosis. Therefore, both manic and depressive episodes of bipolar disorder affect neuropsychological coordination causing cognitive impairment.

Works Cited

Halgin, Richard, and Whitbourne, Krauss. Abnormal Psychology: Clinical Perspectives On Psychological Disorders, (6th Ed.) New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010.

Kohn, Arthur. “Bipolar Disorder.” Faces of Abnormal Psychology Interactive, 2007. Web.


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