The mental health of a person is a significant concern as it affects well-being, position in the society, and socialization. At the same time, it is an extremely complex issue as multiple factors influence the work of the brain, behavior, and personality of individuals. People face the risk of acquiring mental disorders that might precondition the deterioration in the quality of their lives and complicate communication with others.
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The severity of these illnesses differs regarding symptoms and changes that emerge; however, they remain a topical problem for the modern healthcare sector as due to the high level of stress and the increased tempo of life, the number of mental disorders increases every year. Bipolar disorder, as one of the complex mental diseases, causes some changes in people’s behavior and might complicate their socialization.
Bipolar disorder is one of the common problems related to the sphere of mental health. It can be determined as a specific state characterized by the emergence of unusual shifts in mood, energy, concentration, activity levels of a person, or his/her inability to carry routine tasks (Harrison et al., 2016). The incidence of these symptoms differs because there is no estimated periodicity in the frequency of emotional swings (Harrison et al., 2016). Additionally, there are three types of bipolar disorder regarding the symptoms, their complexity, and moods range:
- Bipolar I disorder is characterized by manic episodes and severe symptoms lasting at least seven days and preconditioning the need for the patient’s hospitalization (Harrison et al., 2016).
- Bipolar II disorder is associated with the occurrence of depressive episodes without manic periods that are linked to the first type (Harrison et al., 2016).
- Cyclothymic disorder is defined by periodical hypomanic and depressive symptoms that might last for two years and longer (Harrison et al., 2016).
In such a way, that the given mental health problem might cause substantial harm to a person and his/her relations with other people.
Diagnosing bipolar disorder is a complicated process because of the diversity of symptoms and the inability to confirm the existence of mental illness if distinct signs are absent at the moment. For this reason, in the majority of cases, a combined approach presupposing several assessments and tools is used. First of all, a specialist has to perform a physical examination or lab testing to ensure that there are no other problems that might cause similar symptoms (Harrison et al., 2016).
If there are no signs of another illness, a psychiatric assessment should be performed. In includes consultation with a psychiatrist, discussion of feelings, behavioral patterns, and changes in mood that impact a patient (Harrison et al., 2016). Family members can also help to diagnose bipolar disorder by providing information about a person and his/her symptoms. Finally, there are specific criteria for diagnosing this disease offered by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) that should be employed to make the final diagnosis (Harrison et al., 2016). Resting on the given information, a specialist can confirm the existence of the discussed disease in a patient.
Managing bipolar disorder, it is vital to stabilize the state of a patient and minimize the severity of emotional swings. For this reason, a standardized approach to treating the illness presupposes the use of certain medications, such as mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants (Goodwin et al., 2016). Usually, the combination of a mood-stabilizing drug and atypical antipsychotic is recommended as their positive effects on patients with bipolar disorder is proven (Goodwin et al., 2016). The frequently prescribed medicines include lithium carbonate (Lithobid) and valproic acid (Depakote) as they are effective in reducing mania, prevent recurrence of negative symptoms, and help the patient to perform daily activities (Goodwin et al., 2016). In some cases, antidepressants can also be prescribed.
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Other Types of Treatment
The pharmaceutical treatment mentioned above should be combined with psychotherapy that helps to reduce anxiety and supports patients in their struggle against the disease. It might presuppose the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy that can educate patients about their condition and how to cope with all symptoms and negative thoughts associated with them. Today, there is also a new approach called interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) that is designed specifically for patients with bipolar disorder (Harrison et al., 2016). It cultivates better management of patients’ moods by enhancing their understanding of biological and social rhythms (Harrison et al., 2016). The use of these methods can help to support a person and decrease the incidence rates.
Unfortunately, regardless of the existence of various approaches to dealing with bipolar disorder, it remains a complex disease. For this reason, it requires lifelong treatment and observation of a specific plan created by specialists to manage symptoms and improve the quality of their lives. The outcomes for people with bipolar disorder might vary, but it is possible to achieve a significant reduction in the severity of symptoms and minimize the number of manic episodes (Del Mar Bonnin et al., 2019). In such a way, the majority of signs that emerged because of the diseases are treatable, and patients might benefit from their improved management.
Impact on Life, Relations, Socialization, and Employment
Mental health is fundamental for people, which means that diseases related to this field might significantly reduce the quality of life and precondition the emergence of multiple problems with socialization. Patients with bipolar disorder might often have emotional distress because of guilt related to mood swings or the inability to control their emotions. They might also experience problems with building new relations or finding a partner (Del Mar Bonnin et al., 2019).
Families might also experience anxiety, fear, or depression because of the need to deal with dangerous or unusual behaviors and changes in regular activities (Myers & DeWall, 2018). However, additional education, combined with an effective treatment plan, might reduce the negative impact of symptoms and help patients and their families to maintain sound relations.
Employment is another common problem for people with mental illnesses. The existing evidence shows that the bigger part of patients with bipolar disorder are unemployed or work only part-time (Del Mar Bonnin et al., 2019). It happens because of difficulties associated with the disease, such as absenteeism from work or inability to perform some functions because of the changes in mood (Del Mar Bonnin et al., 2019).
Effective treatment supported by psychotherapy can help to reduce symptoms and provide patients with the chance to find a job, which is crucial for their functional recovery and socialization (Del Mar Bonnin et al., 2019). In such a way, there are barriers to gainful employment, but they can be overcome by appropriate treatment and cooperation with employers.
Altogether, bipolar disorder is a complex mental illness that preconditions changes in mood, emotional swings, and the emergence of manic episodes. Patients might suffer from the inability to control their emotions, socialize, and deterioration of relations with family or life partners. Their states can be improved by using medications that help to manage symptoms and avoid worsening of the situation. However, bipolar disorder remains a serious issue that might deprive a person of a chance to find a good job or enjoy the high quality of life.
Goodwin, G., Haddad, P., Ferrier, I., Aronson, J., Barnes, T., Cipriani, A., … Young, H. (2016). Evidence-based guidelines for treating bipolar disorder: revised third edition Recommendations from the British Association for Psychopharmacology. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 30(6), 495-553. Web.
Harrison, P., Cipriani, A., Harmer, C., Nobre, A., Saunders, K., Goodwin, G., & Geddes, J. (2016). Innovative approaches to bipolar disorder and its treatment. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1366(1), 76-89. Web.
Myers, D., & DeWall, N. (2018). Exploring psychology (11th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.
Del Mar Bonnin, C., Reinares, M., Martinez-Aran, A., Jimenez, E., Sanchez-Moreno, J., Sole, B., …Vieta, E. (2019). Improving functioning, quality of life, and well-being in patients with bipolar disorder. The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 22(8), 467-477. Web.