Bipolar Affective Disorder
Bipolar affective disorder, formerly known as manic-depressive disorder, has been
identified as a major psychiatric disorder that is characterized by exaggerated mood and behavior
changes, ranging from episodes of high euphoric moods to deep depressions. Persons afflicted
with this disorder typically do not experience mood variability, however their moods are highly
stable at either end of the mood continuum.
The type, severity, and duration of mood disorders vary from person to person. The
mood episodes can last to a few days to as long as several months. Approximately 1 to 2 percent
of the population suffer from this illness, occurring equally in both men and women. The onset
of this disorder is typically displayed around 20 and 29 years of age.
There are two main classifications of bipolar disorder. Bipolar I is diagnosed when a
person has symptoms of manic episodes and has had no depressive episodes in the past.
However, a depressive episode often follows after the first manic episode occurs. Over 90% of
people with Bipolar I experience two or more manic episodes in their lifetime. Bipolar II
patients have a depressed mood followed or preceded by
" People in mixed states alternate their manic and depressive states on a dailybasis for at least a week. Generally, he orshe feels apathetic towards life, even neglecting basic hygiene and normal daily habits. If one parent suffers from manic-depressiveillness, a child has a 12-15 percent risk of suffering from a depressive disorder; if both parentssuffer from manic-depressive illness, the children have a 25 percent chance each of developing adepressive disorder or manic-depressive disorderGenetics can also influence the susceptibility of bipolar disorder by creating apredisposition of a biological chemical imbalance in the brain. The environment can also influence psychological development. Data from family, twin, and adoptionstudies have positively demonstrated that involvement of genetic factors aid in the transmission of bipolar disorder, and the likelihood of family relatives of contracting the same illness. An individual becomes pessimistic, sad,gains a sense of worthlessness, as everyday become problems overwhelming. These antidepressant medications interact withneurotransmitters in order to stabilize the levels of chemicals in the brain, which are the cause ofthe disorder. Theyoften give themselves negative self-evaluations, unrealistic self-blame, and also a sense of guilt. Logical reasoning is considerablyhindered. Along with medication, psychological counseling can help the individual suffering withthis disease to cope with the life management problems created by bipolar disorder. Often, the onset of this chemicalimbalance, which triggers bipolar disorder, is active when stress from puberty, adulthood, orphysical or psychological trauma occurs. One of thestrongest causes has been linked to genetic vulnerabilities. Bipolar affective disorder is a lifetime disease. A variety of medications are used to treat bipolar disorder, however Lithium Carbonate, anaturally occurring element, has been used as the primary treatment.