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What is Bipolar Disorder by Judii Tran

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In society today, there is no such thing as normal. What one individual may think of as the norm may be completely odd to another, and this can be due to cultural circumstances, or just because they were raised in different home environments. While one person may be completely happy on the exterior at work or school, they may have problems at home. Aside from problems in the household, many people have to deal with mental disorders that may or may not have been diagnosed due to lack of acknowledgment of symptoms. One disorder that may be mistaken for another disorder, or completely overlooked in general, would be Bipolar Disorder.

Before jumping ahead to symptoms, causes, and treatments of Bipolar Disorder, one must educate themselves on what Bipolar Disorder actually is. An accepted and straightforward definition of Bipolar Disorder, according to WebMD, is a “serious mental illness that is characterized by extreme changes in mood, from mania to depression”. Everyone has good moods and bad moods, that is just part of life. But to distinguish between what is emotionally normal, one would have to look at what would qualify as mania and what would qualify as depression. After figuring out what qualifies for each episode, one would have to try to figure out which type of Bipolar Disorder they have because there are several variations. While this article cannot help someone to self-diagnose their possible Bipolar Disorder, this may be able to help the individual in taking the first step of noticing that something is off and then proceeding to speak to a healthcare professional.

One may be having a manic (high) episode if they are excessively energetic and ridiculously happy. When one is having a manic episode, they may feel as if they are on top of the world, which can lead to reckless spending or grandeur plans that may not typically be thought of. The opposite of a manic episode would be a depression (low) episode. The depression episode has the same symptoms as a person with depression in general. This low episode is identified by sadness, unexplainable crying, change in appetite, and even thoughts or attempts of suicide. Considering the fact that people with Bipolar Disorder undergo both extremes of the emotional gamut (and anywhere in between), one can see why this could be harmful to both the person with this disorder and those individuals surrounding them.

There’s no real cause that has been identified for Bipolar Disorder. As with any disorder, genetics plays its role. Aside from genetics, any type of childhood abuse or trauma, or even exposure to significantly stressful environments over time can lead to the development of this disorder. Another reason why one may have Bipolar Disorder would just be the fact that there is a chemical imbalance present in the brain.

As of yet, there is no certain cure for Bipolar Disorder, but there are many different approaches to treatment. The doctor may prescribe medication for stabilizing one’s moods or to treat the depression episodes. In addition to the medication, they may suggest a form of therapy. Aside from medication, there are also alternative methods of coping with the disorder. One can try a form of therapy, herbal supplements, diet control, or just attempt to have a healthy lifestyle (with exercise, diet control, etc).

Some people with Bipolar Disorder may attempt to cope through self-harm, alcohol abuse, or drug abuse. These are the main mechanisms that people with Bipolar Disorder tend to turn to in an attempt to keep things under control. If one has any of the above-mentioned problems in addition to experiencing extreme mood swings, they may want to contact a health professional for help because the disorder can worsen over time if left untreated. Although Bipolar Disorder can be a scary concept, it can be controlled and improved over time if one has the courage and support to move forward and take the necessary steps to wellness.


Mayo Clinic – http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bipolar-disorder/DS00356/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs

National Institute of Mental Health – http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder/how-is-bipolar-disorder-treated.shtml

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Psychology Today –  http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/bipolar-disorder

WebMD – http://www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/guide/bipolar-disorder-overview-facts





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