Bi-Polar Article Review


The article that I choose was created by Himanshu P Upadhyaya and Mary C Fields and talked about bipolar disorder. I choose this article because I have a relative that suffered has suffered from bipolar disorder for many years. I really wanted to learn more about this disorder so if possible I can better assist my relative. I believe this disorder is something that is a lot more common than what people think and it really has the potential to disrupt your life unless you get a handle on it.

The authors begin by giving a quick background of this disorder. They say that bipolar disorder is a mood of disorder in which feelings, thoughts, behaviors, and perceptions are altered in the contest of episodes of mania and depression. Bipolar disorder was previously known as mania disorder and was rarely thought to have occurred in youth. However with new research they say it’s now thought that 20% of cases start to occur in adolescence. The disorder is not distinguished differently in the diagnosis process whether it is a child or adult. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) uses universal symptoms to define the diagnostic criteria for mood episodes, including major depression and manic episodes. They say that type one bipolar disorder is defined as one true manic episode with or without psychotic features is the necessary and sufficient criterion. Type II bipolar disorder is diagnosed on the basis of at least one hypomania episode. Therefore, bipolar disorders are viewed as having a spectrum of symptoms that range from mild hypomania to the most extreme mania, which has the potential to including life threatening behaviors.

The symptoms of this disease can include everything from an abnormal, often expansive and elevated mood lasting for at least 1 week, to a decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts or a sense that thoughts are out of control, rapid and often pressured speech, hyper sexuality, reckless behaviors and risk taking and more. In addition, increased risk taking has the potential to involve physical, emotional, or financial endangerment. Therefore the author says that a person’s financial accounts, or important relationships may be in such a disarray as to lead to adverse outcomes, including the loss if important family and friends, serious financial setbacks, job losses, legal problems, and the possibility of becoming homeless.

Most patients with bipolar disorder present in early adulthood at the ages of 20-30 years old. The second most common age group is 15-19 years old. In distinction to Kraepelin’s report that 38% of his patients had an onset when they were younger than 20 years, the most recent estimates are that 20-30% of youths in whom a major depressive disorder previously diagnosed develop symptoms consistent with a manic state or at a later age. Therefore an adolescent or child who initially presents with depression may have a hidden bipolar disorder that becomes apparent later in life. During diagnosis it’s also important to examine the immediate family to the patient. Genetic and family factors have a profound influence on the appearance of bipolar disorder. Chang and colleagues in 2000 reported that children who have at least one biological parent with bipolar disorder have increased psychopathology.

At this time, there is no lab study that can be used to simply diagnose this disorder. Therefore doctors must be extremely careful and must consider everything before making an evaluation. The need first step in evaluating a person for this disorder to make sure that no other medical condition, or medical prescription is causing the mood or thought disturbance. I personally have heard on several occasions where a patient was miss-diagnosed and was mistaken to have bipolar disorder when in fact it was another prescription that they were on, was the cause of the disturbance. The next step in potentially diagnosing someone with bipolar disorder is to perform a physical exam, and then gather information from family friends and perhaps other physicians to whom the patient has known. The disturbance may be caused by a physical health problem or by a mental health problem that was brought up upon by recent events in ones’ life. Other tests are also done to ensure proper diagnosis is followed. Finally the authors say that numerous studies have been done to determine if, if any link between the disorder and cognitive neuro-developmental factors are also seen in the development of bipolar disorder.

In recap, bipolar disorder can be a very life threatening disorder. It’s also very hard at times to diagnose, and everything in the patient’s life must be considered before being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It’s a disease that has the potential to be very crippling on ones’ life as well as family. While I was looking for a more reactive approach to treating family with this disorder, it was very interesting to learn how they diagnose bipolar disease and what steps are involved in it.

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