Bipolar Disorder – Signs and Symptoms
Bipolar Disorder is a psychological aberration which may become a psychosis. It is characterized by alternating or concurrent periods of extreme manic obsession and just as intense depression. Hence, this psychological peculiarity is also known as “manic-depressive” disorder.
The fervid and depressed conditions may occur simultaneously in which case the individual suffering from this affliction displays abnormal emotional arousal, irritability or elevation of energy levels along with extreme despondency. In other instances, the nervous hyperactivity and depression occur over longer intervals and at alternating periods. While these extreme highs and lows may be interrupted by periods of normalcy in between, there are times when the abnormal states persist with no period of emotional stability intervening. Such extremes very frequently are indicative of emotional and mental breakdown and should be alleviated by medication or sessions with the psychiatrist.
A spectral graph representing the various kinds and intensities of bipolar disorder is called the bipolar spectrum. Not all levels in the spectrum will display all the symptoms of bipolar disorder. The three levels in the spectrum which manifest most, if not all symptoms of the disorder are bipolar I, bipolar II and cyclothymia.
The prevalence of a disease is measured by dividing the total count of instances by the total population in a given locality. In the United States, the prevalence of lifetime bipolar I cases is 1% and that for both lifetime bipolar II and cyclothymia is from .5 -1 %. Cases that do not manifest all of the known symptoms of the disease are called subthreshold cases and their prevalence is from 2-5%.
Bipolar disorder is usually diagnosed with full symptoms during late adolescence or early adulthood. The basis of the diagnosis is derived from the complaints of the patient and reinforced by clinical observation. The periods of abnormal emotional highs and lows can very often result in mental and physical breakdown, culminating occasionally in attempts to commit suicide during one of the periods of extreme abjection.
While in many cases, the “manic-depressive” states tend to ravage the patient emotionally and physically, in some cases the disorder produces extreme creativity, positive responses to challenges and attainment of goals. In other instances, both creativity and a tendency to fatal melancholy is present. This is clearly indicative of the possibility that many creative people have had bipolar disorder.
The state of abjection is characterized by guilt feelings, loneliness, anxiety, the sense of uselessness and loss of hope, lack of enthusiasm, loss of appetite and physical languor, suicidal desires and eventually some form psychosis.
The manic states are indicated by emotional elevation and irritability, hypersensitivity, hyperactivity and extravagance in speech and manner. The person feels energetic, elated and doesn’t sleep, attention span is short and the patient is easily distracted. The patient behaves in an unusual fashion and may sometimes resort to drugs and alcohol to try to alleviate his condition. During such episodes, the person may also begin to believe that he has been divinely elected to perform a mission or to save the world. The manic-depressive person may become either extremely irritable or exuberant and grandiose, or both, in his hyperactive state.
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