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Essay Paper on Bipolar Disorder

Among numerous illnesses that exist nowadays in the world and make a large number of people suffer every day, the bipolar disorder, better known under its old name, manic-depressive illness, is considered to be one of the difficult mental diseases. Characteristic features of bipolar disorder are the following: very changeable mood (abrupt leaps from high spirits to out of humor condition), expressive depression and mania state, problems connected with concentration of attention etc. During depressive periods, patient can experience a wide range of feelings and emotions, such as sadness, feeling of loneliness, indifference, loss not only of interest to life, but appetite as well.
As for the term, “bipolar disorder”, it’s rather new one which was preceded by “manic-depressive insanity term”, given by a German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin. His book on this disease, named “Lehrbuch der Psychiatrie” which came out in 1889, provided the most detailed and complete description of moods, states and conditions of manic-depressives for that time. The American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders describes manic episodes as follows: “The essential feature is a distinct period when the predominant mood is either elevated, expansive or irritable and when there are associated symptoms of the manic syndrome.

These symptoms include hyperactivity, pressure of speech, flight of ideas, inflated self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, distractibility, and excessive involvement in activities that have a high potential for painful consequences”. Later, in the end of twentieth century it was decided to use another scientific definition for this illness in order to avoid the usage of such words as “manic” and “depressive” and that’s how “bipolar disorder” came into use.

Bipolar disorder is divided into two types according to the display of mania and level of depression of the patient. Bipolar I is the stage with maximum development of mania and depression. Bipolar II is characterized by marked trend towards hypomania, that is to say, bipolar II is significantly expressed bipolar I. Logically, patients of bipolar I stage with the illness development move on towards bipolar II stage, because some individuals with bipolar I do not “advance” beyond classical set of symptoms that characterize this stage, to more severe phases of mania. There is no logical explanation to such phenomenon, but the symptoms may just peak at this stage even if the patient doesn’t take a course of treatment. Such patients are diagnosed with what is termed “bipolar II” disorder, referring to a history of hypomanic episodes, usually alternated with periods of depression.

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