Manic Depression/ Bi-Polar Affective Disorder (BD)

Essay by suejohnson17University, Master's November 2003

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DSM 1V - Diagnostic Categories for Manic Depression/ Bi-Polar Affective Disorder (BD) There are only two sub-types of bipolar illness, which have been defined, clearly enough to be given their own DSM categories, Bipolar I and Bipolar II.

Bipolar disorder causes dramatic mood swings, from overly high and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, often with periods of normal mood in between. Severe changes in energy and behavior go along with these changes in mood. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression ( Like other mental illnesses, bipolar disorder cannot yet be identified physiologically; for example, through a blood test or a brain scan. Therefore, a diagnosis of bipolar disorder is made on the basis of symptoms, course of illness, and, when available, family history. More than 2.5 million people have been told they have bipolar disorder. However, many other people may have bipolar disorder and not know it because the illness can be hard to recognize.

Bipolar Disorder typically begins in adolescence or early adulthood and continues throughout life. A traumatic experience may trigger onset of the disorder in youth. Although Bipolar Disorder strikes a significant percentage of adolescents, the illness is often untreated or mis-diagnosed among teens. In fact, for this group, the average time between first symptoms and treatment is approximately 10 years.

Because bipolar disorder tends to run in families, researchers have been searching for specific genes that influence how the body and mind work and grow. Passed down through generations these genes may increase a person's chance of developing the illness. After years of frustrating searches for genes that contribute to mental illness, researchers at Johns Hopkins studying families with a severe form of manic depressive illness, called psychotic bipolar disorder, may be one step closer...