Bipolar disorder.

Essay by NathronolHigh School, 12th grade June 2003

download word file, 3 pages 5.0

Manic-depression disorder, also known as bipolar disorder, is a severe mental disorder involving manic episodes that are usually accompanied by episodes of depression. It is a chronic mental disease that affects over two million adults in the United States, which is about one percent of the population over the age of eighteen. Symptoms of the disorder often appear in adolescence or early adulthood, although it can sometimes start in early childhood or as late as the 40s or 50s, and could persist for the sufferer's entire life. One cycle of bipolar disorder can last for weeks or months, and causes great disturbances in the lives of those who are affected.

Bipolar disorder is characterized by an alternating pattern of emotional highs, known as mania, and lows, or depression. The severity of these signs vary from person to person, ranging from mild to severe symptoms. Symptoms of mania include feelings of euphoria, inflated self-esteem, rapid speech, racing thoughts, being easily agitated, recklessness, extreme irritability, and an inability to concentrate.

In severe cases, sufferers my have hallucinations or delusions. These symptoms are often confused with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in adolescent sufferers, and are often treated as such. The psychoanalytic theory states that mania is a denial of and a reaction to a 'masked' depression. During phases of depression, symptoms include persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, guilt or hopelessness, disturbances in sleep and appetite, and loss of interest in daily activities. Phases of depression can be serious, and may result in suicidal tendencies.

There are no known causes for this disease. Doctors and scientists believe it is a variety of genetic, biological, and environmental factors that trigger episodes of bipolar disorder. There is evidence that indicates a difference in neurotransmitters occur in people who are diagnosed as bipolar. There is also evidence that...