Bipolar theory, The phenomenon of Bipolar Affective Disorder

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The phenomenon of Bipolar Affective Disorder has been a mystery since the 16th

and 17th century. The Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh was thought to of suffered from

bipolar disorder. It appears that there are an abundance of people with the disorder yet,

no true causes or cures for the disorder. Clearly the Bipolar disorder severely undermines

their ability to obtain and sustain social and occupational success. However, the journey

for the causes and cures for the Bipolar disorder must continue.

Affective disorders are primarily characterized by depressed mood, elevated

mood or (mania), or alternations of depressed and elevated moods. The classical term is

manic-depressive illness, a newer term is Bipolar disorder. The two are interchangeable.

Milder forms of a depressive syndrome are called dysthymic disorder, mild forms of

mania are hypomania and the milder expressions of Bipolar disorder are called

cyclothymic disorders. The use of the term primary affective disorder refers to the

individuals who had no previous psychiatric disorders or else only episodes of mania or

depression. Secondary affective disorder refers to patients with preexisting psychiatric

illness other than depression or mania (Goodwin, Guze. 1989, p.7 ).

Bipolar affective disorder affects approximately one percent or three million

persons in the United States, afflicting both males and females. Bipolar disorder involves

episodes of mania and depression. The manic episodes are characterized by elevated or

irritable mood, increased energy, decreased need for sleep, poor judgment and insight,

and often reckless or irresponsible behavior (Hollandsworth, Jr. 1990 ). These episodes

may alternate with profound depressions characterized by a pervasive sadness, almost

inability to move, hopelessness, and disturbances in appetite, sleep, in concentrations and


Bipolar disorder is diagnosed if an episode of mania occurs whether depression

has been diagnosed or not (Goodwin, Guze, 1989, p 11). Most commonly, individuals

with manic...