Joan of Arc & Bipolar Disorder

Essay by Jeana_WarrenUniversity, Bachelor's May 2004

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The most classic form of the Bipolar Disorder is called Bipolar I. It traditionally begins with a mania, followed closely by a depression that may seem to be payback for the intensely energetic period that just passed. It is not an uncommon disease. Studies have concluded full-blown manic-depression probably occurs in one percent of our population, though many cases go undiagnosed. The milder forms often go undiagnosed, but probably occur in three to four percent of people (Duke and Hochman).

The behavior labeled "Mania" is created by a change in perspective. The manic feels grandiose, able to conquer the world, flush with new and intriguing ideas and inexhaustible. To others the manic appears more talkative than usual, and their thought process may be hard to follow, as their thoughts get ahead of their speech. The manic may be easily distracted or attempt to do numerous things at once. The counterweight to mania is depression.

A depressed person feels apathy, lethargy and hopelessness, occasionally to the point of being moved to suicide. Pervading feelings of fatigue, worthlessness or guilt, inability to concentrate and thoughts of death are found in the depressed. Others may notice withdrawal and disinterest in formerly enjoyed activities, marked weight loss or gain, insomnia or hypersomnia. (Torrey and Knable)

Further complicating Bipolar Disorder are Mixed States in which a person experiences both Depressive and Manic symptoms at once. One may experience extreme irritability when a foul mood combines with excited thinking. Feelings of elation may combine with a destructive rage and end in despairing anxiety. All in all, someone experiencing a Mixed Episode may feel turbulent, conflicting emotions coinciding at once. (Duke and Hochman)

In the extreme, Mixed States can lead to various manifestations of psychosis. Hallucinations often bring a person into the hospital, which can lead to...