Research has shown a strong biological
component for this disorder, with environmental factors playing a role in
the exacerbation of symptoms.
Disorder has been broken down into two types:
For a diagnosis of Bipolar I disorder,
a person must have at least one manic episode. Mania is sometimes referred
to as the other extreme to depression. Mania is an intense high where the
person feels euphoric, almost indestructible in areas such as personal
finances, business dealings, or relationships. They may have an elevated
self-esteem, be more talkative than usual, have flight of ideas, a reduced
need for sleep, and be easily distracted. The high, although it may sound
appealing, will often lead to severe difficulties in these areas, such as
spending much more money than intended, making extremely rash business and
personal decisions, involvement in dangerous sexual behavior, and/or the
use of drugs or alcohol. Depression is often experienced as the high
quickly fades and as the consequences of their activities becomes
apparent, the depressive episode can be exacerbated.
Similar to Bipolar I Disorder, there
are periods of highs as described above and often followed by periods of
depression. Bipolar II Disorder, however is different in that the highs
are hypo manic, rather than manic. In other words, they have similar
symptoms but they are not severe enough to cause marked impairment in
social or occupational functioning and typically do not require
hospitalization in order to assure the safety of the person.
such as Lithium, is typically prescribed for this disorder and is the
corner stone of treatment. Therapy can be useful in helping the client
understand the illness and its consequences and be better able to know
when a manic or depressive episode is imminent and to prepare for this. As
with all disorders, poor coping skills and lack of support will make the
illness more pronounced, and this is often a focus of therapeutic
more severe cases, prognosis is poor in terms of curing the illness,
as most people need to remain on medication for their entire lives. The
manic episodes may slow down as a result of the natural aging process.
With medication, the illness can be kept at a minimum level, with some
people not experiencing any overt symptoms for months and even years.
there are definitely varying degrees of this illness and it is not
difficult to misdiagnose due to it's similarity to other mood
disorders. If the illness is not severe, often times medication and
therapy can do very well in terms of treatment. And, life
experience, strong support, and an openness to improve can be enough
sometimes to make a difference in outcome.