About two percent of the population suffers from some form of bipolar disorder. Some of the more recognizable names of individuals marked by bipolar disorder throughout history were Winston Churchill, George Frederick Handel, Lord Byron, Virginia Woolf, Edgar Allen Poe, Napoleon Bonaparte and Vincent Van Gogh. I chose bipolar disorder because I wanted to discover and learn more about this terrible disorder.
Bipolar disorder is considered to be the chameleon of Psychiatric disorders. The presentation of symptoms changes from one patient to the next and even from one episode to the next in the same patient. Bipolar disorder can lie dormant for a time only to sneak up on the individual years later worse than before. Due to this "hibernation of symptoms," individuals do not see the need for treatment until it awakens catching the individual completely off guard.
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder. Mood disorder is defined by the negative aspects of an individuals mood. So to simplify the definition of bipolar disorder or mood disorder, we could say that instead of happiness there is sadness, instead of optimism there is pessimism, instead of being energetic there is a feeling of fatigue. When a person is in a low mood as opposed to a high mood, they tend to turn inward and are preoccupied or distracted by their thoughts, they are sad, empty and lost. In this low mood the individual would tend not to be sociable or prefer to be left alone, and their energy level would seem to be extremely low. Following this low mood is an extremely manic mood of rage and even violence in which the individual is extremely irritable and easily agitated.
Bipolar disorder is for the most part still a mystery. There is no x-ray or blood test used to diagnose an individual with bipolar disorder, it in fact is diagnosed using the eyes and ears. Psychiatrists listen to patients and patients family members describe the above mentioned symptoms and they assess their onset, course, fluctuation and impact upon the patient.