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Overview of Bipolar disorder

             In a review of the literature on bipolar disorder, or manic depression, Viguera, Cohen, Baldessarini, and Nonacs (2003) point to the fact that this devastating disease occurs in well above 1 % of the adult population. This condition tends to begin in early adult years and continue on throughout life. Characteristics of bipolar are: extreme mood changes not related with current events, reduced need of sleep, and abuse of drugs. .
             Research .
             The first sign of bipolar disorder is often hypomania, where a person exhibits a high level of energy. This stage is called the manic stage and often results in drug and alcohol abuse. Followed by the manic stage is usually a stage of severe depression. During this stage, the individual may feel hopeless, withdrawn, and have difficulty concentrating. A person said to be bipolar will alternate between mania and depression. ***.
             Bipolar disorder has been associated with levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the body. High levels of either of these chemicals are linked to the manic stage and low levels may be responsible for the depression stage. Research on biochemical levels of serotonin and norepinephrine seem to support theories that bipolar disorder has physiological causes (Schaffer, Levitt, and Boyle, 2003). .
             Suicide is a major concern for people with bipolar disorder. Depression causes suicidal thoughts but rarely results in suicide. Usually the individual is not energetic enough to carry through with suicide until they start to come out of depression. Then, if the person still has suicidal thoughts, they are more likely to follow through. If left untreated, 20 percent of victims commit suicide (Low, du Fort, Cervantes, 2003). .
             Heredity also plays a major role in the passing down of this disease. While 1 percent of the general population has bipolar disorder, the incidence of bipolar disorder is over 20 percent if the parents have it as well ( ).

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