Bipolar disorder is perhaps one of the most tragic mood disorders, because it virtually taunts with the affected person's mind. Bipolar disorder, which is also known as manic-depressive disorder, is a mental condition in which the person alternates between feelings of mania and depression.
The occurrence of bipolar disorder has been a mystery since the sixteenth century. History has show that this affliction can appear in almost anyone. Even the great painter Vincent Van Gogh is believed to have suffered from the disease. It is clear that in our society many people live with this disorder, however, we are still waiting for a definite explanation for the causes and a cure. One thing is certain about bipolar disorder; it severely undermines its victim's ability to maintain social and occupational success in life. Because bipolar disorder has such debilitating symptoms, it is crucial that we remain watchful in the search for answers about its causes and treatments available.
Bipolar disorder affects approximately one percent of the population (approximately three million people) in the United States. It occurs in both males and females. Bipolar disorder involves episodes of mania and depression. These episodes may alternate with profound depressions characterized by a pervasive sadness, almost inability to move, hopelessness, and disturbances in appetite, sleep, and concentrations and driving. .
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 episodes experience a period of depression. .
Bipolar disorder is characterized by a great deal of symptoms that can be broken down into two categories: manic and depressive episodes. The manic episodes are characterized by elevated or irritable mood, increased energy, a decrease in a need for sleep, poor judgment and insight, and often reckless and irresponsible behavior (Hollandsworth, Jr.