The term bipolar disorder is used to describe patterns of manic or hypomanic behavior (which is "just under manic" in the way that a hypodermic needle slips just under the skin, for example and it is also coupled with elevated, expansive or irritable moods) that may or may not alternate with episodes of clinically defined depression. Occasionally, people show a mixture of both high and low features at the exact same moment, or switch during the day, giving a mixed picture of rising and falling behavior.
Bipolar disorder is one of the simplest mood disorders to assess, because the generally accepted criteria meet standards for both validity and reliability. The cyclical pattern of depression and mania is easily recognizable, there is a genetic predisposition, and a treatment, lithium, is often an effective first course of treatment in terms of psychopharmacological intervention.
[...] Indeed, far more difficult is a diagnosis of depression, as if depression is followed by a manic or hypomanic episode (especially once placed on medication), the bipolar nature of the disorder may be confused with the effects of therapeutic treatment and medication. Officially, the period of mood disturbance must be accompanied by three or four of the following symptoms: Inflated self-esteem decreased need for sleep a pressure to keep talking flight of ideas or racing thoughts distractibility increased social, work, or sexual activity or psychomotor agitation excessive involvement in activities that can lead to distressing consequences, such as spending sprees, reckless driving, foolish business decisions, or sexual indiscretion possibility of psychotic features such as auditory hallucinations, delusions, or paranoid ideation. [...]
[...] All of this seems to tie in to how Van Gogh would stay up for days painting things that only he could see Treatments It is a challenge, even an affront, to the beauty of art to think that the greatest minds should be shackled to treatments and interventions and methodologies that are inherently built, fabricated and designed to wreck the person's greatness, but that is one way of looking at the treatment of bipolar disorder and it, most likely, would have robbed the world of the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh if he were changed by too great a degree. [...]
[...] In the past, people with severe bipolar disorder may have been admitted to an asylum where they could have remained manic for many months or depressed for many years and then spontaneously remitted, indicating that there is a pattern to even the most severe expressions of the condition. Bipolar II (also called cyclothymic disorder) is less severe (so that highs are more likely to be described as "hypomanic" rather than "manic"); it is not usually associated with psychotic features and tends to be briefer. [...]
[...] "Distinguishing borderline personality disorder from bipolar disorder: Differential diagnosis and implications." American Journal of Psychiatry 153 1202–7. Daniels, S. (1998). A Kaleidoscopic View: Reflections on the Creative Self. Roeper Review, 154+. Retrieved October from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5001378395 Depue R. A., & Zald D. ( 1993). "Biological and environmental processes in nonpsychotic psychopathology: A neurobehavioral system perspective." In C. Costello Basic Issues in Psychopathology (pp. 127-237). New York: Guilford. Ellicott, A., Hammen, C., Gitlin, M., Brown, G., & Jamison, K. (1990). [...]
[...] While most people with this disorder have normal periods, some suffer from a chronic form of bipolar disorder. Cyclothymia is more chronic, though less severe than bipolar disorder. The onset is more insidious, length of mood disturbance shorter but more frequent, and degree of impairment less marked. There is increased vulnerability for episodes of mania or major depression, though what is usually observed is hypomania and milder depression, together with chaotic interpersonal problems and erratic behavior. Serotonin Serotonin functioning is also important to the understanding of bipolar disorder (Goodnick, 1998). [...]
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