Once better known as “manic depression”, the term bipolar was coined by German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin in the late nineteenth century, originally referring to all kinds of mood disorder.
Bipolar disorder can be found in all age groups, races, ethnic groups and social classes. An equal number of men and women are being affected.
The mood of a person with this disorder alternates between different extremes, such as extreme sadness and euphoric happiness. Thus, this disease is named bipolar disorder.
Some people with bipolar disorder become psychotic, hearing things that aren’t there. They may hold onto false beliefs, and cannot be swayed from them. In some instances, they see themselves as having superhuman skills and powers – even consider themselves to be god-like. This disorder also involves recurrent episodes of depression and mania, which recur across one’s lifespan. Persons may change long term goals frequently, and have trouble sticking to any one activity.
The individual may go from depressed lows to euphoric highs, or may experience other shifts in mood that severely affect the person’s ability to function. There is also the problem of a regular sleep schedule. People with bipolar disorder commonly suffer from migraines, but this can be helped when bipolar is treated. Other symptoms include delusions, inability to concentrate or sleep and feelings of worthlessness.
Genetic factors contribute substantially to the likelihood of developing the disorder, and environmental factors are also implicated. Bipolar disorder is often treated with mood stabilizer medications, and sometimes other psychiatric drugs. Mood stabilisers help reduce both manic and depressive episodes. A care plan that combines medication and psychosocial treatment is best for managing the disorder over time.
The two types of bipolar disorder are bipolar I and mani and biploar II and hypomania. The first one is in which a person has episodes of depression and mania. People with the second type normally have severe depression episodes, and sometimes “mild mania”, or hypomania.
Patients with the disorder often suffer for an average of 10 years with symptoms before receiving the correct diagnosis and treatment. Obviously, this long delay can not only affect proper patient treatment but also the recovery. Typically, the disorder appears in adolescence or early adulthood, but it can also emerge in childhood. The length of symptom-free intervals often decreases with age.
Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans, or about 2.6% of the U.S. population for those persons age 18 and older every year. It is the sixth leading cause of disability worldwide among 15- to 44-year-olds, affecting up to 4% of adults.
Yoga, meditation and acupuncture are therapies that can be utilized, as these can play a large and important role in the emotional well being of a person and can also help to lift their mood. Bipolar treatment using exercise releases endorphins and can boost the mood significantly.
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