BiPoLaR dIsOrDeR

History of the Disorder

First recognized in Greece in 1st century AD by Aretaeus of Cappadocia who was a physician and philosopher. He described a group of patients laughing and playing throughout the day to be torpid, dull, and sorrowful at other times. He believed it came from one disorder but he was not believed until the modern era. The modern concept of bipolar disorder was created in the 19th century. Jules Baillarger and Jean-Pierre Falret believed it was hereditary. Work by Baillarger led to the term "bipolar disorder." He realized that the dramatic switching between manic and depression was distinct from regular depression and schizophrenia. The idea of bipolar disorder was fully accepted in the 1930s by everyone but Congress.

Cause of Disorder

-Bipolar Disorder may result from a chemical imbalance within the brain.

-When there are high levels of norepinephrine the person experiences mania, whenever the level drops below normal the person experiences depression. This is caused by an imbalance of a neurotransmitter. Other transmitters such as dopomine and serotonin are also believed to play a role in the disorder.

-The disorder is genetic. It is not caused by one gene deformity, however it is the result of multiple genetic and environmental factors such as stress, drug use, traumatic events, etc.

-No deaths have been reported as caused directly by bipolar disorder, however it can cause suicidal thoughts and increased risk of developing other disorders. Unhealthy diets, no exercise, more likely to smoke/abuse drugs, failure to get the right treatment.


-Feeling unusually optimistic or extremely irritable

-Unrealistic beliefs about ones abilities

-Little sleep yet energetic

-Talking rapidly

-Racing thoughts

-Highly distractable



-Feeling hopeless, sad, or empty


-No pleasure

-Loss of energy

-Mentally and physically sluggish

-Appetite changes

-Sleep problems

-Concentration problems

-Feelings of worthlessness or guilt

-Thoughts of death or suicide


There is no cure for bipolar disorder, however with proper therapy one can lead a normal and stable life. This disorder cannot be prevented but symptoms can be repressed with the following treatments. Self care is not recommended. Treatment is divided into two categories: medication to stabilize mood swings then counseling with a therapist. Lithium is a popular medication for bipolar disorder, however it only works for some patients. Anti seizure medications work as mood stabilizers. Atypical antipathetic medications are used to treat bipolar disorder, also. Sometimes anti depressants can be taken, but not used alone. Symyax is a combination pill for the manic and depressive symptoms. Counseling includes group therapy, individual therapy, family therapy, cognitive behavior therapy and social rhythm family. Psychoeduation is used to teach people about their illness. The goal of therapy is to help the person understand and cope with the disorder. Therapy can be done alone but it has been found that it is more helpful when family and friends are present.

Future of the Disorder

Socially we still have a long way to go. Many countries and cultures believe that the mentally ill are afflicted by the devil. In the United States a lot of the mentally ill are homeless and uninsured so they cannot receive treatment. Positron Emission Tomography is only a few years old and it is a way to study the brain that allows doctors to know which areas of the brain work under a particular set of circumstances. The future could hold a type of gene therapy. New medications and treatments will be avaliable for the future. The third millenium has great potential. Plus Molly will be a pyschologist so really it is up to her if we advance or not.


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