Running head: BIPOLAR DISORDER
Ernest M. Evett
September 28, 2008
First I would like to add a little overview of this disease: Bipolar disorder (BD) is a type of mood disorder. Bipolar disorder was called manic depression in the past, and that term is still used by some people. It is a psychiatric illness that causes major disruptions in lifestyle and health. Most people start showing signs of bipolar disorder in their late teens (the average age of onset is 21 years). These signs may be dismissed as "growing pains" or normal teenage behavior. On occasion, some people have their first symptoms during childhood, but the condition can often be misdiagnosed at this age and improperly labeled as a behavioral problem. Bipolar disorder may not be properly diagnosed until the sufferer is 25-40 years old, at which time the pattern of symptoms may become clearer.
Bipolar disorder occurs in both men and women. About 5.7 million people in the United States have the disorder. There is no racial group that is more afflicted by this disease.
Because of the extreme and risky behavior that goes with bipolar disorder, it is very important that the disorder be identified. With proper and early diagnosis, this mental condition can be treated. Bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that will require proper management for the duration of a person's life. Treatment of bipolar disorder centers on (1) medications to stabilize mood swings and (2) counseling with a therapist. However, therapy is more successful with strong support from family and loved ones.
Medications don't always work the first time and may need to be changed many times until the right medication or combination of medicines is found. Usually the illness appears suddenly (sometimes precipitated by life stresses), although onset may be gradual. Episodes of mania, which can last from days to...