Review and Analysis of Bipolar Disorder


Normally, one tends to experience mood changes resulting from environmental changes, the company one is in at the moment or even as a result of the weather. However, sometimes a person may tend to experience extreme mood changes from diminutive influences. Such oscillation of mood swings is not regarded as normal. A person who experiences these, quickly oscillating from highly ecstatic to severe depression is considered to suffer from a condition known as bipolar disorder. This condition is considered a physiological illness, as it is linked to the mental health of a person. There are five types of bipolar disorder with bipolar I and II being the most common types (Butcher, Hooley, & Mineka, 2014). Unlike physical sickness, mental conditions are somewhat a bit complicated when it comes to diagnosis. However, psychologists have come up with various ways of diagnosing mental illnesses (Butcher, Hooley & Mineka, 2014). This discussion will consider one method used by psychologists in the diagnoses of bipolar disorder. It will further discuss the various methods of possible treatments for this order.

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Causes of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is considered a bio-psychosocial illness (Craddock & Sklar, 2013). A bio-psychosocial illness is one that is triggered by biological, social and psychological factors. To treat such disorders, all these factors are put into consideration to ensure effective treatment. It is believed that one may develop bipolar disorder during both maturity and adaptation to various lifestyles. However, Craddock and Sklar (2013) attempt to explain some factors possibly causing this illness. Environmental factors, physical illness, genetic make-up or even the use of various substances may result in an individual developing bipolar disorder (Craddock & Sklar, 2013). The environment has a great influence on one’s mental condition. Factors such as emotional stress and stressful events may lead to relapse. Episodes of depression and ecstatic joy may result from environmental changes. Some illness may affect the mental health of an individual, thereby triggering these extreme personalities in a person. Substance abuse is highly linked to changes in mood and as such may lead to the development of this disorder. Craddock and Sklar (2013) believe that the genetic make-up of an individual has a high influence on the mental health of an individual. The offsprings of a parent with the disorder need to be monitored keenly, so as to ensure the disorder is not triggered.

Characteristics of Bipolar Disorder

Patients with bipolar disorder may experience three main episodes – namely, manic, mixed and depressive episodes (Post, Leverich, Kupka, Keck, Mcelroy, Altshuler, Frye, Luckenbaugh, Rowe, Grunze, Suppes, & Nolen, 2013). The characteristics of this illness vary with the type of episode the patient is experiencing at the moment. The manic episode is characterized by restlessness, extreme energy and irritability (Post, et al. 2013). The patients are generally in a happy mood and tend to be impatient. The episode makes one lack concentration as he has racing thoughts. Other characteristics include aggression, high sex drive, drug and substance abuse, overspending and poor judgment (Post, et al. 2013). The depressive episode is categorized by sadness, hopelessness, lack of interest, anxiety, lack of concentration, irritability, insomnia and low energy. To some extent, the patient may start developing suicidal thoughts, in some cases, attempt suicide (Post, et al. 2013). Most patients experience mixed episodes, whereby their moods oscillate from hyperactivity to severe depression within a short period.

Criteria for Diagnosis

Bipolar disorder is mainly diagnosed depending on the episode experienced by the patient. Gender has no effect on the rate of this disorder as the number of men and women is approximated to be the same (Leclerc, Mansur, & Brietzke, 2013). Manic episodes are more prevalent in men, while women record a high rate of depressive episodes (Leclerc, Mansur, & Brietzke, 2013). The type of disorder depends on the extent and category of episode experienced by the patient. The major methods for diagnosis are checking for the signs and symptoms, physical exam or psychological evaluation (Leclerc, Mansur, & Brietzke, 2013). Medics are, however, trying to come up with methods of detecting the illness via MRI brain scan.

Although the diagnosis of a patient varies with the episode, they are all diagnosed as one illness (Leclerc, Mansur, & Brietzke, 2013). After diagnosis, a psychiatrist checks on the level of symptoms to detect the episodes the patient may be suffering from. Most patients suffer from at least two episodes. Depending on the symptoms the patient depicts, the physician administers the necessary treatment (Leclerc, Mansur, & Brietzke, 2013). If the symptoms are severe, the patient is admitted to hospital and provided with special conditions which will enable him to balance his personalities thus attain normalcy.


This treatment can be analyzed by the research analysis method whereby a number of participants are selected and the severity of the disease is determined. A control group is put in place, but they do not receive any form of treatment. Walker, McGee, and Druss (2015) attempted to explain the level of this illness among adults in the United States. They researched from peer-reviewed sources for their analysis. From their research, 3.7% of the population aged between 18 and 34 were recorded to suffer from this ailment (Walker, McGee, & Druss, 2015). There is no indication that either race or ethnicity has an association with this disorder.


There are different modes of treatment that can be administered to such patients. Patients experiencing maniac episodes are advised to take lithium or valproate for stabilizing their mood swings; otherwise, they may pose a danger to the society (Geddes & Miklowitz, 2013). Psychiatrists advise these patients to join support groups, whereby they share their experiences. In doing so, they gain a perspective of each other’s sicknesses. It also helps distract them and thus reduce the mood swings and oscillation of episodes (Geddes & Miklowitz, 2013). Also, psychiatrists administer psychotherapy sessions to the patients. Further, patients are advised to have meditation, as it helps them relax and thus prevent the occurrence of the episodes.



Butcher, J.N., Hooley, J.M., & Mineka, S. (2014). Abnormal psychology (16th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Craddock, N., & Sklar, P. (2013). Genetics of bipolar disorder. The Lancet381(9878), 1654-1662. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from

Geddes, J.R., & Miklowitz, D.J. (2013). Treatment of bipolar disorder. The Lancet381(9878), 1672-1682. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from

Leclerc, E., Mansur, R.B., & Brietzke, E. (2013). Determinants of adherence to treatment in bipolar disorder: a comprehensive review. Journal of affective disorders149(1), 247-252. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from

Post, R.M., Leverich, G.S., Kupka, R., Keck, P., Mcelroy, S., Altshuler, L., Frye, M.A., Luckenbaugh, D.A., Rowe, M., Grunze, H., Suppes, T., & Nolen, W.A. (2013). Increased parental history of bipolar disorder in the United States: association with early age of onset. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 129(5), 375-382. doi:10.1111/acps.12208. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from

Walker, E.R., McGee, R.E., & Druss, B.G. (2015). Mortality in mental disorders and global disease burden implications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA psychiatry72(4), 334-341. Retrieved on March 23, 2017 from