A Bipolar Disorder Lesson From a Bipolar Patient’s Point-Of-View

A Bipolar Disorder Lesson From a Bipolar Patient’s Point-Of-View

When acquiring knowledge it is best to define terms either before or as they are being used. Let us begin by defining:

Bipolar (Affective) Disorder (manic-depression): a “mental disorder” exhibiting oscillating periods of elation and “clinical depression.” It is essentially a psychiatric diagnosis of elevated and depressive cognition, moods, behaviors and energy levels. The clinical term for the elated moods is “mania”. A gentler form is “hypomania.” Afterwards, bipolar individuals usually manifest either depressive symptoms or a “mixed state” in which features of both highs and lows are simultaneously present. These up-and-down events quickly slide through “average” mood zones enjoyed by the general population. For some folks,”rapid-cycling” between up-and-down mood levels occurs. Fierce manic episodes can exhibit delusions, psychosis and hallucinations. The bipolar mood range, in increasing levels of manic severity, are termed cyclothymia, hypomania (bipolar-II) and mania (bipolar-I). Descending levels of clinical depression are cyclothymia, depression (bipolar-II) and clinical depression (bipolar-I). Clinical depression alone is termed “unipolar.” [abridged-paraphrased Wikipedia “Bipolar Disorder” entry]

The bipolar continuum (spectrum) is best illustrated verbally as follows:










Patient moods are continuously variable as they ascend and descend this bi-directional spectrum, prompting Johns Hopkins leading Professor of Psychiatry, Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison and Bipolar I patient, to call bipolar disorder “this quicksilver illness.”

“Average Mood” is just another day at the office and at home with no cause for either sadness or celebration.

“Average Mood High” might be a time when you marry, birth a baby, earn a raise or win the lottery.

“Average Mood Low” could range from the loss of a favorite pet to the passing of a family member.

“Cyclothymia High” might be a time of extra energy and focus and general exuberance without drug use.

“Cyclothymia Low” can be a habit of extra sleepfulness or sleeplessness and a gloomy outlook.

“Hypomania” is a period of excess energy, high productivity, many achievements and goal-orientation.

“Dysthymia” is sluggishness, loss of normal interests, negativity and general malaise.

“Mania” is a time of grandiosity, rapid and pressured speech and frightening, erratic behaviors.

“Clinical or Major Bipolar Depression” is a total loss of interests and hope, often featuring suicidality

Here are a few American statistics:

  • Women suffer major depression twice as much as men
  • 90% of all suicides result from clinical depression
  • Men and women suffer manic-depression equally
  • 1 of 3 bipolar individuals will either attempt or complete the act of suicide

You have likely seen more than enough lists of manic and depressive visible behaviors, but it is important to adhere to those listed in the…

Source by Jeff C. Baker

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