Psychopathology of the Bipolar Disorder – Disorder Example

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"Psychopathology of the Bipolar Disorder" is a perfect example of a paper on the disorder.   With the advancement of medical science, the diagnosis of different diseases has become easier. One such disorder about which quite has become known in the medical world is known as Bipolar Disorder. It is a disorder that is characterized by unusual moods because of a lack of brain functioning. The exact pathology of the disorder is yet unknown but it is believed that abnormal levels of neurotransmitters play a role in the disorder. This essay would further revolve around the Bipolar Disorder providing with further details (Quinn 2007; NIMH 2008) Psychopathology of Bipolar Disorder     Bipolar Disorder is characterized by unusual mood swings and it can be diagnosed only if the doctor has proper knowledge about the disorder.

It is seen that people have episodes of different moods i. e. at one time the individual is very happy and at the other moment the individual feels very sad. The mood in which the individual feels happy is known as a manic episode and the mood in which he feels sad is known as the depressive episode.

The symptoms of bipolar disorder may not be obvious enough for anyone to understand but at times the symptoms would be so alarming that anyone can understand that the individual has the disorder. The doctors can get to know about the manic episode if they analyze the mood changes of an individual. It is seen that individuals feel very happy, joyful, or irritated at times while the next moment they start getting worried and sad. The individual feels very tired at times and at times feels jumpy.

If Bipolar Disorder has reached its terminal stages then individuals may start having hallucinations and delusions too. All these different mood swings help the doctor to diagnose the disorder (NIMH 2008; Sahakian & Murphy 2001) Differential Diagnosis                     Bipolar Disorder should be diagnosed properly as at times it gets difficult to differentiate between certain disorders and bipolar disorders. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is one of the disorders which have similar symptoms as Bipolar Disorder. It is necessary for a health practitioner to notice the mood changes in an individual when it comes to the diagnosis of these two disorders.

Individuals suffering from ADHD would show chronic states whereas individuals with bipolar disorder would only show episodic changes. Moreover, it is also known from different studies that the symptoms of both these disorders are difficult to diagnose in individuals who are in their teenage or in their pre-pubertal age. Children who have bipolar disorder usually show a lack of sleep, increased happiness, and thoughts (Giedd 2000). Borderline Personality Disorder is another disorder that has many signs and symptoms the same as Bipolar Disorder.

In BPD the mood changes occur usually only when a stimulus is given to the individual whereas in Bipolar Disorder the individual can have mood changes at any time and without any stimulus. The mood changes in BPD may not last for a longer time whereas in Bipolar Disorder the mood changes can last for a very long time varying from days to weeks. In BPD the individual does not get a feeling of being high all of a sudden after being sad however in Bipolar Disorder the individual can have rapid mood changes from sadness to happiness.

Conduct Disorder is another disorder that should be diagnosed properly from Bipolar Disorder. In diagnosing both these disorders it should be kept in mind that conduct disorder usually affects the conduct of an individual. The individual gets pleasure in conduct disorder usually when he breaks the societal norms whereas in bipolar disorder the individual has mixed moods. Sleep is not disturbed in individuals suffering from Conduct Disorder whereas it is disturbed in individuals who are suffering from bipolar disorder.

The normal speech of an individual is affected in Bipolar Disorder whereas in Conduct Disorder it is not affected. It is necessary for a health practitioner to have great details about the symptoms of different disorders before diagnosing bipolar disorder so that the treatment of the disease is not hampered (Quinn 2007). Pharmacological Treatment           In order to treat Bipolar Disorder pharmacologic treatment has been recommended to patients suffering from it. There are three major groups of medications that are recommended for these patients. Mood Stabilizers, Anti Depressants, and antipsychotics are usually given to them.

Mood stabilizers such as Lithium and Divalproex are usually used by these patients. These mood stabilizers lower down the rate of mania in individuals and simultaneously controls the mood swings. But it is said that these mood stabilizers should not be given alone in order to cure individuals with Bipolar Disorder. Antidepressants should also be given with the mood stabilizers to decrease the state of depression in individuals. Bupropion, Venlafaxine, Mirtazapine, Nefazodone, and many other antidepressants are usually given by health professionals to decrease the cycles of depression.

Antipsychotic drugs are also given for the treatment of Bipolar Disorder because these drugs help to decrease the psychotic symptoms of individuals. Delusions and hallucinations are found in some individuals suffering from bipolar disorder hence these drugs are recommended for them. These drugs also help to overcome the problem of insomnia, and anxiety in these patients. The new antipsychotic drugs which are recommended for the individuals suffering from bipolar disorder are olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone, and clozapine. Recently it has also become known that these antipsychotic drugs are helping to stabilize the mood changes in an individual.

The patients suffering from bipolar disorder are recommended to keep a check with their doctors in order to get their drug groups changed if they face any difficulties. The health professionals first recommend the first-line drugs for these patients but gradually with time if the patient does not recover then it is recommended that the backup drugs are recommended to him (Kahn et al 2000). Non-Pharmacological Treatment       Individuals suffering from bipolar disorder are also recommended with non-pharmacologic treatments such as psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy, psycho-education, family intervention, and behavioral therapy.

Electro-convulsive therapy helps individuals who are suffering from severe mania or are highly suicidal. It is given to individuals after they are anesthetized and it may have some side effects (Kahn et al 2000). Behavioral therapy is given to individuals in sessions and it helps them to build up their normal behaviors. It is given in different classes and an instructor provides the individual with knowledge about the disorder he is facing from. Psychotherapy is also given in different sessions which help the individuals to recover from the disorder.

Family intervention can also play a great role in encouraging family members to help the patient. Family members can help the patient to recover from the disorder as they can enlighten him with different aspects of life. Psycho-education can be given to the patients so that they avoid certain situations that would act as a stimulus to force the patient into the manic or depressive episode (Kahn et al 2000). Community Resources         As bipolar disorder is faced by many individuals in this world different communities have taken a stand to help the patients with the disorder.

Organizations such as Narcotics Anonymous and the National Alliance on Mental Illness are some organizations that are taking a stand on the disorder. Drug abuse is stopped by Narcotics Anonymous which can affect the disorder. National Alliance on Mental Illness plays a great role in helping individuals to understand the disorder they are facing. The guidelines are given by NAMI also help the patients to manage their disease (NA; NAMI).


National Institute of Mental Health (U.S.). (2008). Bipolar disorder. NIH publication, no. TR-08-3679. Bethesda, MD: National Institute of Mental Health, Science Writing, Press & Dissemination Branch.

Ross, R., Printz, D. J., Sachs, G. S., & Kahn, D. A. (January 01, 2000). Treatment of Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families. Postgraduate Medicine,107.

Sahakian, B. J., 1st, & Murphy, F. C. (January 01, 2001). Neuropsychology of bipolar disorder.

Quinn, B. (2007). Bipolar disorder. The Wiley concise guides to mental health. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.

Giedd, J. N. (January 01, 2000). Bipolar disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 61, 31-4.

Narcotics Anonymous

National Alliance on Mental Illness

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