Essay on Abnormal Psychology: Bipolar Disorder

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Bipolar Disorder

Mental illness has plagued human kind for as long as we have been on this earth. The science of psychology has made great strides in past century. The stigma of being mentally ill has begun to fall away and people are finally starting to get the help that they need to recover. Bipolar disorder is one illness that we have come to more fully understand. Through assistance from a psychiatrist, family and medication a patient with bipolar disorder can enter remission and live a normal life.
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder (MDD), affects people of all races, colors, and economic backgrounds. Approximately two million Americans aged 18 and older are affected by this disorder. Typically, patients are
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Psychosis may be the most frightening aspect of mania. One sufferer believed that she was a terrorist and was responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2002. She stated that she had to end her life in order for the violence to stop (Fleischauer). Though psychosis is common during mania, it may not happen to all patients (NMHA).
On the opposite side of the mood spectrum is depression. Depression consists of sad moods, sleep disorders, feeling hopeless or worthless, and loss of interest in regular activities. Patients may also experience psychosomatic illnesses, fatigue, reduced or increased appetite and suicidal thoughts (NMHA). Plagued by extreme guilt and sense of worthlessness, some patients feel no choice but to end their lives. In fact, fifty-percent of MDD patients will try to commit suicide; five percent will succeed (Fleischer).
Diagnosis
Diagnosing this disorder can be a difficult task. The increased energy and restlessness of mania may be mistaken for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In fact, many patients seen by CORE Research, an independent clinical trials company, had been misdiagnosed with ADHD. Upon being given medication for this illness, their symptoms were exacerbated. For many, this is when the correct diagnosis is made. (Butler).
Physicians must first rule out other possible diagnoses. Patients will normally be tested for drugs and their psychosocial stressors accessed. Many drugs, including cocaine and

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