Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bipolar Illness

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Did you know there are many famous people from the past and the present who suffer from bipolar illness? People from history such as, Abraham Lincoln, Ludwig van Beethoven, Michelangelo, and Winston Churchill are just a few to mention. There are people in our present day, like Patty Duke, Connie Francis, Dick Cavett and Robin Williams. The one thing all these people have in common, is the legendary mark they have made in history and today. There were writers, actors, composers, artists, musicians, and scientists whose brilliance and creativity came from being bipolar.


Although being bipolar has a downside to it with symptoms of depression, the opposite side of it is the mania. When a person is in a manic state, he or she becomes extremely creative and flights of euphoria seem to take over their mind. But, as we all know, what goes up, must come down. The mania eventually leads a person into depression. There are several warning signs that lead a person into either a depression or manic state.


To explain this illness in more detail, bipolar disorder is a medical condition that affects a person¡¦s moods that can go from one extreme to another. Some common symptoms of mania are


Cheap University Papers on Bipolar Illness




„X feeling unusually euphoric or high (much like having an adrenaline rush)


„X having racing thoughts


„X having inflated feelings of power


„X feeling agitated


„X needing little sleep


Out of shear exhaustion from the mania, a person eventually becomes completely fatigued and washed out physically, mentally and emotionally. This leads into a deep depression. The common symptoms of depression are


„X feeling worthless


„X having very low energy (feeling slowed down)


„X diminished ability to think or concentrate


„X losing interest or pleasure in most activities


„X sleeping too much or suffering from insomnia


„X thoughts of suicide or attempting suicide


There are variable types of bipolar illness. The most prominent are Bipolar I, II and Cyclothymes. To explain these in some detail, I have listed the details below


Bipolar I ¡V Most people with this form of illness do outrageous things. They can go on spending sprees and buy big purchase items that they cannot afford or they don¡¦t need. They feel invincible and see no consequences for their behaviour. In full-blown, psychotic manias, a person loses all touch of reality and becomes delusional to the point of having hallucinations. Eventually deep depression hits them and loss of self-esteem, major fatigue, heart palpitations, queasy stomach, and feelings of hopelessness engulf them. At this point hospitalization is necessary to help in relieving a person.


Bipolar II ¡V People with this form of illness suffer recurring depressions, but there are no psychotic episodes. Instead, they have brief hypomanic periods, which make them feel somewhat euphoric and extremely self-confident. Their energy level is boundless. Unlike Bipolar I, this is a more toned down form of bipolar, which does not require hospitalization.


Cyclothymes ¡V This person has mild up and downs. The highs and lows only last a few days or weeks. They can start something with great enthusiasm but don¡¦t complete it. During their productive times, they can achieve remarkable things. They are known as rapid cyclers, like a car out of control and, at times, require hospitalization to stabilize the mood extremes.


Bipolar disorder has no age preference. It can strike a person in their teen-age years or as old as their 50¡¦s or 60¡¦s. It can be very devastating for a teen-ager if left undiagnosed. Having deflated self-esteem can cause them to drop out of school. This can lead to thoughts of suicide or attempting to do it.


There is treatment available for this illness. Long-term use of medication can stabilize the moods and depressions. Psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy and support groups are other options that can aid in recovery. Another important option is to become educated by reading books or materials that may help in understanding how to cope with it. A doctor may have informative literature to offer his patients and family members.


A family member will also need support to cope with a loved one with bipolar illness. The family doctor may be able to recommend a support group for family members. By becoming educated, the family can be more encouraging and understanding when their loved one has symptoms of mania or depression. They can also protect themselves from harm, due to violence or attempts of suicide, by calling 11.


In learning all there is to know about this illness, it is obvious that most people suffering from bipolar are remarkably brilliant and creative individuals. Without people like this, society would definitely miss out on many important events that took place in history. Beethovan composed great music. Abraham Lincoln was a profound and much admired president. Actors, like Robin Williams, demonstrate phenomenal extremes. He can play such complex characters with brilliant excellence. He has proven his success in several motion pictures.


My research on this illness has educated me to better understand some of my family members who also suffer from bipolar disorder. I have several cousins, both on my mother and father¡¦s side who are being treated for this illness. My deceased father was diagnosed with manic depression when he was forty years old, but refused to take medication for it. As family members, we had to deal with his extreme moods. It would have saved a lot of trouble for everyone if he just surrendered by taking medication. My son was diagnosed with Bipolar II at the early age of sixteen. I am very grateful that he was receptive to medication to relieve his symptoms. Today, he leads a more balanced life.


There is great stigma in society towards this illness. I believe that if people became educated about it, there would be less ridicule and judgement towards it. I know that I don¡¦t have any negative reservations towards my loved ones who live with this illness. How about you?


Books of Reference


Cronkite, Kathy. ¡§Conversations about Conquering Depression¡¨.


On the Edge of Darkness. New York Doubleday, 14


Duke, Patty and


Gloria Hochman. ¡§Living with Manic Depressive Illness¡¨.


A Brilliant Madness. New York Bantam Books, 1


Jamieson, Kay Redfield. ¡§A Memoir of Moods and Madness¡¨.


An Unquiet Mind. New York Random House Canada, 15


Styron, William. ¡§A Memoir of Madness¡¨


Darkness Visible. New York Random House Inc., 10





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