Bipolar disorder is a complicated mood disorder that affects the lives of millions of Americans. The disorder’s name implies behaviors characterized by extreme highs and lows. The following will examine the behaviors associated with the condition and the underlying biological factors. The effects of altered states of consciousness, particularly sleep disturbances, also play a major role in understanding bipolar. Additionally, the question of how the disorder can affect the memory will be addressed. Finally, what different personality theories have to say about bipolar, and the effectiveness of treatment through pharmaceutical and behavioral intervention.
The behaviors associated with Bipolar are episodes of severe depression and manic excitement. These extremes in mood are quite literally, polar opposites, hence the disorder’s namesake. In episode of manic excitement, or mania for short, the individual will experience a heightened mood, increased energy and drive, and a reduced need for sleep. Manic episodes have tendency to be rather extreme, as the heightened sense of mood can lead to decreased inhibitions, reckless behavior, and increased irritability. Those feelings translate to sexual promiscuity, substance abuse, and possibly violent behavior. When an individual falls into a depressive state, lethargy, morose, and even contemplation or attempted suicide is common. Additionally, folks with bipolar may experience what is known as ‘mixed affected states’ where the sufferer has the energy of mania accompanied by a depressive mood (Wellman, 2007). Although there is no laboratory test to diagnose Bipolar, there are certain biological factors common with sufferers. Imaging studies that compared bipolar sufferers, Major Depressive Disorder, and individuals with no mood disorder tend to show increased rates of right-hemispheric lesions, or bilateral subcortical or periventricular lesions in those with Bipolar (American...