Bipolar disorder

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Since time immemorial, humanity has tried to understand abnormal behavior and ways of treating them. Now, focus is on the biological causes of abnormal behavior and the drug for treatment. In trying to understand abnormal behavior, it is critical to know that what is considered abnormal behavior varies from one culture to another and across history.

Despite the presence of many models used to define abnormal behaviors,” the four D’s,” that’s: deviance, danger, distress, and dysfunction, have been significant in differentiating abnormal behavior from normal behavior. The field of abnormal psychology brings in both clinical practitioners and clinical researchers whose role is to continually research for universal laws of abnormal functioning.

Based on the symptoms that Jayna suffers from, it is clear that she is a victim of bipolar disorder formerly referred to as manic- depressive disorder. This brain disorder causes abnormal shifts in an individual’s mood, energy, and functional ability. This paper will discuss the origin of the disorder, the symptoms, and eventually the recommended treatment (Comer 2005).


Victims of bipolar disorder experience manic periods, which characterized by being agitated, highly energetic, and insomniac. There are also periods of grounding depression. Although it is normal to experience mood swings, in the case of bipolar disorder it is more pronounced. This disorder afflict roughly one percent of the total adult population in America. In many cases, the ailment develops in early adulthood or adolescence but there are cases where it is noticed in children while others have it later on in life. Bipolar disorder may affect an individual without being noticed and in may instance its signs are not part of a sickness and many patients suffer before it is adequately managed (Comer 2005). Bipolar disorder is similar to diabetes or heart diseases in that it afflicts one through out their lifetime hence there is need for professional management.

When patients are in the manic state, they experience period of restlessness, hyperactivity, and high energy. This state is characterized by unstable thoughts and quick talking. Fresh ideas and aims fill their thought but they are prone to distraction and they will always move one idea to the other. In most cases, their self-esteem is very high and impossible belief in their potential resulting in unreliable judgments. There is also a possibility engaging in unplanned activities, taking drugs, shopping and being very active sexually.

Being high and euphoric are the primary symptoms of the manic period. Aggressiveness, being provocative, and irritability accompany this period too. Another related state of hypomania has been identified by clinical experts. Its signs are the same as those of mania only differing in that it does not have hallucinations and delusions and are not serious enough to affect he normal functioning of a patient.

An individual is gradually absorbed by enveloping state of sadness when the episode of depression sets in. Feelings of anxiety, uselessness, and guilt take over and the patient’s vision of the future is uncertain and belief that they are unable to change their situation. A patient’s cognitions are greatly affected in period of depression, concentration, memory, and decision-making may not be easily executed. Restlessness and irritability are likely to be experienced with a shift in sleeping patterns. When the patient is awake, there is general body weakness and disinterest in activities that were once pleasurable like sex and socialization. Thoughts of dead and suicide are common during the lowest points. Extreme episodes of mania or depression encompass psychotic symptoms, which may include hallucinations (visualizing non-existent things0m or delusions (beliefs that are wrong and baseless). These signs depend on the current state of the individual’s mood. Example is when a patient may believe that they are a president or rich when in manic state. Delusion that they have committed a dangerous crime set I episodes of depression.

The period of switching from the manic state to depression differs from one individual to the other. For some it may be six months while for others it can be several times in a week or in a span of a single day. Both episode repeatedly occur in a patient’s life and if not properly managed the acuteness increases. The switching from one state to the other becomes more pronounced and the severity of both states worsens.

Janya is a victim of bipolar disorder because of the following reasons. She is 26 years old when she reports her condition and when we look at the most probable time that bipolar disorder sets in we find that it occurs at adolescence or early adulthood except a few isolated cases when it may occur earlier or later on in life. Janya falls in the bracket of early adulthood showing that she suffers from this disorder.

Another evidence to support this claim is that of her carrier as a banker. In episodes on hypomania, victims are able to function well that is why Janya is able to retain her carrier which require a lot of keenness. Hypomania is devoid of hallucinations and delusions there it does not affect the daily functioning.

The symptoms that Janya report at the mental clinic point towards bipolar disorder, first she claims that she feels agitated and hopeless. Agitation is a symptom of the manic state while hopelessness occurs when the victim is feeling depressed. The period of mania makes one to be highly active and energetic which lead to lack of sleep which Janya reports to be experiencing.

Due to increased energy, activity, and restlessness in the manic state, the patient experiences racing thoughts and like to be involved in quick conversations, a symptom she has. People suffering from bipolar disorder cycle between the states of mania and depression, when in the manic mood they feel good about themselves but when depressed they are sad. This explains Janya’s case of mood swings.

Janya further complains that the symptoms are causing her problems at work. People with this disorder are easily distracted because they move from one idea to another hence her complain of lack of concentration.

Clinical questions

To get a clear understanding of Janya’s feelings, background, and relationships, a clinician can ask the following questions.

1. What prompted you to seek medical help?

2. Is there any history of mental illness in your family?

3. How long have you had this feeling that you might be a victim of mental illness?

4. Did you experience any problems after completion of high school?

5. When did o first experience emotional problems?

6. What was your first serious breakdown?

7.  What do you remember most when you were in high school?

8. In high school, were you social or you kept to yourself?

9. How long does your depression last?

10. Between depression and mania, which is better?

11. Have you taken any medications?

The following questions are critical in aiding the clinician in administering the right treatment. It also helps him to determine the level of the disorder in the victim. The questions also provide an opportunity for the clinician and the patient to interact. This interaction is vital for the patient to develop confidence in the clinician (Comer 2005).


In-depth research, which involved adoption studies, point towards biological and genetic factors as the causes of expression of bipolar disorder. Evidence from neural imaging methods, which include CT scans, show structural differences in bipolar disorder victims. CT scans are developed by doing x-ray on the head from different inclinations then a computer combines the images into a 3-D view of the brain hence showing any anatomical inconsistencies. Deterioration of the cortex and the cerebellum are seen in victims of this disorder.


The most functional strategy in treating bipolar disorder is by combining medication with different psychological treatments that limit its symptoms. Lithium is still the most effective drug in combating this disorder as it stabilizes the moods. It is thought to function by stabilizing certain neurotransmitters and is effective I treating manic episodes. In cases when lithium is not functional, anticonvulsant drugs such as Nepakote and Neurontin are applied. These drugs have side effects such as loss of hair, anxiety, diminished sex drive, nausea, and tremors forcing many victims to discard them.

Psychotherapy is also important in helping patients live with the effects of bipolar disorder. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is effective in helping victims overcome negative thinking. It also gives guidelines of how one can start day-to-day activities and sleep schedules. Family therapy guides the family on how to live with signs of the disorder.


Management of mental disorders like bipolar disorder is a big challenge as it affects the daily life of the victim and has no treatment. Its symptoms are very disturbing and require understanding from family and workmates to avert conflicts as the patients are rarely in control of their thoughts when affected by the cycles of the disorder. There is also reduced productivity as the disorder mainly afflicts at the prime age of life. Lastly, there is need for further research to come up with lasting treatment for the disorder.

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