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Bipolar Disorder - one Man’s Journey to a Diagnosis

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Essay title: Bipolar Disorder - one Man’s Journey to a Diagnosis

Bipolar Disorder

One Man’s Journey to a diagnosis

Bipolar disorder, formally known as manic-depressive insanity ,according to the DSM-IV is defined as a person experiencing periods of depression and also periods of elation or manic episodes that last at least a week at one time, or at least for four days. .During periods of mania the mind is racing at top speed with ideas and plans. Thoughts of activities, excessive talking, writing, spending sprees, with little need for sleep. The person may feel excessive feelings of grandeur and self- importance during this time. They may become irritable, angry and even violent with anyone who refuses to go along with these ideas.

According to the NIMH (national institute of mental health) a person who is suffering from this disorder would experience some of the following symptoms:

• Increased energy, activity and restlessness

• Excessively high overly good euphoric mood

• Extreme irritability

• Racing thoughts and talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another

• Distractibility and not able to concentrate very well

• Lack of sleep and low need for sleep

• Unrealistic beliefs about ones self and powers

• Poor judgment

• Spending sprees

• A long period of behavior that is different from usual

• Drug abuse. Alcohol and sleep aid abuse

• Provocative, intrusive and aggressive behavior

• Denial that anything is wrong

With the bipolar disorder there are the manic episodes and then the depressed episodes. The manic episodes, or periods of elation are diagnosed when three of these symptoms are also present. The severe bipolar disorder leaves the person with impaired occupational and social functioning and with periods of hospitalization.

A lesser form of bipolar Disorder called Cyclothymia as defined by the DSM-IV-TR is a milder form of the Bipolar Disorder but minus certain psychotic features and delusions and the impairment as seen in the full bipolar disorder.

This disorder certainly is devastating for the person who is ill and also for the family who interacts and lives with the illness also. Bipolar Disorder does not have a cure and treatment varies somewhat from patient to patient. The treatment and behavioral therapy last for years and in some cases is very successful and enables the person to live a somewhat normal life. The support system of family and friends is crucial to enable this to happen. The following story is about one mans journey over the years with this disorder and the ups and downs through attaining diagnosis.

Farley is a 59 year old male who was first diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 1992 after years of experiencing serious periods of depression and manic episodes. He has no family history of Bipolar Disorder but does have one brother who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. The brother had problems for years and was only diagnosed with this after he started having hallucinations and hearing things. He eventually completely lost touch with reality.

Farley first started experiencing problems in 1986. At this time he worked full time for APCO as an electronic specialist.. He had served many years in the Navy and finished a four year college degree. His job was very demanding and required that he be on call and take some of his work home. In the home there were two children, his wife and mother-in-law. During the year of 1986 his wife started noticing small things that were unusual for him and knew that things were not right with his behavior. The next year while at work he was taken to the hospital with symptoms of a heart attack. At this time he was diagnosed with premature ventricular contractions and severe depression and started on a medication for this. The Pharmacist was questioned by the family about the side affects of the drug and also discussed the feelings of paranoia the patient was experiencing at the time. They were informed that it would make the paranoia worse. He thought the doctors were trying to hurt him or that he might be fired from his job. He also felt the house was

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