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Bipolar Disorder

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Essay title: Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder

Journal Review Paper


There are many mental health problems in the world today. Schizophrenia, depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Bipolar disorder are just a few. These disorders are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain that in turn causes the neurotransmitters to decrease or increase and depending on the fluctuation causes the mental health problem. Of the five mental disorders mentioned above, bipolar disorder will be the main focus of this paper.

Physiology: The Brain

There are three parts to the brain: the forebrain, cerebrum, and brainstem. All three of these parts work together to perform the daily functions your brain needs to operate correctly. The forebrain contains the cerebrum, thalamus, hypothalamus, and diencephalons and the cerebrum contains the tectum, tegmentum, and white and gray matter (cerebral cortex). In addition to the forebrain and cerebrum, the brainstem is the most complicated. The brainstem contains three main regions: midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata. It also connects to the spinal cord and houses 10 out of the 12 cranial nerves.

The brain is apart of the central nervous system (CNS) and works along side with the peripheral nervous system (PNS) to control the body’s functions. The brain via the nerves controls your emotions, respiration, hunger, and facial expressions. A nerve will send off a signal to the brain, which in turn, triggers an action.

Disorder History

Bipolar disorder may well be one of the oldest known illnesses. It was first spoken of during the second century by Aretaeus of Cappadocia. He recognized symptoms of mania and depression, and felt they might have been related to one another. Unfortunately his opinion was overlooked until 1650, when scientist Richard Burton wrote a book, The Anatomy of Melancholia, which expressed his theory on depression. Burton is credited as being the father of founding depression as a mental illness.

Jules Falret, in 1854, related depression and suicide which led to the term bipolar disorder. Francois Baillarger believed there was a difference between bipolar disorder and a very similar disorder called schizophrenia. Baillager’s distinction allowed bipolar disorder to have its own classification from other mental disorders of the time.

A German psychiatrist by the name Emil Kraeplin was the first one to shine a light on bipolar disorder in the early 1900’s. He referred to the disorder as “manic depressive” because of the relation between both mania and depression.

In 1952, an article was published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disorder, which analyzed the behaviors and tied them into genetics. This article revealed that manic depression ran in families that were already affected by this disorder. In the1970’s laws were made to help those who had the disorder. The National Association of Mental Health (NAMI) was founded in 1979, and in 1980 manic-depressive disorder was renamed as bipolar disorder.

What is Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder where people experience an increase in either mania or major depression. Excitability, hyperactivity, and elation are some characters of mania while suicidal thoughts, sadness, and hopelessness are signs of major depression. People who have bipolar disorder have unusual shifts in their mood, energy, and ability to function and they also switch between extreme happiness to extreme sadness in a matter of minutes for no particular reason. The symptoms are so severe that they damage relationships, cause poor performance at work or school, and even cause thoughts of suicide.

Bipolar disorder can begin as early as adolescence or early adulthood and may go on throughout a person’s life. Because the causes of bipolar disorder are indefinable, there is no cure at the moment.

How is Bipolar Disorder acquired

Bipolar disorder can be genetically inherited especially if there is a lineage of depression history. Other aspects that can influence bipolar disorder are surroundings and physiological factors. Neurotransmitters Dopamine, Serotonin, Norepinephrine, and GABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid also play a role in the cause of bipolar disorder because too much or too little of these certain neurotransmitters can cause an imbalance of chemicals in the brain.

Symptoms and Tests of Bipolar Disorder

Signs and symptoms of mania (or a manic episode) include:

* Increased energy, activity, and restlessness

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