Everyone experiences times of periodic emotional highs and lows as we move through life events. Those who suffer from Bipolar Disorder (BD) tend to experience these highs and lows on a more extreme scale with each episode typically lasting longer than a week. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are four bipolar diagnosis; Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Bipolar Not Otherwise Specified, and Cyclothymic Bipolar (National Institute of Mental Health, n.d.). The nature of the symptoms determines which of these four diagnoses the patient is suffering from. BD I & II are the more common diagnoses; Bipolar Not Otherwise Specified and Cyclothymic Bipolar are less severe and do not experience symptoms that meet the diagnostic requirements set by the Diagnostic Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders. BD affects the individual as a whole, affecting individuals physically, cognitively and socially.
On the outside, most individuals suffering from BD do not display many physical signs or symptoms of the disease. Many are attractive, intelligent, charming and look like anyone not dealing with a mental illness. However, BD does take its physical toll on individuals diagnosed with the disorder.
Physical effects of BD vary from case to case and depend on the extent to which the individual has suffered without proper treatment. Individuals who are experiencing a manic episode tend to take part in risky behaviors such as speeding while driving and divulge in substance abuse (Burgess, 2006). Driving recklessly could result in a car accident leaving the individual incapacitated. Drug and alcohol abuse leads to pancreas and liver damage from extensive use. Once a manic episode ends the individual s...
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...racting with the outside world (Burgess, 2006). They lose interest in things they at one time enjoyed and allow themselves to become trapped in their mental prison.
Scientists and researchers are still unclear of the exact cause of bipolar disorder and are still developing treatments to help individuals cope with the illness. Proper treatment and early diagnosis are essential for those who suffer from the disease. As with many other mental illnesses, many individuals are misdiagnosed and receive medication that can cause patients to experience manic episodes and spiral further downward. Support and understanding are essential for those who suffer from BD to prevent the individual from harming themselves and going without proper treatment. The more people are made aware of the illness, the more people can be treated and the social stigma can be eradicated.
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