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Bipolar Disorder: Cause Of Great Madness Or Great Genius?

Is bipolar disorder the cause of great madness or great genius? The symptoms of this mental illness may also be considered as the driving forces behind some of the most gifted and talented people to grace our society. Although individuals with this illness may have some obstacles to overcome, it can be accomplished. With all of the treatment programs that are widely available, people have many options and methods to turn to for help.

Bipolar disorder, also referred to as manic depression, is a mood disorder. A person with bipolar disorder will have extreme mood shifts between mania, a state of highly elevated euphoric feelings, and depression, a state of despondency and despair. These shifts can take weeks, days, or even minutes to happen. The period between shifts will vary for each individual, depending on the severity of the disorder (Williams & Wilkins, 1999, pp. 5-35).

Approximately two percent of adults have this mental illness, and about fifteen percent of those adults will attempt suicide. Bipolar disorder affects both men and women and the affected rates are similar between different cultures and countries. Most people with bipolar disorder experience their first mood episode in their twenties, although it is not uncommon to experience the first episode during childhood or in late life (Bi-polar Disorder: Innovative Research in Health, 2000).

Bipolar disorder is not a curable disorder, although it is treatable. Bipolar is "among the most treatable of the psychiatric illnesses" (Manic-Depressive/Bipolar Disorder, 2000). It is important for people who believe that they may need help to seek it as soon as possible because the earlier that bipolar disorder can be diagnosed the earlier treatments can start.

Even after experiencing an episode, even after sensing that something may be wrong, individuals who seek help may not initially receive the correct diagnosis from a medical professional. Because of the similarity of symptoms, bipolar disorder may initially be misdiagnosed as panic disorder, schizophrenia, or attention deficit disorder (Bi-polar Disorder: Innovative Research in Health, 2000). Bipolar may also be difficult to diagnose because the person seeking help may not be telling the doctor everything the doctor needs to know to correctly identify the problem. Medical professionals may only diagnose a person as having depressio...

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