You are on page 1of 10



According to Dr. Collins, bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts

in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks (

Moods vary from high elations to maniac lows. Many people have suffered from this disease

over the years. For example, my sister is 36, beautiful and intelligent. She has an amazing

husband who loves her, a beautiful 3-year-old daughter, a house that they own and another new

car. She hates herself and her life. Her moods are very sporadic and at times uncontrollable.

She goes from really high elations where she spends money on expensive things for herself, her

friends and family, telling us that she loves us and how great her life is. However when she hits

her lows, it puts her in a self-destruct mode where she becomes so toxic you dont even know

how to handle her. She locks herself in rooms crying uncontrollably and other times shes angry

at everyone and blames the world. Sometimes she provokes fights between the family members,

has sexual relations with other men although she is married, goes out, drinks and smokes

marijuana. She has attempted suicide on multiple occasions; she has been in and out of the

emergency room. My parents were on the verge of having her admitted under the Baker Act.

As an older sister growing up with her, I thought she was a spoiled brat, maybe depressed, but

mostly crazy. She was assigned a Psychiatrist by the Florida Hospital emergency room that she

had to meet with once a week. That was the beginning of new start for her. Only recently was

she diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It is a constant struggle to keep her head above the water.

Its a constant struggle for those around her. Medication is one solution as there are other

treatments for this incurable disease. This disease will be a lifelong struggle for her as well as

others who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder. For this reason, this paper aims at providing

insight into the various issues that affect people suffering from bipolar disorder.
II. Information on Bipolar Disorder

A. Symptoms of Bipolar

Normally, people suffering from this disorder experience various behaviors including

depression, substance abuse, as well as diminished interest to participate in routine activities.

Firstly, depression denotes one of the core behaviors that individuals with this disorder must

experience beginning immediately after when he or she becomes bipolar. All genders may get

the disease with both experiencing regular temper drops (Ketter, 2010). However, it is worth

noting that depression prevails more in women than in their opposite men. Similarly, such

individuals are tempted to abuse alcohol or drugs mostly during manic sequences. They tend to

believe that abusing drugs offer a way through which they can forget their underlying troubles

and subsequently control the disorder. Resultantly, those abusing drugs are more likely to be

violent, be hospitalized, or even commit suicide. Lastly, they tend to have a diminished interest

to participate in the normal day to day activities. Typically, this is because they turn to substance

abuse, become low-spirited, or alienate themselves from others to avoid working, touring, or

enjoying leisure time with their loved ones.

B. Biological reasons why an individual may exhibit behaviors related to the disorder

According to medical experts, the bipolar disorder usually runs in a family lineage because

children with parents suffering from the disorder are four to six times more likely to become

victims. Abusive experiences and harsh life events are associated with pain. For example, we

experience a lot of pain when we lose our loved ones while being nurtured in an abusive

homestead causes the same pain. Similarly, interpersonal relationships that fail to give a person
the type of fondness and love that he or she craves results in pain. Other biological factors that

may be associated with the disorder may include mental health conditions such as depression

(Adler, DelBello, & Strakowski, 2015). In all these events, individuals develop several mental

health conditions that are linked to abnormal chemical imbalances in the patients brain,

particularly imbalances of certain neurotransmitters. Imbalance of the brains chemical

messengers (neurotransmitters) makes an individual susceptible to develop bipolar because the

brain is barred from functioning in the right manner.

C. Effects of Bipolar:

1. Effects on Self

According to Zarate & Manji (2011), the physical effects caused by bipolar disorder may

originate from both the disorder itself or from indirect effects. For instance, many persons with

this disorder tend to develop substance and alcohol abuse problems as they attempt to medicate

its severe symptoms. Such people can have a negative productivity although output can

essentially rise during their hypomanic episodes. The bipolar disorder can also have effects that

are far-reaching because they can affect both the lives of the patients as well as the lives of

individuals living with them. For example, bipolar disorder interrupts work, school, physical

health, relationships, and many other aspects of everyday life. Besides, patients may undergo

social withdrawal, have trouble breathing or have poor overall health.

2. How it affects memory

The bipolar disorder may affect the memory of its victims in four different ways (Quinn,

2007). Firstly, the disorder may cause the loss of the sematic memory. It stores long term

memories dealing with definitions, words, and facts as well as other concepts making up the

general knowledge of a person regarding the universe. Additionally, the disorder may cause a
loss of the sensory memory that retains the stimulus that is received through the human senses of

smell, touch, taste, hearing, and sight. In this case, the hallucinations that are experienced by

those with the bipolar disorder may be accredited with disrupting the sensory perception of the

patient. Likewise, research shows that it may lead to the loss of procedural memory that deals

with the remembering processes. Lastly, it causes a profound problem with the brain's working

memory. Here, patients experience signaling complications in the prefrontal cortex of their brain

thereby inhibiting its communication with the amygdala. Eventually, this leads to the

development of mood swings while disrupting information processing and executive functioning.

D. Biological influences on the memory of individuals with this disorder

According to Goodwin & Gary (2010), first-degree members of a given family with

bipolar disorder patients have a significantly higher probability of suffering from the illness than

the others. For example, children with one bipolar parent are four to six times higher likely to

develop a similar disorder. The likelihood is higher in instances where both biological parents

are known to have the disorder. To be exact, siblings in this category are 50%-70% likely to

develop the bipolar disorder. The genetic bipolar disorder makes identical twins have a superior

degree of concordance than fraternal twins. In this case, concordance refers to the appearance of

the bipolar trait by both siblings that make the twin pair. However, Collins (2009) claims that

there is no research to show exactly how many or which genes are involved.

E. How altered states of consciousness affect individuals with the disorder such as:

1. Sleep

Primarily, sleep is usually interrupted whenever any one of us is having contrasting

mental changes and rhythms of the body. For people with bipolar disorder, the disorder causes

them to have frequent loss of attention in almost all activities that they relished before. They may
lose appetite while the unbalanced state of their state may result in the development of mood

swings. Additionally, Quinn (2007) claims that individuals in this category may also portray a

reduced want for sleep thus raising a sense or consideration that their thoughts are out of their


2. Psychoactive drugs

Psychoactive drugs denote any chemical content that human beings consume to pursue

their central nervous system. However, we must note that individuals apply these drugs

intentionally aiming at changing their state of awareness. It is bound to produce several mental

outcomes because they are linked with both bodily and mental habituation. In this case, it is

worth noting that psychoactive drugs modify the believing, temper, sensory feel, as well as the

sensing of the affected person. Hence, all these affect the overall behavior of the affected person

(Ketter, 2010).

3. Meditation

Meditation refers to the exercise that a person undergoes when trying to concentrate on a

given issue (Goodwin & Gary, 2010). As such, people with the bipolar disorder are fond of

meditating whenever they are interested in heightening their consciousness. Also, these persons

may also meditate when he or she is trying to get hold of their psychological or bodily process

and eventually cut down the associated tensions.

4. Hypnosis

In a changed state, Adler et al. (2015) proposes that hypnosis may be essential as it stands

to get a person to be open to suggestions. Resultantly, this may be crucial in his or her disorder

management because it may boost rest, drowsiness, as well as the bodily sensation that the

person should feel. Hence, it helps the victims to empathize and develop further hold over their
emotions, behavior, as well as his or her bodily eudemonia. For this reason, hypnosis is used a

treatment for those with a broad diversity of conditions and illnesses.

F. Memory distortions commonly involved with the disorder

A significant percentage of patients suffering from a bipolar disorder demonstrate

heightened creativity or productivity during their manic phases. However, it is imperative to note

that they more than often experience impaired judgment or distorted thinking characterized by

various manic episodes. For instance, these individuals may spend money with irresponsibly and

thus causing financial ruin in the long run. Also, it is common to see them get paranoid, angry, or

even violent where they are extremely manic. Lastly, they may express promiscuous behaviors

openly without any regrets. Afterward, these behaviors are succeeded by guilt and low self-

esteem during the depressed phases (Zarate & Manji, 2011).

G. Select two personality theories:

There are many theories that explain the cause of bipolar disorder including the

psychodynamic and the social-cognitive theories. Firstly, the psychodynamic theory states that

the dynamics of the manic-depressive are all connected by a single common pathway. The

proponents of the concept argue that depression is an expression of the personal loses such as the

loss of ones self-esteem or the manifestation of a sense of worthlessness. Hence, Ketter (2010)

suggests that mania acts as a defensive way against the existing feelings of depression. Here, it

means that the unconscious and conscious parts of the mind can come into conflict with one

another thus producing a phenomenon denoted as repression. In this state, a patient is unaware of

possessing certain disturbing motives, desires, or wishes although they influence him or her

negatively in a similar manner. Therefore, the theory holds that patients must effectively resolve

their early developmental conflicts to inhibit repression and attain mental health.
Secondly, the social-cognitive theory holds that social cognitive skills enable human

beings to comprehend or judge the world that we live in from an empathic, interactive, and

affective perspective properly. Social cognition has been proven to be affected in

neurodevelopmental disorders including autism as well as critical psychiatric conditions. Some

psychiatric conditions in this class may include unipolar depression and as schizophrenia. Social

cognition might also be involved in the popular sensitization phenomena associated with the

bipolar illness. Primarily, bipolar persons with affected social cognition abilities may get tangled

in stressful social events often. Such a view is correct because these individuals are unable to

read what is happening around them, weigh the risks associated with an underlying social

situation, or even to make an informed decision derived from that situation. Therefore, this

heightened likelihood for undesirable life events may trigger numerous episodes and, ultimately,

worsen the progression of the disorder (Adler et al. 2015).

Compare and contrast two personality theories:

There are a few similarities between the psychodynamic approach and social cognitive

therapy. To start with, the schemas were placed in us at a very tender age. Hence, they stem from

our childhood making this learned behavior and response relate to the psychodynamic

intervention of connecting childhood actions and the feelings allied to a patients current

problems. Goodwin & Gary (2010) proposes that another similarity stems from the realization

that change could ensue through the detection of schemas. Comparatively, this is similar to

bringing the patients unconscious into his or her conscious awareness.

However, the two theories present several differences in their application. The

psychodynamic theory inspires the patient to unearth his or her early childhood and past aiming

at bringing back the memories of noteworthy events (Quinn, 2007). Contrariwise, social
cognitive therapy emphases on the current happenings and is goal orientated. Secondly, the

psychodynamic theory claims that humans are being driven by our unconscious desires while the

social cognitive therapy states that human behavior is the outcome of a learned response. The

psychodynamic theory puts the client at risk of becoming dependent on their counselors while

the patients are taught to be independent in the social cognitive therapy.

H. Treatment:

1. Evaluation of the effectiveness of two different therapies

A. Medications

Most people known to have bipolar disorder require medication so as to keep its symptoms

under control. Experts argue that medication denotes the foundation for the treatment of bipolar

disorder. Continuing medication on a continuous basis reduces the rate of recurrence and severity

of bipolar mood episodes. Sometimes, Collins (2009) posits that medication may thwart them

completely. For instance, taking a mood stabilizing medication may assist in minimizing the

lows and highs of bipolar disorder as well as keeping the symptoms under control. Besides,

medication stands to bring depression and mania under control while preventing a relapse once

the mood has stabilized.

B. Psychotherapy

According to Goodwin & Gary (2010), therapy helps the victims to deal with their bipolar

disorder and the complications it causes in their lives. As such, working with therapists is

essential because one can learn how to cope with undesirable feelings or troubles, repair his or

her relationships, regulate moods, or manage stress. During therapy, the parties may talk about

feelings, behaviors, or thoughts causing the problems. Talk therapy often helps the patients to

understand and expectantly master any difficulties hurting their ability to function well in their
lives and career. Lastly, it enables one to stay on his or her medication besides maintaining a

positive self-image.

III. Conclusion

Our body is prone to many different diseases and ailments, many of which we outgrow,

overcome or able to treat. However, one of the most intriguing diseases is that of the mind. In

modern times, medical practitioners have carried out exhaustive research on the bipolar disorder.

Although it cannot be cured, it is a life long struggle that can be managed. Apart from having

problems with finances, school, work, and relationships, patients may also experience issues with

drug and alcohol abuse. As a result, the depression stage of the disorder gets severe and the risk

of suicidal attempt increases. Zarate & Manji (2011) asserts that suicide attempts associated

with bipolar disorder are fatal and are the leading cause of death among the patients. It is worth

noting that manic-depressive illness does not discriminate along ethnicity, age or speed.

Therefore, it is harmless to say that more research is still needed to come up with a cure for this

hazardous disorder.

Adler, C. M., DelBello, M. P., & Strakowski, S. M. (2015). Bipolar Disorder in Youth :

Presentation, Treatment and Neurobiology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Collins, F. (n.d.). National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved September 24, 2015, from

Goodwin, G., & Gary, S. (2010). Bipolar Disorder (2nd ed.). Abingdon: HEALTH Press.

Ketter, T. A. (2010). Handbook of Diagnosis and Treatment of Bipolar Disorders (1st ed.).

Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Plunkett, J. M. (2011). Bipolar disorder causes, diagnosis and treatment. New York: Nova

Science Publishers.

Quinn, B. (2007). Bipolar disorder. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.

Zarate, C. A., & Manji, H. K. (2011). Behavioral Neurobiology of Bipolar Disorder and Its

Treatment. Heidelberg: Springer.