Bipolar Disorder

Mood Disorders


Bipolar Disorder is in a category of mood disorders that is marked by dramatic changes in mood, energy and behavior.
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(Farrukh, 2008)


Bipolar disorder is very well known, but most people don't understand what a bipolar person actually acts like. Not every person who has this illness acts the same way, there are two main descriptions of how a person acts that has this illness, manic and depression episodes. A manic episode is when the person is overly joyful or in an overexcited state. A depression episode is when the person is extremely sad or in a hopeless state. Sometimes an episode includes both manic and depressive symptoms.

How Common is Bipolar Disorder?

About 5.7 million American adults have this illness. Most people that have bipolar disorder and 18 years or older, but this illness can start showing signs as early as early childhood and as late as a persons 40's and 50's. This illness is not selective towards any ethnicity, gender, age or social class.

(Bipolar Disorder)

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of mania or a manic episode include:

Mood Changes

  • A long period of feeling "high," or an overly happy or outgoing mood

  • Extreme irritability

Behavioral Changes

  • Talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another, having racing thoughts

  • Being easily distracted

  • Increasing activities, such as taking on new projects

  • Being overly restless

  • Sleeping little or not being tired

  • Having an unrealistic belief in one's abilities

  • Behaving impulsively and engaging in pleasurable, high-risk behaviors

Symptoms of depression or a depressive episode include:

Mood Changes

  • An overly long period of feeling sad or hopeless

  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex.

Behavioral Changes

  • Feeling tired or "slowed down"

  • Having problems concentrating, remembering, and making decisions

  • Being restless or irritable

  • Changing eating, sleeping, or other habits

  • Thinking of death or suicide, or attempting suicide.

(Bipolar Disorder, Signs and Symptoms)

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(RM, J 2010)


Mood Stabilizers

  • Lithium is used for both manic and depressive episodes

Side Effects

Lithium -


*Dry mouth


*Joint or muscle pain

Common side effects of mood stabilizers

Drowsiness, Dizziness, Headache, Diarrhea, Constipation, Heartburn, Mood swings, Stuffy or runny nose, or other cold-like symptoms.

Atypical anti-psychotics - these medications are often taken with other medications, such as antidepressants

    • Atypical anti-psychotics are used to relieve symptoms of manic episodes.

Side effects

  • you should not drive until you have adjusted to your medication

  • Dizziness when changing positions

  • Blurred vision

  • Rapid heartbeat

  • Can cause major weight gain and changes in your metabolism

Psychotherapy - when done with medication, this can be a very effective treatment.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), helps patients learn to change harmful or negative thought patterns and behaviors.

  • Family-focused therapy, helps enhance family coping strategies, improves communication among family members.

  • Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy, helps patients improve their relationships with others and manage their daily routines.

  • Psycho-education, teaches patients about the illness and its treatment. Helps them recognize when they might have an episode so that they can get help before it happens.

Side effects

  • None that have been recorded/common.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) - this is used for patients who are not affected by medication and psychotherapy.

  • "shock therapy"

  • Before ECT is administered, a patient takes a muscle relaxant and is put under brief anesthesia.

  • last from 30–90 seconds

    • patients usually recover within 5–15 minutes and are able to go home the same day

  • ECT is usually not used as a first treatment option.

Short-term effects

  • confusion

  • disorientation

  • memory loss

Herbal Supplements - not much research has been conducted on herbal or natural supplements and how they may affect bipolar disorder St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum), often marketed as a natural antidepressant, may cause a switch to mania in some people with bipolar disorder.

Side Effects

  • Be sure to tell your doctor about all prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, or supplements you are taking. Certain medications and supplements taken together may cause unwanted or dangerous effects.

(Bipolar DisorderTreatments)

Famous people?

  1. Demi Lovato- American actress, singer and writer, revealed her illness in April 2011 in an interview with People magazine - what does she say about it?

    1. Three months after leaving a residential treatment center, teen star Demi Lovato is bravely opening up about her private struggles – not only with anorexia and bulimia, but also with bipolar disorder.

"I never found out until I went into treatment that I was bipolar," Lovato told PEOPLE in a candid interview that took place last month in her L.A.-area home.

But during her three-month stay at a treatment center where she underwent therapy for anorexia, bulimia and cutting, Lovato, 18, who said she's "battled depression from a very young age," discovered why she was having trouble controlling her emotions and actions. "Looking back it makes sense," she says of her diagnosis. "There were times when I was so manic, I was writing seven songs in one night and I'd be up until 5:30 in the morning."

"I feel like I am in control now where my whole life I wasn't in control," she adds.

Now Lovato is taking the same brave step while discussing the "darkest time" in her life. "What's important for me now," she says, "is to help others."

(Demi Lovato, 2011)

(Focka, 2012)

  1. Marilyn Monroe

    1. “Marilyn Monroe

    2. Many of the questions surrounding the actress’s life and death are still unanswered—and are likely to remain that way. But Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days, a 2001 documentary, shed some light on her drug use and mental health. “We knew that she was a manic depressive,” Monroe’s physician, Hyman Engelberg, MD, says in the film. “That always meant that there were emotional problems and that she could have big swings in her moods.” (You can watch clips of the film.)”

Marilyn Monroe would go through many erratic mood swings and had problems with drugs and overusing them. Monroe was a very difficult person to work with because of her disorder, most people did not understand why she couldn't just do her job like most other actors. She would need to leave in the middle of a scene so that she would not break down in front of everyone.

(Marilyn Monroe)

(Marilyn Monroe, 2010)

Works Consulted

(Bipolar Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved December 4, 2014, from

RM, J (2010) Bipolar,

Farrukh, (2008) Happy&Sad

Marilyn Monroe. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2014, from,,20307117_6,00.html

Hotline Information. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2014, from

Britney Spears on Anxiety: 'I Turn Into a Different Person. Bipolar Disorder.' (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2014, from

List of people with bipolar disorder. (2014, May 12). Retrieved December 8, 2014, from

Focka, (2012) Demi Lovato @ Credicard Hall

marilyn monroe, (2010) marilyn monroe*