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The phenomenon of bipolar affective disorder has been a mystery since the 16thcentury History has shown that this affliction can appear in almost anyone Even thegreat painter Vincent Van Gogh is believed to have had bipolar disorder It is clearthat in our society many people live with bipolar disorder however despite theabundance of people suffering from the it we are still waiting for definiteexplanations for the causes and cure The one fact of which we are painfully awareis that bipolar disorder severely undermines its victims ability to obtain andmaintain social and occupational success Because bipolar disorder has suchdebilitating symptoms it is imperative that we remain vigilant in the quest forexplanations of its causes and treatment Affective disorders are characterized by a smorgasbord of symptoms that canbe broken into manic and depressive episodes The depressive episodes arecharacterized by intense feelings of sadness and despair that can become feelings ofhopelessness and helplessness Some of the symptoms of a depressive episodeinclude anhedonia disturbances in sleep and appetite psycomoter retardation lossof energy feelings of worthlessness guilt difficulty thinking indecision andrecurrent thoughts of death and suicide Hollandsworth Jr 1990 The manicepisodes are characterized by elevated or irritable mood increased energydecreased need for sleep poor judgment and insight and often reckless orirresponsible behavior Hollandsworth Jr 1990 Bipolar affective disorder affectsapproximately one percent of the population approximately three million people inthe United States It is presented by both males and females Bipolar disorderinvolves episodes of mania and depression These episodes may alternate withprofound depressions characterized by a pervasive sadness almost inability tomove hopelessness and disturbances in appetite sleep in concentrations and Bipolar disorder is diagnosed if an episode of mania occurs whetherdepression has been diagnosed or not Goodwin Guze 1989 p 11 Mostcommonly individuals with manic episodes experience a period of depressionSymptoms include elated expansive or irritable mood hyperactivity pressure ofspeech flight of ideas inflated self esteem decreased need for sleep distractibilityand excessive involvement in reckless activities Hollandsworth Jr 1990
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