Symptoms and Treatments of Bipolar Disorder

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Bipolar disorder, also commonly known as “manic depression” is an illness that affects approximately 2.5% of Americans and is said to be the fifth most common disability in the world (Delta Medical Center, 2019).

A large group of people do not realise the symptoms and it goes unnoticed in lots of cases. Bipolar disorder does not have a cure, but it does have a lot of different forms of treatment to help maintain a more stable personal environment for people who go through the episodes of depression and sometimes episodes of “mania” (Burgess, 2019).


Bipolar disorder is diagnosed by using different stages that are determined by the severity of the symptom’s patients have been observed to have. (Galan, 2019). Bipolar I disorder is the more severe type that is described as having at least one episode of mania and an episode of depression.

Bipolar II disorder is a less serious version that means you have had an episode of depression and what is called an episode of hypomania which is just a less extreme version of mania. One related illness called Cyclothymic disorder is a much less serious version of bipolar II disorder and the symptoms cannot be considered severe enough to be considered mania or depression.

The symptoms you can experience as a cause of the depression is plentiful, some of the main ones are feeling very tired, being worried constantly and a loss of interest in life (Delta medical center, 2019).

On the other end, you could be experiencing symptoms of mania which include an overall much bigger amount of self confidence, reckless spending and a much-decreased need for sleep as if you feel very hyperactive constantly.

The thing that makes bipolar disorder different from just depression and mania is that it can be both. Symptoms can range from going through severe depression one day to being very hyper and over confident multiple days or even a few hours after. It can be described as being on sort of a roller coaster, one moment you could be feeling great and very hyper to being barely able to move due to the tiredness that can come with depression.

If left untreated the lack of sleep can potentially make bipolar disorder worse (WebMD Medical Reference, 2019) The symptoms can get worse because the more a person with bipolar disorder worries about sleep, the less sleep they tend to get due to the anxiety they start to feel. The lack of sleep a bipolar person gets also diminishes heavily when they get in a manic state.

What is it Like to Live with Bipolar Disorder?

Living with bipolar disorder is no easy task. Many people say its almost like your fighting for control of yourself at some points (Schuster, 2018). The mood swings associated with bipolar are described as being much worse then the average mood swings an ordinary person would get. You could go from being super excited about everything to feeling completely useless and worthless.

It is also very hard to live with as it can be very hard to get up some mornings causing people with bipolar disorder to miss work and other important events. The depression associated with bipolar disorder can make everything sort of feel like a weight and it makes people with it feel so tired that it makes them basically attached to their bed.

What Causes Bipolar Disorder?

Scientist aren’t exactly sure what the cause of bipolar disorder is, but they do have some ideas concerning the brain. Bipolar disorder has some similarities with schizophrenia, and they are both believed to be caused by most of the same types of neurotransmitters and are genetically linked (Sanders, 2019).

There are three main neurotransmitters that they believe have an effect causing bipolar disorder because they’re linked to bodily functions such as feelings and are all connected to the brain. (WebMD Medical Reference, 2019) The neurotransmitters are serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine.

Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that decreases throughout your life as you get older. (Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia, 2018) It is a neurotransmitter that transport information between neurons. A disturbance in the amount of dopamine someone has can cause many issues and one of them is bipolar disorder. The reason that dopamine is linked to bipolar disorder is because it can affect your planning and how you pay attention to things.

Serotonin is a chemical that transports messages from your brain to your body. (McIntosh, 2019) Your amount of serotonin is in relation to your mood so if your levels of serotonin are low it can lead to depression and other symptoms. Levels of serotonin can be increased using medications called SSRIs.

Noradrenaline influences the sympathy that people feel and helps to maintain a stable inner environment (Goldstein, 2010). If this is affected, it can cause problems with how people act and is a potential contributor to bipolar disorder. A lack of sympathy can come with bipolar disorder in episodes of mania.

Is it Passed Down through Genetics?

Bipolar disorder is potentially thought out to be passed down through genetics as many studies have shown connections and links between family members. These studies have shown that the chances of someone growing up and having bipolar disorder and other psychotic disorders are greatly improved if your family has a history of mental illnesses (WebMD Medical Reference, 2019).

One study that greatly backs the fact that bipolar disorder could be hereditary is twin studies that have been conducted. In multiple studies of twins in which one has bipolar disorder, it quite often means the other twin will have a much greater chance of conducting the same disorder. It is said to be up to 70% more likely that the other identical twin will also get bipolar disorder.

It is said that if either one of your parents have bipolar disorder that it could greatly improve the risk of you inheriting the same genes that cause bipolar disorder.

How does Bipolar Disorder Effect the Brain?

Bipolar disorder can have big effects on your brain because it can affect the amount of attention and cause anxiety in patients (MacGill, 2019). Bipolar disorder effects multiple parts of the brain as well, the parts that are possibly affected by bipolar disorder are known as the prefrontal cortex, the hippocampus, and the anterior cingulate cortex.
The prefrontal cortex plays a role in how we go about planning and it also plays a role inn memory and many other important parts of the brain.

The hippocampus has a very important role in the long-term memory that the brain stores (Mandal, 2019). The hippocampus is a small organ in the brain that is apart of the limbic system.

The anterior cingulate cortex controls many emotions and is located in the brain (Stevens and others, 2011) It primarily controls uncomfortable emotions and has a big effect on mental health. It also works with the prefrontal cortex in order to control memories.


Bipolar disorder has many treatments because of the varying conditions that patients can be in. Most treatments for bipolar disorder are along the lines of anti depressants and stabilizing medicines to help people live more stable lives. There’re treatment options to help with both the mania and depression that can come with bipolar disorder and they can cover the multiple different stages that there is.

It is crucial that bipolar disorder is treated as quick as possible (Moronell & Roizen, 2011). If bipolar disorder is left untreated the symptoms can worsen by large amounts. The episodes of mania and depression can also take a major toll on your toll on your personal life if left untreated. There have been many reports of people who have lost their jobs due to the fact that it can affect your decision making. This can also cause reckless spending.

There is no known cure for bipolar disorder; however, it can be managed accordingly with the use of medications (Burgess, 2019). The medications can help people with this disorder live a relatively normal life. Doses of medicines are carefully carried out in order to make sure that high doses won’t pose as a threat to patients as they can be toxic (WebMD Medical Reference, 2019).

Since there is so many types of medicine that can be prescribed, they must be carefully measured and picked out to match the symptoms that the patient is enduring.

Quetiapine is often prescribed to people diagnosed with bipolar I and bipolar II disorder (AHFS Consumer Medication Information, 2019). Quetiapine is a tablet that takes a while to dissolve and is commonly paired with other medications to be the most effective as possible.

They are used to combat the effects of both mania and depressions in bipolar patients. This type of tablet is in a category named atypical antipsychotics and can be taken up to multiple times a day.

Chlorpromazine comes in a tablet form and mainly prescribed to people with symptoms surrounding manic episodes. It is not used as a form of treatment for depression. Chlorpromazine is commonly used to treat hyperactivity in children, but it used for bipolar disorder as well.

Lithium is another important form of medication for bipolar disorder. It primarily deals with the manic episodes caused by bipolar disorder. It also helps some to deal with depression. The use of lithium to treat patients with bipolar disorder has greatly reduced suicide rates (WebMD Medical Reference, 2019). Doctors think that the way lithium works is by strengthening nerve cell connections in the brain. Lithium does come with some side effects to most people who take it for the first few weeks regularly, although, after a period of time the side effects diminish and become much less noticeable.


There are many controversies surrounding treatments for disorders like bipolar disorder (Nauert, 2018). Many people think they need to be looked into further as to make sure there is not any wrong diagnoses as it sometimes hard to diagnose bipolar II because the mood swings are much less apparent.

Wrong diagnoses for bipolar disorder can result in over the top treatments or potentially giving the wrong treatment for what the patient needs. One problem is how in some cases of bipolar disorder only the depression ends up getting treated.

Treating bipolar disorder by only using anti depressant drugs can cause the manic episodes of bipolar disorder to worsen over time. If patients are on mood stabilizers which is the proper treatment for bipolar disorder, but the depression is still showing, it is always possible to add anti depressant pills.

Another controversy surrounding bipolar disorder is who should be treating it. General practitioners sometimes treat bipolar patients, but they should not be allowed to (tracy, 2015). Bipolar disorder should be handled by specialist as it a complex disorder. In many cases of when a general practitioner treats a patient with bipolar disorder, they end up giving the patient anti depressants, which is not good at all as mentioned earlier in this text. It is heavily suggested that you go see a specialist if about treatment for bipolar disorder.

Is Bipolar Disorder more Common in Men or Women?

Bipolar disorder is around equally as common in men or women (Sachs, 2008). Although, it may appear as women are more likely to have bipolar disorder as they tend to get treatment more often then men.

However, in a recent study, it has shown that women are more likely to experience depression symptoms and that men are more likely to experience the effects of mania (Pederson, 2018). In addition to this, it has also been said that women with bipolar disorder have a higher tendency to attempt suicide when compared to men.


In conclusion, bipolar disorder is a very complex disease that effects many people. It requires many different treatments like quetiapine and lithium for the many forms that it comes in like bipolar I and bipolar II (Galan, 2019). While there is no cure for bipolar disorder, many new medicines are being developed to help combat bipolar disorder and to make a better life for the people who have it.

Cite this paper

Symptoms and Treatments of Bipolar Disorder. (2020, Sep 26). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/symptoms-and-treatments-of-bipolar-disorder/

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