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Research-Based Interventions on Mood Disorders

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Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that affects many people without bias to age, gender,
or race. Bipolar disorder is characterized by episodes of mania, such as extreme happiness, and
depression (NIMH, n.d.). It is a neurological disorder that affects a person’s quality of life and
interrupts daily living. A person suffering from bipolar disorder has drastic mood swings, ranging
from severe depression to extreme happiness within a matter of minutes. There are four types of
bipolar disorder: type 1, type 2, mixed, and rapid cycling.
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a neurological disorder (NIMH,
n.d.). Within minutes the mood can go from extreme happiness to severe depression. The
established criteria for the manic period include several days of the person’s mood being “too
happy, high, excited, irritable, or angry for most of the time, day or night” (Bipolar Disorder and
Genetics, n.d., para 3). There must be at least three of the following symptoms: “decreased need
for sleep, racing thoughts, talkativeness, inflated self-esteem or grandiosity, distractibility,
increased physical, mental, sexual activity, or reckless behavior” (Bipolar Disorder and Genetics,
n.d., para. 3). Other symptoms are hearing voices, having visions, or strange behavior.
Bipolar I disorder is characterized by having a single manic episode without a history of
depression. Manic or mixed episodes last not less than seven days. Hospitalization is required
when manic symptoms are severe. Bipolar II disorder patients exhibit a pattern of hypomanic
episodes and depressive symptoms, but on a lower scale of severity (NIMH, n.d.). Mixed
episodes occur when symptoms of depression and mania or hypomania occur at the same time.
“During a mixed state, you might feel very agitated, have trouble sleeping, experience major
changes in appetite, and have suicidal thoughts” (NIMH, n.d.). Feelings of hopelessness or
sadness while feeling extremely energized are signs of mixed episodes of bipolar disorder.

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“Rapid-cycling bipolar disorder occurs when a person has four or more episodes of major
depression, mania, hypomania, or mixed states, all within a year” (NIMH, n.d.). Rapid-cycling is
more commonly diagnosed in women than men and occurs more often when the first episode is
experienced at a younger age (NIMH, n.d.).
The cause of bipolar disorder is unknown at this time; however, several factors seem to
trigger bipolar episodes. Bipolar disorder tends to run in families. “Children of parents with
manic depression are at a higher risk of developing the disorder, even when they are adopted or
raised by parents who do not have this condition” (Bipolar Disorder and Genetics, n.d., para. 7).
Certain viral infections and toxic agents also may play a role in the development of bipolar
disorder. Other factors include periods of elevated stress, drug or alcohol abuse, and major life
changes. An imbalance of neurotransmitters and hormones are also involved in the development
of this disorder.
Physical changes in the brain are shown in individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
With the use of brain-imaging tools, such as the fMRI and PET, researchers are able to study
how the brains of healthy people differ from those with mental disorders (NIMH, n.d.). One MRI
study found that adults with bipolar disorder typically have a small, less functioning prefrontal
cortex. The prefrontal cortex matures during adolescence suggesting that this abnormal
development may be the reason bipolar disorder emerges during adolescent years.
Bipolar disorder can occur at anytime but primarily begins between adolescence and mid
to late 20s. Over four percent of the population of the United States is affected by bipolar
disorder. Internationally, the rate is less than three percent (“Arch Gen Psychiatry,” 2011).
Women are more likely to experience rapid-cycling than men and have more frequent, longer
lasting episodes. Misdiagnosis is common with bipolar disorder. Women are commonly

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diagnosed with major depression and men are commonly diagnosed with schizophrenia. Children
are difficult to diagnose because symptoms are similar to many other childhood disorders.
Treatments for bipolar disorder include a combination of medication and psychotherapy.
Common types medications used for treatment are mood stabilizers, atypical antipsychotics, and
antidepressants. Mood stabilizers include:
Lithium: used as a mood stabilizer
Depakote: used as treatment for mania
Lamotrigine: used to treat depressive symptoms
Neurontin, Topiramate, and Oxcarbazipine: anticonvulsant medication used for
mood stabilizers
Atypical antipsychotics include:
Olanzapine: used in combination with antidepressant, helps relieve symptoms of
severe mania or psychosis
Aripiprazole: used to treat manic or mixed episodes
Quetiapine, risperidone, and ziprasidone: also used to relieve symptoms of manic
episodes
Antidepressants include:
Fluoxetine
Paroxetine
Sertraline
Bupropion

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Bipolar DisorderBipolar disorder is a mood disorder that affects many people without bias to age, gender, or race. Bipolar disorder is characterized by episodes of mania, such as extreme happiness, and depression (NIMH, n.d.). It is a neurological disorder that affects a person's quality of life and interrupts daily living. A person suffering from bipolar disorder has drastic mood swings, ranging from severe depression to extreme happiness within a matter of minutes. There are four types of bipolar disorder: type 1, type 2, mixed, and rapid cycling. Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a neurological disorder (NIMH, n.d.). Within minutes the mood can go from extreme happiness to severe depression. The established criteria for the manic period include several days of the person's mood being "too happy, high, excited, irritable, or angry for most of the time, day or night" (Bipolar Disorder and Genetics, n.d., para 3). There must be at least three of the following symptoms: "decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, talkativeness, inflated self-esteem or grandiosity, distractibility, increased physical, mental, sexual activity, or reckless behavior" (Bipolar Disorder and Genetics, n.d., para. 3). Other symptoms are hearing voices, having visions, or strange behavior.Bipolar I disorder is characterized by having a single manic episode without a history of depression. Manic or mixed episodes last not less than seven days. Hospitalization is required when man ...
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