Culture and Disease
Bipolar Disorder in the United States
Briana M. Bowers
October 19, 2011
BIPOLAR DISORDER IN THE UNITED STATES
It is well known that diseases come in many forms. Whether the illness is physical or mental, the treatment for one should be as equally important as the other. Mental illnesses can affect the way one lives their lives. Depending on the severity of an individual’s mental illness can sometimes develop a physical disability if untreated. Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness defined as “a manic-depressive illness. It is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out ...view middle of the document...
Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (BP-NOS) is described as a person experiencing symptoms of the mental illness, but does not meet the criteria found in Bipolar I or II (symptoms do not last as long or some are not experienced at all). “Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder is when a person has four or more episodes of major depression, mania, hypomania, or mixed symptoms within a year. Some people experience more than one episode a week, or even within one day. Rapid cycling seems to be more common in people who have severe Bipolar Disorder. It also affects more women than men” (NIMH, 2008).
Although there is no proven cause for the illness, scientists agree the factors that contribute to the diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder are mainly genetics and environment. Genes play a huge role in the development of Bipolar Disorder in a person. “Children with a parent or a sibling who has Bipolar Disorder are four to six times more likely to develop the illness, compared with children who do not have a family history of Bipolar Disorder. However, most children with a family history of Bipolar Disorder will not develop the illness” (NIMH, 2008). Other illnesses that can sometimes coexist with Bipolar Disorder include: Substance abuse, Anxiety Disorders (such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, etc.), and are also at high risk for Thyroid Disease, migraine headaches, Heart Disease, Diabetes, Obesity, and other physical illnesses.
According to a recent story broadcasted on CNN, “Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness that usually lasts a lifetime and unfortunately there is no cure. However, there is treatment to help stabilize the rapid mood changes that a person will experience with Bipolar Disorder” (Gardner, 2011). Because Bipolar Disorder is a lifelong mental illness, long term treatment must be implemented. Medications and psychotherapy are the most common options for treatment.
Americans have generally accepted the use of medications as a treatment to any physical or mental illness that they endure. Several medicines have been created for the medical treatment of mental illnesses to help suppress the symptoms that may have interfered with an individual’s daily life. Different medications are prescribed for different symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. For mood stabilization (to help maintain a healthy balance between manic and depressive mood swings): Lithium, Depakote, Lamictal, Neurontin, Topamax, and Trileptal are the most common medicines prescribed. Zyprexa, Abilify, Seroquel, Risperdal, and Geodon are the most common medicines for Atypical Antipsychotics, also known as the manic or mixed episodes a person may experience. Antidepressant medicines are also commonly used to treat the symptoms of depression experienced in Bipolar Disorder. Fluoxetine, Paxil, Zoloft, and Wellbutrin are the most popular antidepressant medicines used to maintain the depressed mood swings. Antidepressant...