Bipolar disorder is a severe mental illness characterized by extreme episodes of mania, which are referred to as highs, and depression, which is referred to as lows. It presents a challenge for individuals in terms of maintaining regular lifestyles since new moods may last from days to weeks or months. Bipolar individuals tend to have an increased potential for developing high-risk behaviors, including suicide (Gooding, Wolford & Gooding, 2019).
Bipolar disorder is a pervasive condition that significantly affects the quality of life of the population diagnosed with it. According to the latest statistics, the average age when individuals get diagnosed with bipolar is 25 years. The disorder affects men and women equally, which means that there is no predisposition of either gender for developing bipolar. Today, there are around 10 million Americans diagnosed with bipolar disorder, 83% of whom exhibit severe symptoms, which is a major challenge for the sphere of healthcare.
General behaviors range from one individual to another. The overall presence of the disorder is characterized by dramatic mood and behavioral changes occurring sporadically, and changes in behaviors can affect personality. Manic behaviors often include happiness, hyperactivity, little need for sleep, rapid speech, and racing thoughts. Manic behaviors include sadness, lacking energy or interest in everyday activities, as well as feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. The polar episodes are recurrent and are replaced by each other depending on specific conditions.
The causes of the bipolar disorder remain not fully understood by the scientific community. However, genetic factors can influence the occurrence of bipolar disorder because 60 to 80% of individuals diagnosed with the disorder have biological relatives with mood disorders (Gooding et al., 2019). It is also common for several generations to be affected by the disorder. There is a risk of further increase of bipolar symptoms in the case if relatives had an increase in symptoms over time.
Biological Impact on Behaviors
Due to the significant impact of genetics on the development of the bipolar disorder, an inherited component of bipolar strongly influences the changes in behaviors. Because of this, stressful factors, whether psychologically or biologically induced, contribute to adverse behaviors. As mentioned by Muneer (2016), biological factors act in a “deleterious manner” causing bipolar expression in predisposed individuals. Although, bipolar episodes exasperate from the combination of environmental and genetic factors.
Sleep and Bipolar
Sleep disturbances are common in bipolar disorder, with insomnia being caused by both manic and depressive symptoms. Also, delayed sleep phase syndrome can be the result of depressive episodes among bipolar individuals. Due to shifts in mood, individuals with bipolar have irregular sleep-wake schedules in the absence of a sleep routine. There is a need to address sleep issues to relieve the disorder’s burden because Nightmares and vivid dreams are disruptive to the everyday life of individuals diagnosed with the disorder.
Psychoactive Drugs and Bipolar
To treat bipolar episodes, antipsychotic medications are prescribed, with lithium carbonate showing to be effective in around 70% of cases (Gooding et al., 2019). To address agitation, delusion, and hallucinations during bipolar episodes, patients are prescribed Phenylbutylpiperadines. Despite the efficacy of pharmacological treatment, there are concerns about excessive psychoactive drug use in bipolar patients (Lagerberg et al., 2010). Also, substance abusers are twice as likely to develop mood or anxiety disorders (Spielman, Dumper, Jenkins, Lacombe & Lovett, 2014).
Hypnosis and Bipolar
Hypnosis has been one of the alternatives used for treating bipolar disorder, which implies a perceptual approach. The treatment works from the perspective and reality of the client instead of the standpoint of the professional. Although, the efficacy of the treatment depends on the individual needs and susceptibility of patients. It is also important to note that it is often challenging to reach the desired levels of hypnotizability of bipolar patients due to challenges in psychological function.
Bipolar and Memory
Bipolar disorder is highly disruptive to individuals and can lead to issues with cognition and memory. Manic episodes are characterized by worse memory and cognition issues. In addition, being in-between mood swings can lead to enduring memory loss complications. As one of the side effects of taking medication, individuals’ memory can be impaired.
Biological Influences on Memory
The biological influences on the development of bipolar mean that individuals will endure cognitive limitations in their lifetime. Memory issues develop in more severe cases, which can be inherited, and exacerbate depending on the environment. A family history of psychosis can contribute to memory disruptions, which means that seeking medical help to reduce the impact on memory is required. Further research is needed to develop strategies to decrease the influence of genetic factors on deteriorating memory during bipolar.
Memory Distortions and Bipolar
It is possible that individuals diagnosed with bipolar will have poor memory and difficulty concentrating on everyday activities. Memory distortions can take place during low moods, high moods, and in-between episodes. Because of the changes occurring in the brain because of bipolar disorder, memory issues can develop. Clinicians are still working on developing targeted behavioral treatment necessary to change the adverse impact of bipolar on memory.
The trait theory is important to consider in the case of bipolar as it explores patterns of thought, behavior, and emotion. Traits are relatively stable over time and differ across individuals who fall on the spectrum between introversion and extraversion. Different personality traits affect the progression of bipolar disorder (Sparding, Palsson, Joas, Hansen, & Landen, 2017). Although, it was found that personality traits did not affect clinical outcomes in individuals with bipolar disorder.
The Self Theory of personality emphasizes the perceptions that a person has for himself and others when shaping one’s personality. It is different from trait theory because it underlines the role of self-beliefs and self-image rather than patterns of thought, behavior, and emotion. Lack of balance in self-perception can lead to the development of adverse psychological issues, which calls for the need to work on self-concept to reduce the risks of developing bipolar disorder.
Therapies for Treating Bipolar
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is used for addressing individuals’ behaviors, assumptions, and beliefs. It aims at improving overall health and emotional responses, which are necessary for supporting medical treatment. It is essential to change reactions to personal issues and to increase the adherence to therapeutic procedures (Chiang et al., 2017).
Pharmacological therapy accompanies behavioral therapy and uses prescription medication used for reducing the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Drugs are used for reducing the impact of psychotic manic and depressive episodes on cognitive functioning. Nevertheless, concerns exist regarding the excessive use of psychoactive drugs among patients with bipolar disorder. The concern is especially relevant for psychotropic medications, which are prescribed for long periods of time to treat severe episodes.
It can be concluded that bipolar disorder is highly challenging for the life of individuals diagnosed with it. It is characterized by recurrent cases of mania and depression that inevitably affects sleep, work, and relationship patterns. In the majority of cases, manic and depressive episodes have a lifelong course and considerable morbidity and related mortality. Hereditary factors contribute to the occurrence of bipolar, which means that the disorder cannot be prevented. Bipolar requires serious treatment combining cognitive behavioral therapy and pharmacological interventions.
Gooding, D. C., Wolford, K., & Gooding, D. C. (2019). Bipolar disorder. Salem Press.
Lagerberg, T. V., Andreassen, O. A., Ringen, P. A., Berg, A. O., Larsson, S., Agartz, I., Sundet, K., & Melle, I. (2010). Excessive substance use in bipolar disorder is associated with impaired functioning rather than clinical characteristics, a descriptive study. BMC Psychiatry, 10, 9.
Muneer A. (2016). The neurobiology of bipolar disorder: An integrated approach. Chonnam Medical Journal, 52(1), 18-37.
Sparding, T., Palsson, E., Joas, E., Hansen, S., & Landen, M. (2017). Personality traits in bipolar disorder and influence on outcome. BMC Psychiatry, 17(1), 159.
Spielman, R.M., Dumper, K., Jenkins, W., Lacombe, A., & Lovett, M. (2014). Psychology. OpenStax College.
Zhang, B., Wang, J., Zhu, Q., Ma, G., Shen, C., Fan, H., & Wang, W. (2017). Hypnotic susceptibility and affective states in bipolar I and II disorders. BMC Psychiatry, 17(1), 362.