Tag Archives: Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

Bipolar Disorder – Childhood Contributory Factors.

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Bipolar disorder (which used to be called ‘manic depression’) is a condition in which the affected individual oscillates between periods of severe depression and periods of mania, combined with periods of relative ‘normality’ intervening between these episodes.

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Above – two alternative ways of diagramatically representing the mood cycles  experienced by those suffering from bipolar disorder. Hypomania (diagram 1) refers to ‘mild’ mania. Euthymia (diagram 2) refers to ‘normal’ mood. Unipolar depression (diagram 2) refers to depression WITHOUT mania.

The table below, adapted from DSM (diagnostic statistical manual) IV, first lists the symptoms which may be experienced during the DEPRESSIVE PHASE  and, secondly, the symptoms which may be experienced during the MANIC PHASE.

SYMPTOMS OF THE DEPRESSIVE AND MANIC PHASES OF BIPOLAR DISORDER (adapted from DSM IV) :

DEPRESSIVE PHASE :

EMOTIONAL SYMPTOMS –

inability to feel pleasure (anhedonia)

self-dislike/hatred

loss of sense of humour

loss of interest in attachments/relationships

COGNITIVE SYMPTOMS –

negative beliefs about the future

negative beliefs about self

indecisiveness

self-degrading delusions (eg. ‘I am evil’; ‘I am the most terrible person in the world.’)

unrealistically self-critical and self-blaming

unrealistic/delusional magnification of problems

MOTIVATIONAL SYMPTOMS –

loss of will power/ability to act autonomously  (sometimes referred to as ‘paralysis of the will’)

strong desire to ‘escape’

wishes for death/plans of suicide (sometimes referred to as ‘suicidal ideation’)

PHYSICAL / VEGETATIVE SYMPTOMS –

easily becomes exhausted

loss or gain in appetite

loss of interest in sex (libido)

insomnia (especially early morning waking followed by inability to get back to sleep).

 

MANIC PHASE :

EMOTIONAL SYMPTOMS –

greatly increased enjoyment of life/elation

self-admiring

increased humour

greater intensity of feeling in connection to relationships/attachments

COGNITIVE SYMPTOMS  –

positive view of self

optimism regarding the future

blames others

delusions of grandeur

impaired decision-making

denial of problems/difficulties

MOTIVATIONAL SYMPTOMS-

strong urge to take positive action

impulsiveness

driven

strong desire to ‘better’ self

strong desire for independence

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS –

very energetic / full of vigor /hyperactive

increased sex drive (libido)

lowered need/desire for sleep/ insomnia

DO CERTAIN CHILDHOOD EVENTS MAKE AN INDIVIDUAL MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO DEVELOPING BIPOLAR DISORDER IN ADULT LIFE?

The research that has been conducted in order to attempt to answer the question posed above suggests that certain childhood experiences are much more common in those who go on to develop bipolar disorder when compared to the childhood experiences of individuals who do not go on to develop the condition.

A study by the psychologist Cohen found that families in which individuals grew up who later developed bipolar disorder were much more likely than average to :

– be different  / stand out from other families eg ethnic minority, mental illness, sudden financial impoverishment

– be very sensitive to the fact they do not ‘fit in’ with other families, with an accompanying acute need/desire to be accepted

– be highly concerned about elevating their social status

– have a strong desire to conform

– have a strong desire to gain prestige (eg through becoming very wealthy)

– insist that the children in the family keep to very exacting standards of behaviour (strongly linked to the desire to be socially accepted).

Another study, carried out by the psychologist Gibson, resulted in similar findings; these were that individuals who went on to develop bipolar disorder were more likely to have grown up in families who :

– were preoccupied with gaining prestige

– were prone towards feeling great envy of other families they regarded as having higher social status

– were highly competitive

– pressurized the child into helping them gain social prestige (eg by excelling academically or in the arts)

Finally, a study carried out by the researcher Becker also tends to confirm the findings above. His results showed that those who went on to develop bipolar disorder were more likely to come from families who :

-subjected them to great pressure to achieve

RESOURCES :

www.mind.org.uk – Information about bipolar disorder

EBOOKS :

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Above eBooks now all available on Amazon for instant download. $4.99 each. CLICK HERE.

David Hosier BSc Hons;MSc;PGDE(FAHE).

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