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This is a project for a high school AP Psychology course. This is a fictionalized account of having a psychological ailment. For questions about this blog project or its content please email the teacher Chris Jocham:

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  1. 1. Bipolar Disorder
  2. 2. Symptoms Bipolar Symptoms The primary symptoms of bipolar disorder are dramatic and unpredictable mood swings from excessive happiness to extreme depression.
  3. 3. Symptoms Mania Symptoms During the “high” stage, symptoms may include excessive happiness, excitement, irritability, restlessness, increased energy, less need for sleep, racing thoughts, and high sex drive.
  4. 4. Symptoms Depression Symptoms During the “low” stage, symptoms may include sadness, anxiety, irritability, loss of energy, uncontrollable crying, change in appetite causing weight loss or gain, increased need for sleep, difficulty making decisions, and thoughts of death or suicide.
  5. 5. Personally... I love happy days. I feel like flying and greeting everyone. Everything becomes better when I’m in a good mood. I reach out to everyone and become a social butterfly. I just cannot keep still or stop smiling.
  6. 6. Personally... Everything’s wrong. I don’t have a boyfriend, I can barely keep up with my job, I never want to see myself in the mirror, and nobody cares about me. What is the point of even living this life? I’m done trying.
  7. 7. Types Bipolar I A person affected by bipolar I disorder has had at least one manic episode in his or her life. A manic episode is a period of abnormally elevated mood, accompanied by abnormal behavior that disrupts life.
  8. 8. Types Bipolar II Bipolar II is similar to bipolar I disorder, with moods cycling between high and low over time. However, in bipolar II disorder, the "up" moods never reach full-on mania.
  9. 9. Types Rapid Cycling In rapid cycling, a person with bipolar disorder experiences four or more episodes of mania or depression in one year.
  10. 10. Mixed Bipolar In most forms of bipolar disorder, moods alternate between elevated and depressed over time. But with mixed bipolar disorder, a person experiences both mania and depression simultaneously or in rapid sequence. Types
  11. 11. Personally... I have been diagnosed with Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder. My only optimistic perspective is that it could be worse, but I’ve been told that I will experience many polar episodes within a year. The people involved in my life are bound to see me at either stage, so I hope they understand where I’m coming from and are supportive.
  12. 12. Doctors have come far in understanding the different moods that are present in someone with bipolar disorder. Therefore, an accurate diagnosis these days is very probable. However, the diagnosis for this mental disorder is made only after examining careful notes of symptoms, including their severity, length, and frequency. Diagnosis
  13. 13. Personally... When I received my diagnosis, I didn’t know how to react – I guess not knowing my mood made sense after learning I was bipolar. I knew my family and friends would be at ease knowing what exactly I have so they could try to help me. But it wasn’t exactly the best feeling to know that I have a mental disorder. I felt like a crazy person walking out of the office.
  14. 14. Treatment Medications Patients of Bipolar Disorder are likely to take medications for the rest of their lives. Medicines include antipsychotic drugs, benzodiazepine, lithium, and select mood stabilizers.
  15. 15. Personally... I guess I’ve become used to taking pills every morning now. It’s become part of the daily routine before I leave my apartment. My doctor is scared that after sleepless nights, I’ll disregard my prescription which will hinder any progression I may have been making. So far, I haven’t missed any days. I wish it would just make me normal though.
  16. 16. Treatment Therapy Along with medication, psychotherapy is an important part of the treatment process for those with bipolar disorder.During therapy, discussions about feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that cause problems arise.
  17. 17. Personally... As much as I hate the idea of having to hire a therapist, I must admit I like having someone to talk to. I feel really lonely sometimes and feel like no one else understands me but him. He gives me great optimism but sometimes I question if he’s always on my side. I hope he’s not just after my money.
  18. 18. Personally... Pep talks can only help so much. My doctor has prescribed psychotherapy sessions at least once a month. However, the effects of talk therapy are not as long-lasting as I would hope for. I’m spending too much money on it and I may just have to persuade my doctor to allow me to discontinue these sessions. I just have to prove to him that I’m getting better. How? I have no idea.
  19. 19. Personally... My true support system is my mother. However, old age has made her less mobile and thus she can’t fly out to come visit me often. She hopes for the best for me and I know she lives with guilt that she may have somehow contributed to me having the disorder. I don’t think she has. Mom is the only family I have so I value our relationship a lot.
  20. 20. A study of hospitalized patients with mania or mixed episode found that 50% achieved recovery within six weeks and 98% within two years. However, 40% went on to experience a new episode of mania or depression within 2 years of recovery. Statistics