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Bipolar Disorder (reviewed June 2001)

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder, which is also known as manic-depressive illness, is a mental illness involving episodes of serious mania and depression. The person's mood usually swings from overly "high" and irritable to sad and hopeless and then back again, with periods of normal mood in between.

Bipolar disorder typically begins in adolescence or early adulthood and continues throughout life. It is often not recognized as an illness, and people who have it may suffer needlessly for years or even decades.

Effective treatments are available that greatly alleviate the suffering caused by bipolar disorder and can usually prevent its devastating complications. These include marital break-ups, job loss, alcohol and drug abuse, and suicide. (From the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH))

Almost one-third of 6-to-12-year-old children diagnosed with major depression will develop bipolar disorders within a few years, according to a study of 79 depressed children over 2 to 5 years reported in the May 1994 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Most became bipolar before the onset of puberty, and 32% became bipolar at an average age of 11 years. The researchers recommend that those caring for depressed children should be on the lookout for symptoms of manic-depressive illness. They also suggested that, because antidepressants may worsen certain forms of manic illness in adults, prescribing antidepressants for children should be done with care. (From the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI))

Following are links to related Internet resources and Internet discussion groups, as well as selected citations from the ERIC database and the search terms we used to find the citations.

You can search the ERIC database yourself on the Internet through either of the following web sites:

ERIC Citations

The full text of citations beginning with an ED number (for example, EDxxxxxx) is available:

  • In microfiche collections worldwide; to find your nearest ERIC Resource Collection, point your web browser to: http://ericae.net/derc.htm.
  • For a fee through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS): http://edrs.com, service@edrs.com, or 1.800.443.ERIC. (no longer available)

The full text of citations beginning with an EJ number (for example, EJxxxxxx) is available for a fee from:

ERIC Search Terms Used

bipolar disorder OR mental disorders

EJ402457 EC221837
Manic Depressive Disorder in Mental Handicap.
Berney, T. P.; Jones, P. M.
Australia and New Zealand Journal of Developmental Disabilities, v14 n3-4 p219-25
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJJUN90
Eight cases of early onset bipolar affective disorder in adolescents with mental impairment are described, focusing on age of onset; common characteristics such as rapid cycling, mixed affective states, and lithium resistance; and the likelihood that cerebral dysfunction might cause a secondary form of bipolar disorder.
Descriptors: Adolescents; Age; Case Studies; *Depression (Psychology); *Individual Characteristics; *Mental Disorders; *Mental Retardation; Multiple Disabilities
Identifiers: *Manic Depression

ED375371 CG025824
Assessment and Treatment of Depression in Children and Adolescents. Second Edition.
Clarizio, Harvey F.
1994; 269p.
ISBN: 0-88422-103-2
EDRS Price - MF01/PC11 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Document Type: BOOK (010)
Geographic Source: U.S.; Michigan
Journal Announcement: RIEMAR95
Target Audience: Practitioners; Students
Despite signs of increasing agreement among mental health professionals, controversy continues over developmental, diagnostic, and intervention issues surrounding childhood depression. This introductory text is written for practitioners as well as for advanced undergraduates or graduate students who are preparing to become psychologists, social workers, counselors, or special education teachers working with affectively disturbed children and youth. No attempt is made to present a consistent theoretical framework. Instead, the book concentrates on those viewpoints currently popular among mental-health specialists. Although the text addresses the influence of biological and social forces on affective disorders, the emphasis is on psychological factors thought to be operative in depression and suicide among young people. The book's most distinctive features include its research base, its developmental orientation, and its emphasis on the practitioner. Other important aspects of the book include: some research positions on childhood depression; information on the development of this illness; guidelines for diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of childhood depression; and a separate chapter dealing with suicide in school-aged youth. Each chapter contains a summary of its content and a list of references. Twenty-seven tables present diagnostic criteria, depression checklists, therapeutic approaches, strategies for dealing with suicidal youth, and other information.
Descriptors: *Adolescents; Affective Measures; Child Health; *Children; Clinical Diagnosis; *Depression (Psychology); Elementary Secondary Education; Emotional Problems; Loneliness; Mental Disorders; Mental Health; Psychopathology; Self Destructive Behavior; *Suicide; Therapy

ED296196 CG020886
Emerging from Depression: Treatment of Adolescent Depression Using the Major Treatment Models of Adult Depression.
Long, Kathleen M.
North Dakota Univ., Grand Forks. Apr 1988. 26p.
EDRS Price - MF01/PC02 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070)
Geographic Source: U.S.; North Dakota
Journal Announcement: RIEDEC88
Noting that adolescents who commit suicide are often clinically depressed, this paper examines various approaches in the treatment of depression. Major treatment models of adult depression, which can be directly applied to the treatment of the depressed adolescent, are described. Major treatment models and selected research studies are reviewed in the areas of: (1) cognitive therapy; (2) cognitive and behavior therapy; (3) cognitive therapy with pharmacotherapy; (4) the use of pharmacotherapy for acute depression; (5) treatment of manic depression with lithium; (6) the use of lithium in learning and behavior problems; and (7) reality therapy. The paper concludes that a combination of therapies may be needed to treat depressed adolescents: one therapy may be needed to treat the condition immediately, especially if the teenager is suicidal, and another therapy may be needed later to alter cognitive distortions and to encourage responsible choices in coping with life's problems.
Descriptors: *Adolescents; *Behavior Modification; *Cognitive Restructuring; Counseling Techniques; *Depression (Psychology); *Drug Therapy; Models; *Reality Therapy; School Psychologists; Secondary Education

ED397369 CG027226
Depressive Personality Disorder: A Review of the Literature.
Sale, Beverley A.
May 1996
89p.; Doctoral Research Paper, Biola University.
EDRS Price - MF01/PC04 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Geographic Source: U.S.; California
Journal Announcement: RIEDEC96
The question of whether or not depressive personality disorder is a distinct disorder separate from mood disorders or other personality disorders has historically been debated by researchers and theorists and continues to be a topic of disagreement. Empirical studies reveal that only a modest relationship may exist between depressive personality disorder, mood disorders, and other personality disorders. This suggests that depressive personality disorder may be distinct from mood disorders and other personality disorders. Further investigations should focus on clearer discrimination between depressive personality disorder and other personality disorders. Chapters in this review of the literature are: (1) Introduction; (2) Historical Background of Depressive Personality, (3) Characterological Depressions as a Subtype of Dysthymia, (4) Comorbidity of Dysthymia with Axis II Disorders, (5) Depressive Personality as a Distinct Personality Disorder, and (7) Conclusions. An unpublished instrument, "Diagnostic Interview for Depressive Personality (DID)" is included as an appendix. Contains 37 references.
Descriptors: *Depression (Psychology); Emotional Problems; Literature Reviews; Measures (Individuals); *Mental Disorders; *Moods; Personality Traits; *Psychological Patterns

ED328808 CG023114
Plain Talk about Depression. Plain Talk Series.
Sargent, Marilyn
National Inst. of Mental Health (DHHS), Bethesda, Md. 1989; 5p.
Report No: DHHS-(ADM)-89-1639
EDRS Price - MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Document Type: GENERAL REPORT (140)
Geographic Source: U.S.; Maryland
Journal Announcement: RIEJUL91
Government: Federal
Depression is defined as a "whole-body" illness, involving the body, mood, and thoughts. Three of the most prevalent types of depressive disorders are described: major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disorders (formerly called manic-depressive illness). Eleven symptoms of depression and 10 symptoms of mania are listed. Causes of depression are discussed, focusing on genetic, psychological, and environmental factors. Diagnostic evaluation and treatment are described. The components of a diagnostic evaluation are discussed. Antidepressant medications are reviewed, focusing on tricyclics, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and lithium. It is noted that antidepressants are not habit-forming and that antianxiety drugs are not antidepressants. Side effects of antidepressants are discussed and ways to deal with them are presented. Psychotherapies are discussed, including the issues involved in short-term therapy, behavior therapy, and psychodynamic therapy. Information on self- help is presented, including realizing that depressive disorders make one feel exhausted, worthless, helpless, and hopeless. Advice is given on what actions to take or not to take when one is depressed. Information on how to help depressed persons is discussed. This includes helping the depressed person to get diagnosis and treatment and offering emotional support. Addresses of groups providing information are included.
Descriptors: Adults; *Depression (Psychology); Etiology; Helping Relationship; Mental Disorders; Psychiatric Services; Psychological Services; *Psychotherapy; Referral; *Symptoms (Individual Disorders)

ED283343 EC192772
Depressive Disorders: Treatments Bring New Hope.
Sargent, Marilyn
National Inst. of Mental Health (DHHS), Rockville, Md. Div. of Scientific and Public Information. 1986; 31p. Report No: DHHS-(ADM)-86-1491
EDRS Price - MF01/PC02 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Document Type: EVALUATIVE REPORT (142) Geographic Source: U.S.; District of Columbia
Journal Announcement: RIENOV87
Government: Federal
This booklet describes the symptoms, forms, causes, and treatment of depression, with particular focus on depression in children, adolescents, and older adults. Symptoms include: persistent sad or "empty" mood; feelings of hopelessness, guilt, or helplessness; loss of interest in ordinary activities; sleep disturbances; eating disturbances; thoughts of death or suicide; and restlessness and irritability. Among the disorders several forms are major clinical depression, dysthymia, bipolar depression (also called manic-depressive disorder), or a combination of disorders. Causes include genetic, biochemical, and environmental factors. Treatments include drug, psychosocial, and electroconvulsive therapy, and (still under study) experimental treatments. Childhood depression may go unrecognized when combined with other types of behavior such as hyperactivity or delinquency. Depression appears to be occurring more commonly among teenagers, whose symptoms are sometimes attributed to the "normal adjustments" of adolescence. Symptoms of depressed older adults are often misdiagnosed as senility or everyday problems of the aged. The depressed person can be helped by family and friends who maintain as normal a relationship as possible, point out distorted thinking without being critical or disapproving, acknowledge that the depressed individual is suffering and in pain, and express affection. Family and friends should not blame the depressed person for his or her condition or say or do anything to exacerbate a poor self-image.
Descriptors: Adolescents; Biochemistry; Children; *Depression (Psychology); Drug Therapy; *Emotional Disturbances; *Etiology; Genetics; Older Adults; Psychotherapy; Suicide; *Therapy

EJ517497 CG547991
Diagnosis of Mood Disorders.
Seligman, Linda; Moore, Bonita Marcus
Journal of Counseling & Development, v74 n1 p65-69 Sep-Oct 1995
ISSN: 0748-9633
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJJUN96
Provides an overview of mood disorders according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (fourth edition) criteria and other relevant information. Differential diagnosis is facilitated through discussion of differences and similarities among mental disorders, age and gender-related patterns of mood disorders, and useful diagnostic tools.
Descriptors: *Clinical Diagnosis; *Depression (Psychology); Evaluation; Higher Education; Measures (Individuals); *Moods
Identifiers: Bipolar Disorder; *Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

EJ414620 CG538044
Understanding Bipolar Disorder: Implications for Mental Health Counselors.
Withrow, J. Steve; Hinkle, J. Scott
Journal of Mental Health Counseling, v12 n2 p138-50 Apr 1990
Report No: ISSN-0193-1830
Language: English
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080); GENERAL REPORT (140)
Journal Announcement: CIJFEB91
Provides an overview of bipolar disorder, including a discussion of diagnostic indicators, etiological theories, and psychopharmacological treatment. Examines treatment implications for mental health counselors, including role in psychiatric liaison, individual counseling, marriage and family therapy, and vocational counseling.
Descriptors: Clinical Diagnosis; Counseling; Etiology; *Mental Disorders; Psychotherapy
Identifiers: *Bipolar Disorder

Available from your local bookstore or library:

Survival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar Disorder. George T. Lynn. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. 325 Chestnut Street. Philadelphia, PA 19106. http://www.jkp.com

The Bipolar Child: The Definitive and Reassuring Guide to Childhood's Most Misunderstood Disorder. Demitri Papolos and Janice Papolos. Broadway Books, 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036. http://www.randomhouse.com/broadway/

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