Claimant: 47-year-old female
Occupation: overnight stocker at big-box retailer, manager at
Education: high school education
Background: A 47-year-old female with a long history of
emotional instability and anger management issues. She
complains of “racing” thoughts and has been under regular
medical management treatment with a psychologist and
counselor. My client also reports that she often has fits of anger
and thoughts of harming herself and others. At the time of the
hearing, her living arrangements had greatly contributed to her
stress and emotional instability. She had been living in a room in
the house of an adult child and the adult child’s spouse. My client
complained that her child’s spouse often verbally abused her. In
addition to the emotional issues, my client also has physical
problems, including back and hip pain.
Bipolar disorder, sometimes called manic
depression, is a disorienting condition that causes
extreme shifts in mood.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by periods of
deep, prolonged, and profound depression that
alternate with periods of an excessively elevated or
irritable mood known as mania.
The symptoms of mania include a decreased need
for sleep, pressured speech, increased libido,
reckless behavior without regard for consequences,
grandiosity, and severe thought disturbances,
which may or may not include psychosis.
elevated, expansive, or irritable mood;
pressured speech (rapid, excessive speech)
decreased need for sleep
grandiose beliefs (for example, feeling like one has
super powers or superlative talents or faults)
tangential speech (repeatedly changing topics to
topics that are hardly related)
increased goal directed activity
impulsivity and poor judgment.
Bipolar disorder often runs in families, and
researchers believe there is a genetic
Some studies suggest that a low or high level of
a specific neurotransmitter such as serotonin,
norepinephrine or dopamine is the cause.
Other studies indicate that an imbalance of
these substances is the problem, i.e., that a
specific level of a neurotransmitter is not as
important as its amount in relation to the other
The best treatment for bipolar disorder is a
combination of medication and counseling.
Doctors often treat the mania symptoms associated
with bipolar disorder with one set of drugs, and
use other drugs to treat depression.
Certain drugs are also used for "maintenance" -- to
maintain a steady mood over time.
Treatment for bipolar disorder most often includes
a combination of a mood-stabilizing drug and
Although drug treatment is primary, ongoing
psychotherapy is important to help patients better
cope with the condition.
In any given year, bipolar disorder affects more than
2% of American adults.
About 5.7 million U.S. adults are living with bipolar
Bipolar disorder affects men and women equally, as
well as all races, ethnic groups, and socioeconomic
April 14, 2011
Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones has been treated for
"Bipolar Disorder â€ “ “
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