For centuries the Greek theory of Humorism made the world believe the feelings and emotions came from fluids produced by the liver according to our emotional state. This led to negative feelings, like anger and melancholy, being categorized as “black bile” and manic euphoria falling into the classification of “yellow bile.”
The first to record simultaneous production of both biles was physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia. His texts on the production of bile and other humor-related fluids were a breakthrough prior to the start of the Renaissance.
However, it would not be until 1902 when German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin began to use the term Manic-Depressive Psychosis when referring to the presence of two or more emotional states in one person at the same time. This is what we currently refer to as Bipolar Disorder.
There are four categories of bipolarism. These are measured depending on the number of depressive episodes presented by an individual for a determined period of time:
Bipolar I Disorder
Diagnosis requires of one or more episodes of euphoria, accompanied of serious depression. The latter is not required for diagnosis but is frequently present.
Bipolar II Disorder
This a more complicated type of disorder to diagnose, since the episodes of hypomania can be easily confused with moments of happiness brought on by success.
Bipolar III Disorder
This disorder tends to present itself in people aged 50 and older, since the cerebral sections regulating their emotions are damaged by the passing of the time. In some occasions it can also be a disorder whose symptoms have delayed.
Unspecified Bipolar Disorder
Like any other illness, bipolarism can present variations that don’t fit within the first three categories. This can be because the patient’s symptoms don’t fall into a particular type.
The causes and origins of bipolar disorder are still a mystery, but experts believe several genetic, neurochemical, and environmental factors play into its presence. There are several available treatments and methods of diagnosis, among which there are clinical tests that reveal if there is an underlying cause to the symptoms. Another diagnostic technique is through written tests that analyze people’s behavior. One of these was created by Dr. Ivan Goldberg, which consists in answering 12 simple multiple choice questions that can determine whether there is a possibility of suffering from bipolar disorder.
1. At times I am much more talkative or speak much faster than usual.
2. There have been times when I was much more active or did many more things than usual.
3. I get into moods where I feel very 'speeded-up' or irritable.
4. There have been times when I have felt both high (elated) and low (depressed) at the same time.
5. I have been much more interested in sex than usual.
6. My self-confidence ranges from great self-doubt to equally great overconfidence.
7. There have been great variations in the quantity or quality of my work.
8. For no apparent reason I sometimes have been very angry or hostile.
9. I have periods of mental dullness and other periods of very creative thinking.
10. At times I am greatly interested in being with people and at other times I just want to be left alone with my thoughts.
11. I have had periods of great optimism and other periods of equally great pessimism.
12. I have had periods of tearfulness and crying and other times when I laugh and joke excessively.
This test is designed to see if you require of medical assistance, and, if so, to receive necessary treatment. Currently this ailment has not received the required credibility, since many claim to have it without going through proper diagnosis. It’s important to provide awareness of bipolarism as a serious condition that should not be taken lightly.
There are many kinds of disorders out there; some can be passing or even triggered by a breakup.
Translated by María Suárez