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PSY FPX 7310 Assessment 5 Psychological Disorders


Capella University

PSY FPX 7310 Biological Basis of Behavior

Prof. Name


Bipolar Disorder: Understanding Behavior


The human brain, with its intricate functions, is susceptible to various factors that can profoundly influence behavior. Despite our efforts, hormonal fluctuations, breakdowns, and environmental elements often elude our control, impacting behavior in unpredictable ways. Approximately 14% of the global population grapples annually with diagnosable psychological disorders, including bipolar disorder, a condition within the spectrum of mood disorders. This article explores the defining factors of bipolar disorder, their influence on behavior and experiences, and strategies psychologists employ to enhance the quality of life for individuals with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Disorder: Behavior Dynamics

Bipolar disorder manifests as episodes of mania or hypomania, representing deviations from an individual’s typical behavior. Mania is characterized by euphoric or irritable mood shifts coupled with heightened energy levels, while hypomania reflects similar mood changes without significant behavioral alterations (Strakowski, 2014). These extreme symptoms exert a palpable influence on behavior, often resulting in erratic patterns. For instance, individuals may oscillate between periods of sleeplessness and lethargy, demonstrating the disorder’s unpredictable nature. Moreover, manic episodes can precipitate behaviors marked by excessive energy, impaired speech, impulsivity, and risk-taking tendencies (Ramirez Basco & Rush, 2005).

Factors Influencing Bipolar Disorder

While the precise causes of bipolar disorder remain unclear, several factors contribute to its development. Genetic predisposition, evidenced by familial patterns, suggests a hereditary component, with studies identifying specific gene variants linked to bipolar disorder (Kakiuchi et al., 2003). Additionally, prolonged exposure to high-stress environments or traumatic events can alter neural pathways, triggering manic episodes. Substance abuse, particularly alcohol and drugs, exacerbates symptomatology, inducing manic or hypomanic states (Mayo Group, 2019). Chemical imbalances in neurotransmitters and thyroid dysfunction further contribute to mood fluctuations, while brain cell damage, particularly in the hippocampus, can precipitate mood swings (Martinez-Aran et al., 2007).

Cultural and Experiential Influences

Lived experiences profoundly shape individuals’ perceptions of bipolar disorder, necessitating psychologists’ empathetic understanding. Cultural nuances significantly influence how symptoms are perceived and treated, underscoring the importance of cultural competence in diagnosis and intervention (Fink & Kraynak, 2005). Differential attitudes towards mental illness across cultures highlight the need for tailored treatment approaches that resonate with patients’ cultural backgrounds. Moreover, genetic variations among ethnic groups may impact treatment efficacy, emphasizing the need for personalized care (Fink & Kraynak, 2005).

Efficacy and Ethical Considerations in Treatment

Contemporary treatments for bipolar disorder encompass pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy, albeit with varying efficacy. While mood-stabilizing drugs and psychotherapy represent standard interventions, their isolated use may yield suboptimal outcomes. Nonadherence to medication regimens poses a significant concern, with combined therapy yielding higher adherence rates and therapeutic benefits (Gaudiano et al., 2008). Ethical considerations in treatment mandate informed consent, transparency regarding treatment risks, and vigilant monitoring for adverse effects. Psychologists must exercise caution in prescribing medications, particularly those undergoing clinical trials, to mitigate potential harm (Carlson, 2014).


Bipolar disorder presents formidable challenges, impacting individuals’ lives and necessitating comprehensive treatment approaches. By elucidating the disorder’s behavioral dynamics, understanding contributing factors, and acknowledging cultural and experiential influences, psychologists can devise tailored interventions that optimize patient outcomes. Ensuring treatment adherence and ethical practice underscores the imperative of delivering holistic care, facilitating stability, and empowering individuals to navigate the complexities of bipolar disorder.


Carlson, N. R. (2014). Schizophrenia, Affective Disorders, and Anxiety Disorders (9th ed.). Pearson.

Fink, C., & Kraynak, J. (2005). Bipolar Disorder for Dummies. Wiley Publishing.

Gaudiano, B. A., Weinstock, L. M., & Miller, I. W. (2008). Improving treatment adherence in bipolar disorder: a review of current psychosocial treatment efficacy and recommendations for future treatment development. Behavior Modification, 32(3), 267–301.

Kakiuchi, C., Iwamoto, K., Ishiwata, M., Bundo, M., Kashahara, T., Kusumi, I., Tsujita, T., Okazaki, I., Kunugi, H., Sasaki, T., & Kato, T. (2003). Impaired feedback regulation of XBP1 as a genetic risk factor for bipolar disorder. Nature Genetics, 35(2), 171–175.

Mayo Group. (2019). Bipolar disease.

Martinez-Aran, A., Vieta, E., Torrent, C., Sanchez-Moreno, J., Goikolea, J. M., Salamero, M., Malhi, G., & Ayuso-Mateos, J. L. (2007). Functional outcome in bipolar disorder: The role of clinical and cognitive factors. Bipolar Disorders, 9, 103–113.

Mental Health First Aid. (2019). 5 Surprising Mental Health Statistics. Retrieved from

Ramirez Basco, M., & Rush, A. J. (2005). Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Bipolar Disorders (2nd ed.). Guilford Publications.

Strakowski, S. (2014). Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar Disorder. Oxford University Press.

Ward, T. D. (2009). The lived experience of adult bipolar patients with comorbid substance use disorder (Order No. 3355960). ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.


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