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An Ancient Disorder

Once we start analyzing the origins ofbipolar personality disorder, we need to know that this disease isone of the oldest we have records about, even though it is consideredmodern even today. Firstly it was described as “melancholia” inAncient Greece. This disorder was thought to strike one due to anexcessive presence of the, so called, black bile in his or herorganism. These theories were based upon the bile principle where theancient medicine considered that there are different fluids, or,chemicals balanced throughout our body. Thus, every imbalance wouldcause illnesses. In this case, too much black bile would lead tomelancholia or depression. Traces of comparisons regarding mania andmelancholia have their roots in the 2nd century AD. Thereis even written evidence claiming that there is a connection betweenmania and melancholia, making the latter part of the former.

Evolution of the Bipolar Disorder

All the breakthroughs mentioned above,were further elaborated upon by Chinese medical experts in the 16thcentury. Before that, in 1025, Avicenna, whom was a Persian physicianand a medical philosopher, clearly separated melancholia from othertypes of mental disorders, considering it a “manic depressionpsychosis”.

Next, the 19th century hadits innovations upon the subject as well. Namely, Jules Baillargerdintroduced a theory of a specific, bipolar type of a mentaldisorder, which was considered to be an ambivalent type of insanity.Another scientist claimed that this is a circular disorder and manyquarrels took place due to this difference of opinions.

Later, a German psychiatrist came tothe conclusion that this condition is to be called manic depressivepsychosis, since after periods of mania he noticed in his patients,he realized that there can be longer periods of normal behavior, orstates of complete depression, acting as an extreme to the previouscondition.

New breakthroughs started taking placeafter the WWII, during the psychological treatment of veterans. Here,John Cade, an Australian psychiatrist, realized that lithium helps intreating people with this disorder. During the 50s, 60s, lithium wasnot officially used, but, rather, still in the phase of testing untilthe 70s, when its potential became officially accepted. Also, duringthe 50s, this disorder was divided into subclasses and the treatmentwas changed respectfully. Until the end of the 60s, “manicdepressive illness” was a term used for this condition.

Finally, only during the late 20thcentury and all the way until today, people have managed to look evenfurther into this psychological phenomenon. Also, the term “bipolardisorder” is relatively young, connected with the latestdiscoveries. We still have plenty to learn about it, and, probably,the evolution of human perception regarding this illness willcontinue to evolve.

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