MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences : Bipolar Disorder

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Bipolar Disorder

Lithium is a medication that is effective in the treatment of __________.

Possible Answers:

schizophrenia

bipolar disorder

post-traumatic stress disorder

obsessive-compulsive disorder

panic disorder

Correct answer:

bipolar disorder

Explanation:

The manic and depressive phases of bipolar disorder can be treated with the mood stabilizer lithium. Lithium is used for the prevention of future depression and suicide and for the prevention of future mania. Schizophrenia is treated with antipsychotic medications. Medications to reduce nightmares, insomnia, and startle reactions are used in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Benzodiazepines and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are used to treat panic disorders. SSRIs are also used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Example Question #2 : Bipolar Disorder

A patient goes to her primary care doctor complaining of mood swings affecting her in such a way that she often feels either very "high" or very "low." She denies any thoughts of worthlessness or of hurting herself, doesn't have trouble concentrating on tasks, and has no psychotic episodes when she is "low." When feeling "high," she has increased energy and happiness. Her symptoms are indicative of which of the following mood disorders?

Possible Answers:

Bipolar I

Schizoaffective disorder

Cyclothymic disorder

Major depressive disorder

Bipolar II with rapid cycling

Correct answer:

Cyclothymic disorder

Explanation:

Cyclothymic disorder is a mild form of bipolar disorder where a person mood swings over a period of years that go from mild depression to elevated mood and excitement.

Individuals with any form of bipolar disorder will most likely experience some psychotic episodes. During manic episodes, they will have delusions of grandeur, racing ideas and speech, distractibility and high-risk behaviors. They generally sleep and eat less often during these episodes as well. A patient with cyclothymic disorder lacks the vegetative symptoms associated with major depressive disorders. They can concentrate normally and lack both suicidal ideations and feelings of worthlessness when "low."

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