Now look what you've done... making me reply and go slightly off topic.
My field of study is psychology<snip>
Your wording is more clear here, but it isn't exactly correct. People that have Bipolar I disorder don't have mood swings that "turn on a dime for no reason". Their depression is triggered by chemical imbalances/drops in primarily serotonin and dopamine levels, which is why we see such great results from medicines like seroquel that bind to these receptors.
Your field of study may be psychology, of which I only took one class, but you are incorrect in stating that mental illness is triggered by chemical imbalances/drops in primarily serotonin and dopamine levels. Now you are getting into a domain of study I am much more equipped to talk about...
Mental illness' traits are characterized not by increases in dopamine levels, but rather overactivity of dopamine/serotonin receptors. This is why the drugs we make target D2/D3/H5 receptors. The unwanted side effects are characterized by the affinity of receptors at other sites in the brain. The reason the more novel drugs in the pipeline show a more favorable side-effect profile is due to not having high affinity in other receptor sites, while having very high affinity at d2, d3, h5 receptor sites..
If each condition was characterized by a rise in dopamine levels in the brain (Note - drops in dopamine levels do not cause anything), then the drug Fanapt would have been a miraculous treatment for people, since it lowers dopamine levels in the brain. However, in practice, we have found that Fanapt is largely ineffective on almost every patient, and only outperforms a placebo 'nothing'.
Additionally, we are finding that mental illness' causes are characterized by GABA dysfunction - basically enzymes in the brain that regulate dopamine/serotonin receptor activity - the dysfunction of MGluRs may be related to regulation of d2, d3, and h5 receptor activity...
So, in accordance with the GABA theory of mental illness, which is being confirmed on rat studies (keep in mind we have previously been testing drugs on rats by giving them PCP, but now we can give similar traits through overstressing the rat), we are now concentrating pharmacology efforts in the area of mental illnesses on GABA or M-GluR PAMS (positive allosteric modulators). Modulating such a thing has a potentially much lower incidence of a side-effect profile, and also may lead to treatments that can prevent the onset of such diseases, which are arguably the worst type of diseases that a human can possibly have..
Now, to get back to your field of study, psychology, you may be interested to find that in that field as well, there exists common characteristics of each person you are trying to give therapy to. For example, you may find that people of all traits need an escape, or something else to concentrate on, that what you do to help with one condition can also help with another (guided imagery/meditation/etc)..
Provided, I haven't studied psychology enough to actually give therapy, only solutions that can help with a range of issues that a person may be characterized with.. If I were to give therapy to people it would probably be ineffective and brutal, however I have a bipolar person here at work and simply talking with him and making him see that all the conspiracy theories he has bought into are mumbo-jumbo, he has become very much more normal, and has been getting therapy himself - which seems to be helping him greatly..
I find these topics particularly interesting, as they affect the state of the mind. I also find that at least some understanding of psychology is very helpful, especially since at some point in life most people should get some form of therapy according to what they may have to go through. It is still a useful tool aside from medications that can help greatly with mental stability, as well as restoring certain bodily states..
This person doesn't display bipolar behavior. Jst also doesn't display behavior for depression, suicidal thoughts, thinking people are out to get him, thoughts of hurting others, no traits for major anxiety, no traits for sleep disorders, he doesn't say that he 'hears angels or demons talking to him', he doesn't say that he 'sees things that other people don't see (with his eyeballs)', etc.
And you're making such a bold diagnosis from what? Jst's hefty post count?
I specifically said I wasn't diagnosing this person - only stating that at the time he wasn't saying anything that would indicate a mental illness, in his defense at the time, based on what he was saying...