The Functioning Dysfunctional

Published: 2021-06-29 07:11:41
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The Functioning Dysfunctional
Bipolar disorder is not something that affects overnight, bipolar disorder is genetic. It is there in your genes from day one, lurking, slowing you down, and making simple tasks seem hard. Most of us see this as a mental disease such as Schizophrenia, and although all mental illnesses share common threads, this is far from the truth. What was called "Manic Depression" is now known to affect much more of a person's life than just their mood. Every aspect of a person's life is that much harder and confusing when they suffer from bipolar disorder. Like many mental illnesses, bipolar disorder is a sensory dysfunction disorder, affecting all the parts of a human body inside and out. A person with bipolar disorder is not "crazy," they have an illness caused by a complex interplay of genetic, biological, and environmental factors, which make life more difficult.
To understand bipolar disorder, and how it makes life difficult, one must first understand sensory integration and sensory dysfunction. Sensory integration is a vital part of the way a person functions. In the book, Understanding Sensory Dysfunction: Learning, Development, and Sensory Dysfunction in Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, Learning Disabilities, and Bipolar Disorder, sensory integration is described as a person's ability to feel, understand, and organize sensory information from their body and environment (Anderson, Emmons and McKendry, Chapter 1: What is Sensory Integration). Sensory integration is what tells you that something is hot or cold. It takes the information received by the body and translates it into a response from the body. Mckendry, Emmons, and Anderson detail how a person integrates their environment through the sensory system provides a basis for his or her reality, "Not your reality, not my reality, his reality--and his unique perspective on the world around him" (Anderson, Emmons and McKendry, Chapter 1: What is Sensory Integration). Occurring automatically in most people the sensory system tells each individual about their physical condition and the environment around them. Countless amounts of information enter our bodies every second and when this is disrupted by sensory dysfunction disorders, it makes life harder. The body no longer interprets things the same as it would have. Cold and loud, may now be painful, or uncomfortable. According to the book Understanding Sensory Dysfunction, certain areas of the brain may be able to compensate for another part, providing hope for those suffering from sensory dysfunction (Anderson, Emmons and McKendry, Chapter 1: What is Sensory Integration).
When sensations get mixed up this makes life stressful and hard, sensations being the way the body takes in information from the environment and processes them to make sense of what is happening. To gain a better understanding of sensory processing it is broken down into different components. Those being difficulties with sensory modulation which comes across as the person being upset when routine changes, high level of distractibility, or withdrawn, and shutdown. Sensory response troubles manifest in motor planning, poor body awareness, and trouble getting the two sides of the body to do the same motion at the same time. Finally, sensory defensiveness is visible in people who refuse certain types of touch or play, appear emotionally fragile, and are picky eaters (Anderson, Emmons and McKendry, Chapter 2: What is Sensory Dysfunction). There are eight sensory systems: touch, smell, taste, hearing, seeing, tactile, vestibular, and proprioceptive. The tactile system allows us to feel the distinct difference in things such as the contrast between hot and cold, or the fact that the couch is soft while the floor is hard. While the vestibular system coordinates the movement of the eyes, head, and body, allowing us to swing and coordinate the movements of the two sides of the body. The proprioceptive system uses unconscious information from muscles and joints to give awareness of body position, allowing you to know if you are standing or sitting (Anderson, Emmons and McKendry, Chapter 2: What is Sensory Dysfunction).

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