can affect anyone. Indeed, it does affect millions of people
worldwide. Fortunately, if diagnosed
properly, it is a treatable illness and a person with this disorder can
lead a fulfilling and meaningful life.
Bipolar disorder usually begins in late adolescence, although it can
begin at any age. This illness is not gender-specific, meaning it
affects both males and females equally. Additionally, it can be
experienced in all races, ethnic groups and social classes.
Furthermore, bipolar disorder tends to have a genetic link and
therefore oftentimes can be found in family members.
to most other mental illnesses, like depression, bipolar disorder can
negatively affect the lives of other people such as spouses and
partners, family members, friends and coworkers.
Bipolar disorder, which is also known as
manic depression, is evidenced by extreme changes in mood, energy,
thoughts and behavior.
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learn about this important life-changing disorder.
In general, people with this illness
often experience periods of
extreme highs (periods of mania) and lows (periods of depression).
Examples of symptoms of the “high” periods
- Aggressive behavior
- Increased physical energy
- Extreme irritability
- An inflated sense of self-worth and self-confidence
- The pace of speech become faster than normal
- Reckless behavior, which can lead to impaired judgment
- Hallucinations and delusions
|Examples of symptoms of the “low” periods
- Loss of energy, persistent lethargy
- Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells
- Unnecessary worrying
- Loss of appetite
- A feeling of indifference
- Withdrawal from all social interactions or situations
- Thoughts of death or suicide
|Bipolar I and
II – What
Are The Differences?
The severity and patterns of symptoms of the highs and lows determine
the different types of bipolar disorder.
Bipolar I Disorder
This disorder is characterized by one or more high (manic) episodes or
mixed episodes (symptoms of both a mania (high) and a depression (low)
occurring nearly every day for at least 1 week) and one or more major
Hypomanic episodes have
symptoms similar to manic episodes but are less severe, but must be
clearly in contrast from a person’s non-depressed mood.
|Bipolar I disorder is the
most severe form of the
illness marked by extreme manic episodes.
Bipolar II Disorder
This disorder is characterized by one or more depressive (low) episode
accompanied by at least one hypomanic episode.
It is important to note that for some individuals, hypomanic episodes
are not severe enough to cause notable problems in social activities or
- Medications, which can include mood stabilizers,
(which can be used in combination with a mood stabilizer for people
experiencing depressive episodes) and antipsychotics (which are used
primarily to treat mania).
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
- Talk therapy, or psychotherapy. Talk therapy is talking
mental health professional about your situation including your
condition, your relationships with other people, and how you feel about
yourself. This trained professional can help you learn how to
make sense of your thoughts and feelings.
Disorder in Children
- Support groups and treatment centers
Symptoms of bipolar disorder may be difficult to recognize in children,
as they can be mistaken for emotions and behaviors often found in
children and adolescents. Symptoms of mania and depression may appear
in a variety of behaviors.
When experiencing low periods, there may be such symptoms as headaches,
stomach aches, reduced performance in school, poor communication,
extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure and feeling very tired.
Likewise, when experiencing high periods, children are more likely to
be irritable and prone to destructive outbursts. Unlike adults,
they may not feel elated or euphoric.
Please know that you cannot diagnose yourself - only a properly trained
health professional can determine if you have bipolar disorder.
Therefore, all symptoms should be discussed with your doctor.
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong medical condition that can be managed
effectively to allow a person affected by this illness to live a long,
happy and fulfilling life.
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