Bipolar Disorder Facts

All You Need To Know About...

Bipolar Disorder

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Information on bipolar brain image

Bipolar disorder impacts many people worldwide.  Luckily, if diagnosed the right way, it is a treatable illness.

Bipolar disorder typically starts in late adolescence, although it can set in at any age. This illness is not gender-specific, meaning it impacts both males and females equally.  Additionally, it can be observed in all races, ethnic groups and social classes. Furthermore, bipolar disorder tends to have a genetic bond and therefore oftentimes can be found in family members. 

And similar to many 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 exhibited by extreme changes in mood, energy, thoughts and behavior.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
As a whole, people with this illness oft encounter episodes of extreme highs (periods of mania) and lows (episodes of depression).

Examples of symptoms of the “high" periods include:
  • 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 imply impaired judgment
  • Hallucinations and delusions
Examples of symptoms of the “low” periods include:
  • Decreased energy, lasting lethargy
  • Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells
  • Unnecessary worrying
  • Decreased appetite
  • A feeling of indifference
  • Withdrawal from all social interactions or situations
  • Mental images of death or suicide

bipolar brain image
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 exhibited by one or more high (manic) episodes or mixed episodes (symptoms of both a mania (high) and a depression (low) taking place nearly every day for at least 1 week) and one or more major depressive periods.

Bipolar I disorder is the most severe form of the illness marked by extreme manic periods.

Bipolar II Disorder

This malady is characterized by one or more depressive (low) episode accompanied by at least one hypomanic episode.

Hypomanic episodes have symptoms similar to manic episodes but are less severe, but must be clearly opposite from a person’s non-depressed state of mind.

It is important to note that for some individuals, hypomanic episodes are not severe enough to induce notable problems in social activities or work.

Bipolar Disorder Treatments

  • Medications, which can encompass mood stabilizers, antidepressants (which can be used in combination with a mood stabilizer for persons experiencing depressive episodes) and antipsychotics (which are used primarily to handle mania).
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • Dietary supplements
  • Talk therapy, or psychotherapy. Talk therapy is talking with a mental health health care specialist about your situation including your condition, your relationships with other people, and how you feel about yourself.  This trained professional can support you learn how to make sense of your thoughts and feelings.
  • Support groups and treatment facilities
Bipolar Disorder in Children

Symptoms of bipolar disorder may be difficult to observe in children, as they can be mistaken for emotions and behaviors often noticed in children and adolescents. Symptoms of mania and depression could appear in a variety of behaviors.

When experiencing low episodes, there may be such consequences 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 behavior patterns.  Unlike adults, they may not feel elated or euphoric.

Get Help

Please acknowledge that you cannot diagnose yourself - only a properly trained health health care specialist can specify if you have bipolar disorder.  Therefore, all symptoms should be discussed with your health care specialist.  Bipolar disorder is a lifelong medical condition that can be dealt with effectively to allow a person affected by this illness to live a long, happy and fulfilling life.

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