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Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that causes episodes of extreme highs and lows. The lows of depression may cause you to feel hopeless, sad, or even suicidal. The highs of mania may create extraordinary energy and optimism that can lead to risky behavior. Some people experience mixed states, which are episodes of depression and mania that occur at the same time.
Bipolar disorder is a long-term condition that needs uninterrupted treatment. The treatment options are often very effective.
The term "bipolar" refers to the two extremes, or poles, that people with this condition experience. Bipolar disorder may also be known as manic-depressive disorder.
Bipolar disorder is an illness characterized by periods of very high, excited, or irritable mood — known as mania or hypomania — and other periods of depressed mood. In the U.S., between 2 and 4 percent of the population suffers from bipolar disorder. Most patients experience their first episode of depression or mania/hypomania between 15 and 25 years of age. There are several forms of bipolar disorder. Some people experience manic episodes, a period of high energy and impulsiveness, which lasts for more than a week. Bipolar II is characterized by shorter periods of high energy called hypomania and episodes of major depression. When bipolar disorder is not treated, it is associated with increased mortality from suicide and with other medical problems such as cardiovascular illness, diabetes, obesity, and migraine headaches.
Mood disorders characterized by cycles between extreme highs and extreme lows are called bipolar disorders. Bipolar disorders are episodic conditions marked by depression punctuated by at least one episode of mania (exceptionally extreme highs) or hypomania (moderately extreme highs).
Bouncing between the poles of high-high (mania) and low-low (depression) is the very essence of the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder contrasts with mild-to-moderate depression and major depression, disorders characterized by deep lows without intervening manic highs.
Bipolar Disorder, or Maniac-depressive disorder, is a mental illness that combines both depression and mania. Depression is that feeling of sadness or hopelessness and loss of interest in pleasurable interests. The other end of the spectrum is called mania; that feeling of euphoria and extreme energy. There are two subtypes of Bipolar: Bipolar I and Bipolar II. Bipolar I is the more severe of the two in terms of more severe changes in mood. With Bipolar I, the manic episodes can be very extreme which can lead to dangerous activities or cause problems at work and home. (thrill seeking, increased sexual activity, and impulse buying). Bipolar II has less severe changes in mood, hypomania that while potentially causing problems, generally allow the patient is able to continue with their normal activities. In both cases, the depressive moods tend to be the more significant part of the illness in terms or duration.
Bipolar disorder is felt to have a genetic component, as it tends to occur in families. It tends to become prevalent during adolescent to early adulthood. Risk factors such as periods of extreme stress, drug and alcohol abuse or major life changes may induce Bipolar disorder. People with this disease often do not seek help as they enjoy the manic episodes due the feelings of high energy and increased productivity. They do not see the effects their disease is having on their colleagues or family members. And when they finally descend into a depression, they can experience severe depression which may take long periods to resolve.
Bipolar like other forms of depression requires medication to treat and prevent the manic episodes as well as the depression. Failure to get treatment may result in substance abuse, legal problems (due to behaviors while manic), financial problems, Relationship issues, loss of employment and suicide.