Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder, is a sickness that triggers extreme changes in mood. Like a pendulum, your mood may swing freely from an extremely high, frenzied, hyper, sexually overcharged, overexcited state to an extremely low, dejected, miserable, aching, gloomy state. These periods of mania and depression are normally interspersed by periods of calm. Studies show that over 3 million Americans have bipolar disorder.
Generally, symptoms of bipolar disorder emerge between the ages of 15 and 24. Common symptoms can usually be categorized in two separate groups: mania and depression. Mania is marked by bouncy, lively feelings of bliss, irritability, confusion, invincibility, overconfidence, wakefulness, and senselessness, as well as, boosts of extreme energy, illogical ideas, rapid, disordered trains of thought, increased sex drive, and poor judgment. While manic you might spend a great deal of money or get involved in risky activities that disrupt your life. Depression is marked by dark, low feelings of despair, shame, insignificance, exhaustion, and stress, as well as, a loss of appetite, decreased sex drive, physical pain, and sleep deprivation. While depressed you might have trouble concentrating, lose interest in activities once enjoyed, or have suicidal thoughts. It is important to remember that symptoms may vary in extent and intensity for each person.
Experiencing ups and downs in your mood is normal; however, the mood swings of bipolar disorder are often so serious and so severe that you may find it difficult to function at everyday tasks and responsibilities. Bipolar disorder mood swings can be minor or significant, they can materialize slowly or quickly, they can last hours or months, and they can return to calmer levels or swing in the opposite direction without warning. Bipolar disorder is serious and can result in the collapse of marriages, deterioration of relationships, job loss, substance abuse, and suicide. However, bipolar disorder can be very treatable. Research shows that 80-90 percent of people suffering from bipolar disorder can be successfully treated with medication and psychotherapy.
Types of bipolar disorder include:
• Bipolar I: you have had at least one manic episode in your lifetime
• Bipolar II: you have not had a full-blown manic episode
• Cyclothymic Disorder: you experience a milder form of bipolar disorder
• Mixed Bipolar: you face mania and depression at the same time or in swift succession
• Rapid-Cycling Bipolar: you have had four or more manic/depressive episodes in a year
Keywords: Bipolar Disorder, mood swings, Cyclothymic Disorder, Mixed Bipolar, Rapid-Cycling Bipolar, health care needs, psychologist, help
Types of bipolar disorder
Introduction to bipolar disorder
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
What are symptoms of bipolar disorder?