Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder and mental illness. Its also known as manic-depressive disorder and affects about 10 million Americans. The disorder affects men and women, causing severe mood swings between depression and mania. Mania is a heightened state of mood that may cause extreme elation, an intense energy level, confusion, poor judgment and other inappropriate behaviors.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness lists bipolar disorder as a medical illness that causes extreme shifts in mood, energy, and functioning. Its a chronic illness often requiring some form of lifelong treatment. Bipolar disorder generally manifests during the teen years or early adulthood, but it canappear in children as well. Bipolar disorder often runs in families. Accordingto the Mayo Clinic, youre more likely to be affected with bipolar disorder if you abuse drugs or alcohol, suffer from severe stress, or have experienced a major life change such as a loved ones death or even giving birth. In addition, insomnia and certain antidepressant medications may trigger mania, a condition of bipolar disorder.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder can be broken down into two categories: depression and mania. Depression symptoms may include anxiety, loss of appetite and loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed. Sleep issues may occur including excessive sleeping or insomnia. Other symptoms may be more severe including physical pains and thoughts of suicide.
Like depression, mania symptoms also affect both mood and behavior. Symptoms include feelings of extreme elation shifted with feelings of extreme irritation or anxiety. Mania can cause lost focus, unrealistic thoughts and irrational, impulsive behavior. People suffering from mania might act like extreme over-achievers, tackling projects and taking high risks with business ventures.
Bipolar disorder may be treated with medication and psychotherapy. If you suspect you or a loved is suffering from bipolar disorder, consult your physician