Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes extreme shifts in mood. People who have it may spend weeks experiencing mania, making them feel like they are on top of the world, before plunging into a deep depression. The length of the episodes can vary in length and severity, and do not improve without treatment.
Bipolar disorder is also known as bipolar disease or manic depression.
People with bipolar disorder may have trouble managing everyday life tasks at school or work, or maintaining relationships. There’s no cure, but there are many treatment options available that can help to manage the symptoms.
The most common symptoms of bipolar disorder are:
Uncharacteristic periods of anger and aggression
Grandiosity and overconfidence
Easy tearfulness, frequent sadness
Need little sleep to feel rested
Uncharacteristic impulsive behavior
Confusion and inattention
Bipolar disorder is most often treated with three main classes of medication: mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants.
When it comes to bipolar disorder, sometimes family members need to contact the doctor, because oftentimes patients in a manic or hypomanic episode have little insight into their illness and may refuse treatment. But prompt intervention, including possible medication adjustments at an early point in an episode, may prevent further problems and lead to great improvements.