Bipolar Disorder

What is bipolar disorder?

It is a psychiatric illness that has mood fluctuations with periods of depression and mania or hypomania. There are different types of bipolar disorder including bipolar 1 and bipolar 2. People with bipolar disorder experience intense emotional states that can last for days, weeks, or months. Those with this disorder experience period of neutral moods as well. With medication management and therapy, people with bipolar disorder can lead full and productive lives.

What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?

  • Depression states:
  • Lasts for weeks to months
  • Significantly interfere with daily functions and lead to problems in work, school, and home
  • Intense sadness or despair
  • Loss of interest in activities the person once enjoyed.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Fatigue
  • Increased or decreased sleep
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Restlessness (e.g., pacing) or slowed speech or movement
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Frequent thoughts of death or suicide

Manic states:

  • Lasts for days to weeks
  • Significantly interfere with daily functions and lead to problems in work, school
    and home
  • Decreased need for sleep (e.g., feeling energetic despite significantly less sleep than usual
  • Increased or faster speech
  • Uncontrollable racing thoughts or quickly changing ideas or topics when speaking
  • Distractibility
  • Increased activity (e.g., restlessness, working on several projects at once)
  • Increased risky behavior (e.g., reckless driving, spending sprees)

Hypomanic states:

Characterized by less severe manic symptoms that for days to weeks. The symptoms do not lead to major problems in daily functioning.

What is the treatment of bipolar disorder?

Use of medications called mood stabilizers and counseling.