What is it?

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a chronic psychiatric disease marked by extreme mood shifts. Patients experience manic episodes – periods of "pathologically elevated" mood, and may also experience episodes of depression. About 1-3% of the population has bipolar disorder, and the average age to start showing symptoms is 25 years old. The cause of bipolar disorder isn’t clear, but there is a strong genetic factor.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Manic depression
- Atypical Depressive Disorder
- Bipolar I Disorder, Single Manic Episode
- Bipolar I Disorder, Most Recent Episode (or Current) Manic
- Manic Disorder, Recurrent Episode
- Episodic Mood Disorder
- Bipolar I Disorder, Most Recent Episode (or Current) Depressed
- Atypical Manic Disorder
- Major Depression, Recurrent Episode

Signs & symptoms

Manic episodes may include:
- Euphoric or energetic emotional state.
- Diminished need for sleep.
- Impulsive behavior – sexual behavior, drug use, or spending sprees.
- Psychosis – reality distortion when the patient might hear, see or believe things that aren’t real.
- The patients’ behavior during a manic episode damages their personal or professional aspects.
Hypomanic episodes include the same symptoms, but are less severe and may not harm their personal or professional life.
Episodes of depression may include:
- Lack of energy.
- A feeling of deep sadness.
- Loss of the ability to feel pleasure or enjoy activities that the patients enjoyed before.
- Suicidal thoughts.
Bipolar disorder is divided into two main subtypes: bipolar disorder I – marked by manic episodes and episodes of depression. Bipolar disorder II – characterized by hypomanic episodes and episodes of depression.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made via a psychiatric assessment, conducted by a psychiatrist – a medical doctor specializing in psychiatry. This assessment includes questioning, physical exams, cognitive exams, and other tests that might exclude other diseases or conditions.

Treatment

Treatment for bipolar disorder includes mood-stabilizing medications and antipsychotic medications. Psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, can help to cope and manage the disease and improve quality of life.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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