Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes wild and unpredictable changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. It can make concentrating or accomplishing simple tasks difficult and frustrating.
Someone with bipolar disorder can experience periods of extreme elation, intense energy, irritability, and exaggerated behavior. These are known as manic episodes. They also experience periods of hopelessness and indifference. These are known as depressive episodes. In extreme cases, someone with bipolar disease may experience psychosis, delusions and hallucinations.
The cause of bipolar disorder is not known, however, we believe genetics, environment, and brain chemistry are significant factors.
The Three Types Of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression or manic-depressive illness, is broken down into three different types.
- Bipolar I Disorder can be defined by manic episodes lasting seven days or more. Depressive episodes may follow, lasting several weeks. Manic and depressive symptoms can also occur at the same time.
- Bipolar II Disorder is defined by ongoing depressive and hypomanic episodes with typically less severe manic episodes.
- Cyclothymic Disorder (Cyclothymia) is defined by the National Institute of Mental Health as periods of hypomanic symptoms in addition to depressive symptoms lasting two years or more, or one year for children and adolescents.
Bipolar Disorder Treatments
With the proper diagnosis and treatment, anyone with bipolar disorder can lead a healthy, successful life.
Treatments for bipolar disorder range from psychotherapy and medication to ongoing support and lifestyle management. Some symptoms can be managed with exercise and establishing better sleep patterns. Others will find supplements and healthier eating habits to be most beneficial.
Alternative treatments such as Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) are also available, although more research is needed to determine how effective they are.