Bipolar Disorder

By: Joanne Yoo TB:4

What is it?

Bipolar Disorder is a depressive disorder that affects the way a person's brain functions.

What are the Signs or Symptoms?

Manic Signs and Symptoms:
  • racing speech and thoughts
  • increased energy
  • decreased need for sleep
  • elevated mood and exaggerated optimism
  • increased physical and mental activity
  • excessive irritability, aggressive behavior, and impatience
  • poor judgment
  • reckless behavior, like excessive spending, making rash decisions, and erratic driving
  • difficulty concentrating
  • inflated sense of self-importance

Depression Signs and Symptoms:

  • loss of interest in usual activities
  • prolonged sad or irritable mood
  • loss of energy or fatigue
  • feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • sleeping too much or inability to sleep
  • drop in grades and inability to concentrate
  • inability to experience pleasure
  • appetite loss or overeating
  • anger, worry, and anxiety
  • thoughts of death or suicide

More than 17.4 million adults have a depressive disorder each year.

How Does it Affect Someone?

Bipolar disorder affects the way person thinks, acts, and feels. Kids and teens can go back and forth between mania and depression throughout a day. These episodes are irregular and have unpredictable patterns. In between these episodes, they may return to normal or near normal functioning. However, for some people, there is no "break period" between cycles.

What are the Other Names or Forms?

Different Names for Bipolar Disorder:
  • Manic Depression
  • Manic-Depressive Disorder
  • Manic-Depressive Illness
  • Bipolar Mood Disorder
  • Bipolar Affective Disorder
  • Depressive Disorder

Four Types:

  • Bipolar I
  • Bipolar II
  • Cyclothymic Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder - when it is not otherwise specified

How is it Diagnosed?

Bipolar disorder is diagnosed by a doctor, psychiatrist, and/or a psychologist. These mental health professionals observe the person's behavior and studies the complete history of the person's past and present experiences to make a diagnosis.

How is it treated?

There is no cure for bipolar disorder, but people with it can have treatment that stabilizes the moods and controls the symptoms. Once the medical professional can figure out what type of bipolar disorder it is, they can tailor the treatment to match the person. Then they develop a treatment plan for them that may include medication that stabilizes the mood, counseling, and/or psychotherapy.