Bipolar Disorder

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder. Bipolar Disorder is characterized by the episodes one may experience. There are two episodes which are linked to Bipolar Disorder. Which one you experience first is from person to person.

Manic, euphoric episode. When in this episode you experience extreme hapiness, hyperactivity etc. but you also experience extreme irritability, little need for sleep or thought and might also lead to increased pace of speech.

Depressive state. This state is the opposite of the Manic phase. When going through this phase person in question might experience extreme sadness, a lack of energy, lack of interest and the inability to enjoy actions you enjoyed before you enter the depressive state (Grohol. J.M. n.d.).

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Picture credit (Jones)

Why do people get Bipolar Disorder?

One reason could be genetics. When either of your parents suffer from Bipolar Disorder you have a bigger risk of developing it. However this does not mean you have it. Research made on identical twins has shown that one of them can develop Bipolar Disorder while the other one does not. So having the Bipolar gene does not automatically mean you will develop it.
Environmental triggers like stress, sadness or major changes in your life could trigger your first episode. What decides if something will trigger it is how you as a person cope with major or tragic events.
Brain structure can not determine if you have Bipolar Disorder however there has been studies showing that people with Bipolar Disorder might have parts of their brain bigger than others (Symptoms, Causes and Diagnosis. n.d.).

Common misconception

Bipolar Disorder is very rare

Bipolar Disorder is not very rare. A lot of people suffer from it and you have probably met people that have Bipolar Disorder without knowing it. According to recent research 2.6% of American adults above the age of 18 suffer from Bipolar Disorder. In other words 5.7 million adults suffer from Bipolar Disorder (Hotline Information n.d.).

Could you tell someone with Bipolar Disorder in this picture from someone who does not have it?

Picture Credit Dantzan

People with Bipolar Disorder are just experiencing normal mood swings

This is a lie. Experts agree that people with Bipolar Disorder experience far worse mood swings than someone without (Doheny K. n.d.). They might also last a lot longer. Episodes can last from hours up to as long as months. These mood swings could be severe enough to hinder normal day activity (Grohol J.M. n.d)

People with Bipolar Disorder keeps switching over between Manic and Depression all the time and very quickly

First of all for most people the depressive phase last longer. Usually the transition is also not instant it is a transition over time. Some people might shift back and forward faster than others but that is usually not what happens. Sachs says "For the most part what is typical is to have an abnormal mood state colored by a predominance of high or low" (Doheny K. n.d.).

What can you do about it?

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Picture Credit (Pustovit)


There is not a single medication that can by itself counter the effects of bipolar disorder. However with a mixture of several you can live a normal life without being held down by being Bipolar.
First we have mood stabilizers, the most common mood stabilizer is Lithium. Mood stabilizers are common and almost all patients use them.
Then we have second generation anti psychotics. These are used to treat symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. More used during the manic and mixed episodes. Second generation anti psychotics blocks dopa-mine receptors. This is why they are normally used during Manic episodes.
Third group is the antidepressant. Prescribed to treat the depressive episodes.

Usually you take at least one of every group. A lot of second generation anti psychotics are also combined with mood stabilizers (Symptoms, Causes and Diagnosis, n.d.).


Psychotherapy is usually used to help patients express their feelings and how to cope and work around the issues Bipolar Disorder creates in your everyday life. This is done so you can live a normal life.
There are three types of Psychotherapy.
Behavioral which is used to decrease stress.

Cognitive is used to learn and identify patterns
Social rhythm helps you maintain normal schedule and sleep patterns (Psychotherapy Bipolar Disorder, n.d.).

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Picture credit (andessurvivor)


Matilda was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Matilda has a disease called fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia means that she has a constant pain in her body, muscle joints, also results in Matilda being more fatigued. It is common within Fibromyalgia to also develop bipolar disorder.

Matilda’s first episode was a manic one. Matilda and her cousin was on a surfing camp and Matilda was acting very happy everything was great (Fibromyalgia. n.d.). Her manic episode went unnoticeable because of the trip. Her being happy and thinking everything was great got classified as normal. Everyone at the trip was happy. However during the bus ride home which was a 12 hour bus ride everything came crashing down. Matilda experienced her first depressive episode.

She started making up stories, became unstable. She cried constantly till she fell asleep because of exhaustion. When she came back she was put into a psychiatric ward where her parents got to visit her. She was calmer then because of the drugs she was given but she still made up stories and was sad over events that didn't happen the way she told them. What happened to Matilda didn't only affect her.

Matilda’s cousin who sat with her during the whole bus ride was devastated when she came home. Her whole family and all her cousins were extremely worried no one knew what happened. No one thought that it would be bipolar disorder cause no one in the family had ever had the disorder.

Today Matilda lives a normal life she takes medication. She is fully back in school with all her friends and her boyfriend. Her family of course still worries about her but not more than a family usually worries for their family members. If you were to approach Matilda today you would never know by just talking to her or hanging out with her that she has bipolar disorder she is like any other person.

Bipolar Disorder does not make you any less of a person. People with Bipolar Disorder should be treated like anyone else. You wouldn't treat someone less just because they happen to be sick with the flu do you?

Made by Christian Sidemo