What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder or manic-depression illness is a disabling brain condition that causes unusual mood swings. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) estimates that approximately 5.7 million American adults are impacted by this serious illness each year. Bipolar patients experience repeated cycles of depression, mania, hypomania (less severe mania), or mixed episodes (depression plus mania).
Patients may feel very happy and full of energy on some days, and very sad or blue on other days. Such changes in mood are very different from the normal ups and downs that most individuals experience at some point or another. These mood swings are accompanied with changes in energy levels and behavior, significantly impacting quality of life and the ability to engage in everyday activities.
Bipolar disorder impacts job performance, paying attention at school, and may also destroy relationships. Some patients may also try to hurt themselves. Bipolar disorder is complex and challenging to manage. However, with proper treatment and support from friends and family patients can keep it under control.
Next: Causes, Risk Factors, Subtypes of Bipolar Disorder