Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in moods, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out daily tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder can be severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full productive lives.

Bipolar disorder is not easy to spot when it starts. Some people suffer for years before they are properly diagnosed and treated. Like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout your life.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder:

Manic phase or Mania

  • Talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another, having racing thoughts
  • Being unusually distracted
  • Increasing activities, such as multiple new projects
  • Being overly restless
  • Sleeping little or not being tired
  • Having an unrealistic belief in self abilities
  • Behaving impulsively and engaging in pleasurable, high-risk behaviours
  • Extreme irritability
  • An overly happy or outgoing mood

Depressive phase or Depression

  • Feeling overly tired or slowed down
  • Having problems concentrating, remembering, and making decisions
  • Being restless or irritable
  • Changing eating, sleeping, or other habits
  • Thinking of death or suicide, or attempting suicide
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex
  • Feeling sad or helpless

Bipolar disorder cannot be cured, but it can be treated effectively over the long-term. Proper treatment helps many people with bipolar disorder gain better control of their mood swings and related symptoms. However, because it is a lifelong illness, long-term, continuous treatment is needed to control symptoms.

Treatment is more effective if you work closely with a psychiatrist and talk openly about your concerns and choices. An effective maintenance plan usually includes a combination of medication and psychotherapy.

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