Learning about bipolar disorder

Learning about bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder falls under the category of “one of the most common disorders known in the US.” Although some people may recognize it as “bipolar disorder” another term you might have also heard is, “manic depression. ”This is a mental health condition that is known to cause really extreme mood swings for people. Some examples of this are, mania, hypomania, and depression. Mania and hypomania are two different types of episodes but mania is more severe than hypomania and can cause more noticeable problems.


According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Sometimes people experience both manic and depressive symptoms in the same episode. This kind of episode is known as an episode with mixed features. People experiencing an episode with mixed features may feel very sad, empty, or hopeless, while, at the same time feeling extremely energized.” These types of episodes usually tend to last up to seven days.


This disorder can occur at any age but it is mostly diagnosed in the teenage years or early 20s. The symptoms of this disorder may also be different depending on the person. Some symptoms of this disorder are being abnormally upbeat, jumpy or wired, having increased activity/energy, racing thoughts, talkativeness, etc. Some symptoms may also occur over time. Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, it can be treated by following a treatment plan such as medication and psychological counseling (psychotherapy).


A person can still be diagnosed with bipolar disorder even though their symptoms are considered to be less extreme. Some symptoms of bipolar disorder can be similar to other illnesses which can also make it difficult to diagnose. A person with severe episodes of mania or depression can sometimes experience psychotic symptoms which sometimes also tend to match the person’s mood. Research by the National Institute of Mental Health also shows that people who have family members with this disorder, such as any parents or siblings, may also be put at a higher risk of getting it too.


Some ways to rule out whether you have bipolar disorder or not are: getting a physical exam, a medical history, or medical tests. These will rule out any other conditions and ask about symptoms, your medical history and experiences and family history. According to MedlinePlus, “Going through trauma or stressful life events may raise the risk for bipolar disorder even more if you have a close relative who has it.”


Although the exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, genetics, brain structure and function and your environment can all play a role in the disorder.