Bipolar disorder results in extreme swings in mood, energy, and ability to function. The mood changes of bipolar disorder are more dramatic than normal ups and downs. They can hurt relationships and cause poor job or school performance. Bipolar disorder can be treated. Contact your doctor if you think you may have this condition.
The two extremes of the illness are mania and
. In mania, energy peaks. The mood may be overly happy or irritable. In depression, lethargy takes over. The mood may be very blue.
There are three forms of this condition:
Bipolar I disorder involves recurrent episodes of mania and depression
Bipolar II disorder involves milder episodes of mania (called hypomania) that alternate with episodes of depression
Cyclothymic disorder may be diagnosed in patients who experience frequent depressive symptoms and hypomania for at least two years and who have been without symptoms for no more than two months
The cause of bipolar disorder is not known. This condition tends to run in families. Specific genes may play a role. It is most likely many different genes that act together.
Bipolar disorder may be a result of genetic influences on the brain.
A family history of the disorder increases your chance of developing it. Tell your doctor if you have a family member with bipolar disorder.
Dramatic mood swings, ranging from elated excitability to hopeless despondency
Periods of normal mood in between ups and downs
Extreme changes in energy and behavior
Signs and symptoms of mania include:
Persistent and inexplicable elevation in mood
Increased energy and effort toward goal-directed activities
Restlessness and agitation
Racing thoughts, jumping from one idea to another
Rapid speech or pressure to keep talking
Decreased need for sleep
Overconfidence or inflated self-esteem
Poor judgment, often involving spending sprees and sexual indiscretions
Signs and symptoms of depression include:
Prolonged sad, hopeless, or empty mood
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, including sex
Decreased energy or fatigue
Trouble concentrating, remembering, and/or making decisions
Restlessness or diminished movements
Sleeping too much or too little
Unintended weight loss or gain
Thoughts of death or suicide with or without suicide attempts
Severe episodes of mania or depression may sometimes be associated with psychotic symptoms such as:
Disorders of thought
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam may be done. In some cases, lab tests are ordered. They will help to rule out other causes of mood and behavior symptoms. You may be referred to a mental health specialist. Diagnosis of bipolar disorder is based on:
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a