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Bipolar Disorder Guide

Bipolar Disorder Articles


A Bipolar Disorder Checklist to Identify the Symptoms

A Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis is Difficult to Make 

A Bipolar Quiz Helps Diagnose if the Disorder is Present

A Bipolar Test Will Identify the Severity of the Disorder

Bipolar Disease Has Many Extreme Levels

Bipolar Disorder in Children Can Present Different Than in Adults

Bipolar Medications Must be Carefully Monitored

Bipolar Symptoms For the Awareness of the Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Treatment Through Medication and Counseling

Dealing with Bipolar Disorder Takes Time and Patience

The Behaviors of Bipolar Disorder are Disruptive to Everyone

The Chemistry of Bipolar Disorder is an Ongoing Study

The Family Suffers When a Mother Has Bipolar Disorder

The History of Bipolar Disorder Shows It Has Always Existed

The Relationship of Bipolar and Depression

The Types of Bipolar Support Programs That Can Help


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Bipolar Disorder - The Facts You Need to Know

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness and not a disease as some commonly refer to it.  It tends to run in families and has a genetic link.  Considered one of the most dramatic mental illnesses, it is characterized by intense episodes of manic happiness, depression or hopelessness.  This also includes any level of mood swings in between these episodes and times of normalcy.

Very often, bipolar disorder is combined with other cognitive deficits such as organizing and planning.  Other psychiatric disorders such as panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder and substance abuse are common.  It is not unusual for many people to be misdiagnosed due to these other disorders which may also be present. 

Bipolar disorder is most often defined by at least one manic episode, with or without major depression. In 60 - 70% of cases, manic episodes precede or follow depressive episodes in a regular pattern. Bipolar disorder is a chronically recurring illness. And the age of onset is dropping, in less than one generation it has gone from age 32 to 19. Bipolar disorder can manifest with a variety of clinical presentations along the course of a lifetime. Mixed states, rapid cycling and psychosis may occur as phases of the disorder.

Bipolar disorder is a condition that is defined by certain behaviors and thought patterns, some of which are the opposites of one another, yet can exist at the same time. Although the core troubles of bipolar disorder are the same for children as they are for adults, often the specific behaviors are different, and vary according to the age and developmental level of the child. Bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness. Episodes of mania and depression eventually can occur again if you don't get treatment. Bipolar disorder causes dramatic mood swings from overly high and, or, irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, often with periods of normal mood in between. Severe changes in energy and behavior go along with these changes.

Very often, people with undiagnosed bipolar disorder are aware of their mood swings and the inability to control them, but they don't know they are a disorder that can and should be controlled.  When a person grows up with the disability, it just seems normal to them.  Even more so if someone in their family also silently suffers, such as a caretaker.

Bipolar disorder can be treated by your family doctor. Your family doctor may want you to see a psychiatrist too. Bipolar disorder may not be properly diagnosed until the sufferer is 25-40 years old, at which time the pattern of symptoms may become clearer. Bipolar disorder complicated by alcoholism is associated with an increased number of hospitalizations, more mixed mania, earlier age of onset of bipolar disorder, and more suicidal tendancies. Given the prevalence and morbidity of these two disorders, it is important to screen for substance abuse in all bipolar patients and to treat aggressively.

Bipolar disorder occurs equally among men and women, different racial and ethnic groups, and different social classes. It is also known by its older name “manic depression.”  The cycles between manic and depression can be frightening and disturbing for persons who have this disorder as well as family members and those people who know and work with them. Bipolar disorder may be an error of metabolism, or those with bipolar may be vulnerable to nutrient deficiencies in the food supply. For example, your requirements for zinc or B12 may be different from another person.

Bipolar disorder is treated with medications including a combination of mood stabilizing agents, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and anticonvulsants. An individualized combination of the medications is determined in order to regulate the patient’s manic and depressive episodes.