Bipolar consists of extreme highs (euphoria and hyper-productivity) and lows (hopelessness and lack of energy). Effective treatments exist, though, and can improve stability.
Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder that is defined by extreme and unusual mood swings between depressive lows and manic highs. Also known as manic-depressive illness, bipolar disorder affects one’s mood, activity levels, sleep, energy, and everyday ability to function. Depressive episodes may include symptoms such as feeling very sad or hopeless, having little energy, difficulty sleeping (too much or too little), feeling worried and empty, and thinking about death or suicide. Manic episodes may include symptoms such as feeling very high or elated, experiencing increased energy levels, talking really fast, feeling like their mind is racing, being agitated or irritable, and doing risky things (like having reckless sex or spending excessive amounts of money). Each of these distinct periods are called “mood episodes” which consist of behaviors that are typical for the individual and may last for days or months at a time.
Experts agree that a combination of genetics, environment, and altered brain structure and chemistry are the likely causes of bipolar disorder, although the exact cause is still unknown. Every year, more than 3 million individuals in the U.S. are diagnosed. Some patients enjoy the increased productivity and euphoria that occurs with a manic episode, but the certain emotional crash that follows is a major price to pay. Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong diagnosis,