Bipolar disorder is a condition in which an individual swings between periods of very good or irritable moods and depression. The "mood swings" between mania and depression can be very quick. Bipolar disorder affects men and women equally, and usually begins between ages 15 to 25.
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are 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.
There are several types of bipolar disorder. Individuals with bipolar disorder Type I have had at least one manic episode and periods of major depression. In the past, this was referred to as manic depression. Individuals with bipolar disorder Type II have never had full mania. Instead they experience periods of high energy levels and impulsiveness that are not as extreme as mania (called hypomania). These periods alternate with episodes of depression.
A mild form of bipolar disorder called cyclothymia involves less severe mood swings. People with this form alternate between hypomania and mild depression. People with bipolar disorder type II or cyclothymia may be wrongly diagnosed as having depression.
In most people with bipolar disorder, there is no clear cause for the manic or depressive episodes. The following may trigger a manic episode in people with bipolar disorder. such as life changes such as childbirth, medications such as antidepressants or steroids, sleeplessness, recreational drug use
Q: Can bipolar disorder be successfully treated?
A: Yes, bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.
Q: Can bipolar disorder be inherited?
A: The exact cause is unknown, but it occurs more often in relatives of people with bipolar disorder.
Treating bipolar disorder at Caron begins with a thorough psychiatric evaluation, which includes a medical evaluation, a physical exam, a mental status exam and appropriate laboratory tests. The doctor in charge should receive a full history of the patient's illness that includes any changes in thinking, behavior, movement, mood, etc., as seen by the family or patient.