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Bipolar Disorder Information

What is Bipolar Disorder I?


Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels, resulting in difficulities carrying out day-to-day tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that people typically go through. Bipolar disorder can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. However, bipolar disorder can be treated and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives. Bipolar disorder often develops in a person's late teens or early adult years, with at least half of all cases start before age 25. 

Bipolar Disorder I is mainly defined by manic or mixed episodes that last at least seven days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe the person needs immediate hospital care. Usually, the person also has depressive episodes, typically lasting at least two weeks. The symptoms of mania or depression must be a major change from the person's normal behavior.

Symptoms of mania or a manic episode include:

Mood Changes
  • A long period of feeling "high," or an overly happy or outgoing mood
  • Extremely irritable mood, agitation, feeling "jumpy" or "wired"

Behavioral Changes

  • Talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another, having racing thoughts
  • Being easily distracted
  • Increasing goal-directed activities, such as taking on new projects
  • Being restless
  • Sleeping little
  • Having an unrealistic belief in one's abilities
  • Behaving impulsively and taking part in a lot of pleasurable, high-risk behaviors, such as: spending sprees, impulsive sex, and impulsive business investments


Symptoms of depression or a depressive episode include:



 Mood Changes

    • A sustained period of feeling down or depressed 
    • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex



Behavioral Changes

    • Feeling tired or "slowed down"
    • Having problems concentrating, remembering, and making decisions
    • Being restless or irritable
    • Changing eating, sleeping, or other habits
    • Thinking of death or suicide, or attempting suicide