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Key Facts Behind Bipolar Disorder

Normal moods are the body's reaction to outside or inside stimuli, allowing everyone to handle, cope, or otherwise experience healthy emotions.

Bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive disorder, is one of the many mood disorders-abnormal psychological conditions characterized by extreme, repetitive swings in mood over prolonged periods in life.

Bipolar disorder is characterized by alternating episodes of mania (high energy and elated thought) and depression (low energy and blues). In some cases, however, symptoms of mania and depression may occur together in a state called Mixed Bipolar State. Bipolar disorder facts show that over 2 million adult Americans suffer every year from it.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

Two main types of bipolar disorder are commonly known: bipolar I disorder and bipolar II disorder. In the former case, the patient has experienced at least one episode of high mania. Numerous episodes of hypomania alternating with depression are called cyclothymic disorder.

Highs

Sufferers of bipolar mood disorder experience the presence of highs, which are characterized by increased physical and mental activity and energy; heightened mood, exaggerated optimism and self-confidence; excessive irritability, aggressive behavior; decreased need for sleep without experiencing fatigue; grandiose delusions; racing speech; impulsiveness; reckless behavior; delusions and hallucinations.

Lows

Bipolar mood disorder, as well as other depressive disorders include severe lows, such as prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells; significant changes in sleep patterns; irritability, anger, worry, agitation; pessimism; loss of energy or extreme fatigue; feelings of guilt or worthlessness; inability to concentrate, unexplained aches and pains, and suicidal thoughts.

Manic Episodes

Manic episodes are characterized by high activity, irritability and restlessness, euphoric feeling, racing thinking and speech hopping from topic to topic, impulsiveness, lack of concentration and poor judgment. In many cases the manic-depressive shows erratic or rash behavior e.g. in driving or sexual activity. In severe cases of mania, hallucinations (hearing voices that are not there) and delusions (strong irrational beliefs about reality) may also occur.

Depressive Episodes

Depression includes gloomy mood with feelings of emptiness and often crying spells. Pessimism, indifference, indecisiveness, and (in extreme cases) recurring thoughts of death and suicide are other main indicators of depression.

Victims of Bipolar Disorder

According to published bipolar disorder facts, the disorder occurs in all ages, races, ethnic groups and social classes. Men and women equally suffer from it, though women have been reported to experience more rapid cycling of mood swings.

The Age of Vulnerability

Bipolar disorder facts reveal that this abnormality mostly strikes in late adolescence or early adult life (90 % cases start before age 20).

Diagnosis

Patients thought to be suffering from bipolar mood disorder cannot be self-diagnosed. Since there are no lab tests that can indicate the presence of the disorder, a trained medical or mental health professional must conduct interviews and tests; if medication is required, it must be strictly managed.

Self test - Am I BiPolar

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