Bipolar Disorder Symptoms and Treatment

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Learn about Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme changes in mood, or “mood episodes” that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). In addition to mood swings, people often struggle with unusual sleep habits, energy levels, judgement and behavior.

People may have manic episodes, depressive episodes or mixed episodes in which both manic and depressive symptoms are present. Mood episodes are intense and often happen along with extreme changes in behavior and energy levels. Episodes can last one to two weeks or sometimes longer, and symptoms are present every day for most of the day.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, but it can be managed effectively with a treatment plan that includes medication management and psychotherapy.

People having a manic episode may:

  • Feel very “up” or “high”
  • Feel “jumpy” or “wired”
  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Become more active than usual
  • Talk really fast about a lot of different things
  • Be agitated, irritable, or “touchy”
  • Feel like their thoughts are going very fast
  • Think they can do a lot of things at once
  • Do risky things, like spend a lot of money or have reckless sex

People having a depressive episode may:

  • Feel very “down” or sad
  • Feel very “down” or sad
  • Sleep too much or too little
  • Feel like they can’t enjoy anything
  • Feel worried and empty
  • Have trouble concentrating
  • Forget things a lot
  • Eat too much or too little
  • Feel tired or “slowed down”
  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Think about death or suicide

More complicated than normal emotional extremes, bipolar episodes can be managed effectively with medication and therapy.

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