What is Bipolar Disorder? By Jessica Suarez
Our society often uses the term “bipolar” loosely to describe a person with extremely erratic mood swings. Bipolar disorder is a serious medical condition which encompasses so much more than just an outburst of anger. It involves episodes of hallucinations, psychosis, delusions, and/or paranoid rage. The known cause of bipolar disorder involves dysregulation of the brain functioning and it can also be genetic. It is usually diagnosed between the ages of 15-24 and persists throughout a lifetime. Once you have been diagnosed, the doctor will decide on a treatment plan that works best. The treatment plan could include medication, psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy, etc.
Bipolar “mood episodes” include unusual mood changes along with unusual sleep habits, activity levels, thoughts, or behavior. People may have manic episodes, depressive episodes, or “mixed” episodes. A mixed episode has both manic and depressive symptoms. These mood episodes cause symptoms that last a week or two or sometimes longer. During an episode, the symptoms last every day for most of the day.
Mood episodes are intense. The feelings are strong and happen along with extreme changes in behavior and energy levels. (https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder/index.shtm)
Frequently Asked Questions
Are mood swings normal? Experiencing mood swings from feeling happy to sad are normal. The difference between mood swings for people who have bipolar disorder is that they are far more severe.
Do children get bipolar disorder? Although children are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, doctors usually have a hard time distinguishing bipolar from ADHD.
Although genetics can play a role in being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the condition will be inherited. For instance, research of identical twins showed that even when one twin has bipolar disorder, the other may not. In addition to genetics, stressful life events could trigger bipolar symptoms.
People with bipolar disorder are rarely a danger to others. In fact, research shows that people with bipolar disorder and other mental illness are at higher risk to be victims of abuse.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.