Depression & BipolarDisordersMental Illness

Bipolar Disorder

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder information and help. Bipolar Disorder, or manic depression, is a medical illness that causes extreme shifts in mood, energy, and function.

These changes may be subtle or dramatic and typically vary greatly over the course of a person’s life as well as among individuals. Over 10 million people in America have bipolar disorder, and the illness affects men and women equally.

Bipolar disorder is a chronic and generally life-long condition with recurring episodes of mania and depression that can last from days to months that often begin in adolescence or early adulthood, and occasionally even in children. Most people generally require some sort of lifelong treatment. While medication is one key element in successful treatment of bipolar disorder, psychotherapy, support, and education about the illness are also essential components of the treatment process. Resource: NAMI. For more info click here and the links below.

If you have been diagnosed with Bipolar or know of someone who has, you are aware of the disruption it can cause if it remains untreated.

We all have the odd mood swing, but people with BD suffer a lot more extensively. For no apparent reason they can venture from a mood of extreme happiness and euphoria known as mania, to a despairing mood of worthlessness, and depression. Occasionally the two occur together which is known as a ‘mixed state’. There are two primary types of Bipolar Disorder. BDI and BDII. Bipolar I refers to those who have experienced at least one manic episode with periods of major depression, while BDII refers to those who experience hypomania and depression.

Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans, which is about 2.6% of the general population.

Rapid-Cycling is characterized by those who have had at least 4 episodes of mania, hypomania, and depression within one year and can occur with any type of bipolar disorder. Cyclothymia is a milder form of BD, and the mood swings are less severe. However, if left untreated it can develop into full on Bipolar itself. Bipolar effects ones energy level and everyday functioning. Many people who have this disorder at some point turn to drugs and alcohol to alleviate and/or deny their symptoms.

Therefore many become addicts of substance abuse. Without treatment Bipolar Disorder tends to worsen, it is a chronic illness that cannot be treated without medication. Approximately 15%-19% of those noted commit suicide (Some studies have established rates as high as 30%-50%.). Fortunately there is treatment, and it is highly recommended.

It is also estimated that approximately 30% of those diagnosed with bipolar disorder will attempt suicide at least once in their lives. The suicide rate for those who suffer with bipolar disorder is twenty times that of the general population.

I never found out until I went into treatment that I was bipolar.
Demi Lovato

In the life of those who are oblivious to mental illness we hear the word bipolar used to describe a person’s current behavior. I have even heard it used in jest, yet this condition is not to be laughed at. Take a look at the whole Britney Spears saga for example.

We watched this poor woman venture from what appeared to be a healthy young highly successful musical artist with the world as her oyster, to a tragic icon going through a bitter divorce and plummeting into mental illness. She lost her two little boys and eventually her mind as she broke down in front of a world that leached upon her fame. I refer to the paparazzi, and the numerous entertainment programs who became scavengers for a piece of the action as they laughed and ridiculed her. By the time those of biased opinion woke up to her condition and sympathized, she had already lost it. Fortunately, she sought treatment and, judge for yourself.

The direct links below offer some of the best resources on the web for Bipolar Disorder:

Bipolar in Kids

www.bpkids.org

Please note: The above websites and organizations act merely as a resource for guidance.

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