What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental illness that causes dramatic shifts in a person’s mood, energy and ability to think clearly. People with bipolar have high and low moods, known as mania and depression, which differ from the typical ups and downs most people experience.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2.6 percent of Americans, or more than 10 million people, suffer from bipolar disorder. Around the world, it is estimated that more than 250 million people potentially have the disease. About 15 percent of those who are bipolar will kill themselves and many of those who do so will die while abusing alcohol or drugs.
The median age for diagnosis is around 25, however, most who develop the disease exhibit symptoms much younger. If left untreated, the symptoms usually get worse; but with self-management and proper treatment, many people live long and productive lives with the condition. If you or a loved one are experiencing the symptoms listed below, please seek help immediately.
Symptoms of mania include:
- Acting overly joyful or silly that is not normal behavior.
- Having a short fuse or extremely short temper.
- Appearing to be thinking or talking a mile a minute.
- Sleeping very little without feeling tired.
- Talking and thinking about sex more than usual.
- Engaging in risky behavior, thrill seeking behavior or over-involvement in activities.
- Hallucinations or delusions, which can result from severe episodes of mania.
Symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling extremely sad or hopeless.
- Being in an irritable mood.
- No longer interested in activities that were once enjoyed–hobbies, sports, and friendships.
- Sleeping too much, hardly ever sleeping or having trouble falling asleep.
- Moving slowly or restlessness.
- Changes in appetite or weight.
- Little or no energy.
- Problems concentrating.
- Aches and pains for no reason.
- Recurrent thoughts or talk of death or suicide.