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Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric illness that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day activities. These moods range from periods of extremely “up,” elated, and energized behavior (known as manic episodes) to very sad, “down,” or hopeless periods (known as depressive episodes). The severity may range from being mild to severe. The severity depends upon duration and symptoms.

Bipolar disorder occurs equally in males and females and usually starts in adolescence and young adulthood. Patients with bipolar disorder will typically have more than one episode.

People having a manic episode may

  • Feel very “up” or elated

  • Have a lot of energy

  • Feel “jumpy” or “wired”

  • Have trouble sleeping

  • Become more active than usual

  • Talk really fast about a lot of different things

  • 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 sad, down or hopeless

  • Have very little energy

  • Have decreased activity levels

  • Have trouble sleeping, they may sleep too little or too much

  • Feel like they can’t enjoy anything

  • Eat too much or too little

  • Feel tired or “slowed down”

  • Think about death or suicide

However, proper diagnosis and treatment can help people with bipolar disorder to lead healthy and productive lives. Talking with a psychiatrist or other licensed mental health professional (clinical psychologist) is the first step for anyone who thinks he or she may have bipolar disorder. And an effective treatment plan usually includes a combination of medication and psychotherapy.

If not treated, bipolar disorder can impair ability to have good interpersonal relations, impair performance in job or school and even suicide. And if you think you are fulfilling above mentioned criteria, please feel free to consult the mental health professional immediately.

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