Bipolar Disorder (BD)

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes shifts in a person’s mood, energy, and activity levels. It can be a very serious mental health condition and can require extensive treatment for many years. Bipolar disorder affects about 2.8 percent of adults in the United States and usually develops between the ages of 15 and 25.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

People with bipolar disorder may experience extreme changes in mood and activity levels throughout the course of the disorder. Over time, these shifts to a person’s mental and physical state can become more intense and frequent. Common symptoms of bipolar disorder include:

  • Depressed mood, feelings of hopelessness, or lack of interest in life
  • Mania – significantly elevated mood, increased energy, restlessness, and an increase in risky or reckless behavior
  • Rapid or noticeable changes in activity levels
  • Impaired judgment resulting from manic episodes
  • Social withdrawal or isolation
  • Problems with sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Changes in appetite or drastic weight fluctuations
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Poor decision-making
  • Delusions or feelings of extreme guilt
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

The exact cause of bipolar disorder is still unknown, but scientists believe that a combination of genetic, biological, and environmental factors may contribute to the development of the disorder. These may include changes in the levels of neurotransmitters (chemicals in the brain that help regulate moods), a family history of bipolar disorder, and traumatic life events.


When it comes to treating bipolar disorder, there are various levels of care that may be used. These range from intensive inpatient treatment to more comprehensive outpatient options such as therapy, medications, and lifestyle modifications. Treatment plans should be tailored to the individual in order to address their specific needs and address any underlying issues that may be present.

Living with Bipolar Disorder

Living with bipolar disorder can be a difficult journey, one that is filled with ups and downs. It is important to remember, however, that there are resources available to individuals who are struggling. These resources include support groups, counseling, and medication. It is also important to be aware of warning signs of a possible relapse, seek professional help if needed, and remember that recovery is possible.