Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings. People with bipolar disorder experience periods of intense emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). Mania is a state of elevated or irritable mood, increased energy, decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, and impulsive behavior. Hypomania is a less severe form of mania that lasts for a shorter period of time. On the other hand, depression is characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, low energy, and loss of interest or pleasure in activities.
Bipolar disorder affects approximately 2.8% of the American adult population. The exact causes of bipolar disorder are not fully understood, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There is no single test to diagnose bipolar disorder, but it is typically diagnosed based on a combination of symptoms, family history, and medical history. If left untreated, bipolar disorder can significantly impact a person’s life, including their relationships, work/school performance, and overall quality of life. However, with proper treatment, people with bipolar disorder can lead healthy, fulfilling lives.
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