Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a condition that affects the mood and thinking.   It may combine depression and mania.  It gets its name from mood swings- from feeling sad and hopeless to feeling very happy and full of energy. Bipolar disorder normally presents as depression, but sometimes it can present as mania or a combination of these symptoms. Before the mood symptoms begin, people may have mood swings, aggressive behavior, disturbance of their sleep, anxiety or irritability.

Mania is an abnormally elevated, irritable or pleasant mood. There may be pursuit of stimulating or pleasurable activities, an abnormally good mood, poor judgment, or excessive self-esteem.  There is normally a decreased need for sleep.  People with these symptoms may also have excessive thoughts, changes from one line of thinking to another, or loud, excessive speech.  The symptoms may last for several weeks. Treatment in the hospital is sometimes needed to prevent injury that occurs due to poor judgments or choices during an episode of mania.  A similar condition, Hypomania, is a less severe version of mania that lasts for days.  It normally does not require hospital care.

Depression is a significant change in thinking, sleep, energy level, behavior or mood.  A person’s speech may be slower and softer, there may be decreased interest in pleasure seeking activities, and memory may be impaired.  Difficulty sleeping, either less or more than usual, may occur.  There may be reduced eye contact, negative thoughts, and impaired functioning.

There are several types of bipolar disorder.  Counseling and medication can regulate the abnormal high and low feelings that are caused by bipolar disorder.